When the architects were asked to design a new urban university campus in Ho Chi Minh City, they had something radically non-urban in mind.
It occupies the easternmost coast of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
Here is Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon).Located in southern Vietnam, it's the country's largest city, with a population of almost 8 million people.
And here's what Ho Chi Minh City looks like.It's a big city with big buildings and lots of people, which makes for many a challenge.
When the architects were asked to design a new urban university campus in Ho Chi Minh City, they had something radically non-urban in mind.What they produced was a verdant design — grassy, leafy, nature-inspired. It's like a city within a city, intentionally overrun by vegetation.
They describe their approach as a blend of culture and sustainability:
"By experimenting with light, wind and water, and by using natural and local materials, Vo Trong Nghia Architects employ a contemporary design vocabulary to explore new ways to create green architecture for the 21st century, whilst maintaining the essence of Asian architectural expression."
Their design for the university stands out against Ho Chi Minh City's built-up urban sprawl.
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They don't just use greenery to adorn the structure. Their concept actually relies on it.Balconies and rooftops will be lined with plants, giving the building the appearance of "an undulating forested mountain growing out of the city."
They want to give Ho Chi Minh City "a new icon for sustainability."Rapid urbanization has turned Ho Chi Minh City into a heat island, which is when cities grow warmer than their rural surroundings because land, plants, and forests have been replaced heat-trapping concrete, brick, steel, and asphalt.
So they get especially excited about designing educational facilities. To them, it's a chance to "aid the recovery of greenery that once flourished" and "foster a new generation of thinkers."