BY: ROB HOFFMAN
In Ho Chi Minh City, a vast city with a population akin to that of New York City, an architectural firm is changing the norm of building-design to promote a more ecologically sound agenda. FPT University has employed the firm, Vietnamese Vo Trong Nghia Architects, to break ground on a 22,500 square metre green campus of sprawling trees and plants where every nook, cranny, and empty surface will be occupied by vegetation.
Besides the obvious aesthetic benefits of the forest-like structure in the midst of a steaming concrete desert, the initiative also provides valuable functions like insulation, improved air quality, shade, cooler air temperatures and defending the building against storm water runoff.
Vertical gardens and green roofs are becoming a popular solution for environmental and infrastructure problems like the heat-island effect and high-energy consumption, which can lead to pricey air-conditioning bills. The firm has recently built a reputation for designing large-scale green architecture, including schools and hotels. Last year, the firm launched construction on an impressive checkerboard style green-campus on the University’s Hanoi campus.
According to the firm, the purpose of the unique structure is, “to engage the city in a different way. FPT University appears as an undulating forested mountain growing out of the city of concrete and brick. This form creates more greenery than is destroyed, counteracting environmental stress and providing the city with a new icon for sustainability.”
These initiatives represent an important step forward for a city that has reportedly undergone significant reductions in green space in the past. “Ho Chi Minh City [has] only 0.25 per cent of the entire city covered in greenery,” said the firm.
Building designs that house and display significant greenery seem to be an obvious progression of architecture that—considering the functional and aesthetic benefits—should dominate more and more of our urban centres in the upcoming years.