“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space. If the current way of thinking does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles,” Vo Trong Nghia says in this week’s episode of Al Jazeera’s Rebel Architecture series. An award-winning Vietnamese architect, Nghia is known for his sustainable and green designs as well as his work with bamboo. In this 25-minute episode, we follow Nghia on his mission to transform Vietnam’s attitude towards architecture and green spaces through his “Vertical Farming City,” and catch a glimpse of his project to implement low-cost housing solutions for Vietnam’s poorest communities in Mekong Delta.
Watch the full episode above and read on after the break for a full episode synopsis and a preview of upcoming episodes…
Vo Trong Nghia has unveiled designs for the Vietnamese pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Inspired by the lotus, the pavilion features a number of bamboo clad, umbrella-like structures supporting trees above a pool of water, in a composition reminiscent of their Kontum Indochine Cafe.
“The Lotus is Vietnam’s national flower, a symbol of purity, commitment and optimism for the future,” say the architects. “Growing from the muddy ponds it rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. The flower is proof that patience can turn difficulties into advantages.”
Architects: H&P Architects
Location: Hanoi, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Architect In Charge: Doan Thanh Ha, Tran Ngoc Phuong
Design Team: Chu Kim Thinh, Erimescu Patricia, Nguyen Van Manh, Nguyen Khanh Hoa, Nguyen Quynh Trang, Tran Quoc Thang, Pham Hong Son, Hoang Dinh Toan, Pham Quang Thang, Nguyen Hai Hue, Nguyen Khac Phuoc
Area: 44 sqm
Photographs: Doan Thanh Ha
In this article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine as “A Time-Out,” Carl Robinson reminisces about the architecture of the Ho Chi Minh City he remembers from the 1960s and discusses how the urban landscape has changed in subsequent years. As Vietnam grapples with economic downturn, he asks, how might the city to develop?
Over the past 15 years, as Vietnam ﬁnally left its long years of war behind, the former capital of South Vietnam—Saigon—became the country’s economic powerhouse. Until fairly recently, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) was a boomtown. Even before touching down at its busy international airport, I see new buildings rising up through the sprawling and tightly packed suburbs, splayed across the city’s surrounding delta landscape and muddy meandering rivers.
Off in the distance along the wide Saigon River, where the spires of the city’s French Colonial Roman Catholic cathedral once dominated downtown, an impressive silhouette of high-rises reach to the tropical sky. The city’s twenty-ﬁrst-century feel continues through its sweeping new terminal (designed by GWA) and then down a wide boulevard past contemporary ofﬁce buildings and shops. Eventually I reach the intimate tree-lined streets of old Saigon, the residential quarter created by the French more than 150 years ago.