Lebadang Memory Space, by Ho Viet Vinh
Nestled in the countryside together with Hue’s centuries-old royal tombs, Lebadang Memory Space is a lively architectural update to the city’s monarchical heritage. This contemporary art museum is dedicated to late local artist Le Ba Dang, who sketched the drawing that the blueprints are based on. Local architect Ho Viet Vinh designed the structure, completed in April 2019, with a central skylight that allows beams of light to track through the exhibition hall throughout the day.
Sky House by MIA Design Studio
Vegetation bulges from the balconies and rooftops of Sky House, a home in Ho Chi Minh City completed in December 2019. The plot was spacious enough to accommodate a large townhouse, but instead of creating unrequired rooms, MIA Design Studio designated half the house to light, wind, water and trees. The result is a generous sky well that feeds light to the habitable rooms and chambers with no practical purpose but to house plants, trees, and indoor ponds.
Chicland, by Vo Trong Nghia
Award-winning architect Vo Trong Nghia is celebrated for his use of natural materials and foliage, such as bamboo and tropical plants. The 21-floor Chicland Hotel, completed in June 2019 in the modern seaside city of Danang, features both. The on-site café has earthy bamboo interiors while the balconies overflow with greenery. Similarly biophilic, Vo Trong Nghia’s Silver Cloud, slated for completion later this year, is a leafy long-stay hotel that blends with the lakes and mountains of Cuc Phuong National Park, 100km south of Hanoi.
Brick Cave, by Doan Thanh Ha
In Vietnam, bricks have been used for at least a millennium. Doan Thanh Ha, who recently won the Turgut Cansever International Award, constructed the Brick Cave in the suburbs of Hanoi with an additional exterior wall to form a narrow atrium around the house. This perforated exterior casing with large windows invites natural light into the family home while keeping it cool during Hanoi’s scorching summers. The rooftop features a vegetable garden.
Central Park, by LAVA and ASPECT Studio
LAVA and ASPECT Studio won the commission to revamp Ho Chi Minh City’s September 23 Park, one of the city centre’s largest green spaces. As well as outdoor art galleries, performance pavilions and sport zones, LAVA and ASPECT Studio are deploying smart city artificial trees. Water purification trees collect and recycle rainwater, ventilation trees provide fresh air and solar trees generate power. Construction is scheduled to begin later in 2020.
VAC Library, by Farming Architects
While large-scale ventures are making a bold impact, smaller innovations are surfacing more quietly. In Hanoi, VAC Library by Farming Architects (Pictured above) is both climbing frame and reading room set within a three-dimensional grid fashioned from wooden beams. Other small projects of great promise include the Chieng Yen Community House in Son La Province by 1+1>2 Architects, which has a semi-cylindrical thatch roof supported by a bamboo frame. In Danang, architecture studio Tropical Space used brick to construct Cuckoo House, a family home perched above a café.
Empire City, by Ole Scheeren
As Vietnam’s commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City is entertaining many of the country’s most ambitious projects. With Empire City, Ole Scheeren explores how ‘nature can become an iconic element of architecture’ with a complex of three towers overlooking the Saigon River. At the building’s base, layered platforms evoke the swirling rice terraces of northern Vietnam. Over halfway up Empire Tower 88, the tallest of the three skyscrapers at 333 metres, sits the Sky Forest with verdant water gardens that echo the country’s jungles. Construction is expected to start in early 2021.
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