A new campus for an architectural university in the middle of the Mekong River delta aspires to achieve harmony with all elements of the surrounding ecosystem: the waters of the river and the flooding of the rice fields, the mangroves, the winds and their patterns as well as with the seasonal changes of light and shadow. The project avoids massive reclamation of land. It so also emulates traditions of Southeast Asian agricultural civilization.
The gently bended, intertwined ovals, which characterize the layout of the buildings, and their intersections, create a diversity of large halls and small rooms – a fuzzy logic which allows scholars and students to communicate and interact in many ways, and the university to organically organize itself along changing ideas and needs to come.
Blending into the context of light, winds and water allows reducing the ecological footprint to a minimum. Day light and natural ventilation are used to maximum. Rain water is harvested. Local materials like bamboo and mangroves are used wherever possible.
The formal principle of gentle curves, shaded open halls, and a multitude of small spaces and communicating halls host and cover the members of the academic community in a protective way without locking them into too narrowly pre-defined conditions of hierarchy and rigid organization.See more
The Global Holcim Awards Silver with USD 200,000 in prize money was awarded to a new campus for the University of Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, designed by architect Kazuhiro Kojima (Japan). Further contributors to the project were Daisuke Sanuki (Japan) and Trong Nghia Vo (Vietnam). The project avoids massive land reclamation on an island in the Mekong Delta and aims for harmony with all elements of the surrounding ecosystem: flooding rice fields, mangroves, winds and seasonal changes.
Electricity consumption is cleverly reduced through the inclusion of solar lighting and extensive use of photo-voltaic cells to meet energy requirements. Natural ventilation and solar shading mean that most locations on campus will need no air conditioning, and rainwater is harvested for gray water use and cooling through vaporization. A time-honored local construction method – brick-filled concrete frames finished with a façade of porous bamboo or mangrove timber – is used to enhance ventilation.
Intriguing with its intertwined shapes, the project received the Holcim Awards Silver 2008 Asia Pacific, and now convinced the global jury: “The gently bended ovals characterize the layout of the buildings – their intersections create a diversity of large halls and small rooms. This allows the university to organically configure itself along changing ideas and needs to come”, explained the jury report.
The Holcim Awards Silver was presented to a project to build a new 40ha university campus in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam designed by Japanese architect Kazuhiro Kojima. The campus design proposal blends with its natural environment and uses prevalent winds for natural ventilation of buildings and open circulation areas to reduce air-conditioning use. The striking design strategy creates a robust system that is adaptable to the changing needs of the university community.Solid future for sustainable construction in Asia Pacific »
The crucial starting point of this new campus situated on an island in the Mekong Delta was the question of how space and education could coexist and how connectivity and separation between the different university departments could be realized. Further challenges were the seasonal climatic variation with high temperatures, strong winds and heavy rainfalls as well as the large variation of the surrounding sea level.
The proposed solution strives for a maximum integration of the new campus into the natural environment, an extensive application of passive design in order to reduce air conditioning use and to create as much outside shaded space as possible.
The general layout of the site is driven by the idea of using the strong winds for natural ventilation of buildings and open circulation areas. The heavy rainfalls will be collected and stored in order to meet potable and grey water requirements. Energy consumption will be reduced by passive design and a maximum use of daylight.
The jury commended this project because the new campus design is an entire response to the environment based on a surprisingly simple idea which produces unexpected aesthetic and spatial experiences. Its striking design strategy makes it a robust system amenable to adaptation and change responding to the evolving needs of the user community.See more
In Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a new Low-impact greenfield university campus is being built. The project acknowledges the needs of both people and the environment. The design of this unique complex was informed by computer analyses of wind and activity flows. Rather than an imposing structure, the architecture merges seamlessly with the landscape.Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.18 MB) »
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