Vo Trong Nghia has been leading the green revolution in Vietnam for more than 15 years, working tirelessly to connect people with Nature. The new monograph ‘Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature’ presents all the significant works his studio has completed during this time and offers an insight into how Mr Nghia is guided by his Buddhist faith in life and while designing buildings.
Based out of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vo Trong Nghia Architects has always addressed softening the urban edges of gargantuan Vietnamese cities by incorporating greenery and natural material in their designs.
COVID-19 has shown the importance of being around and having access to Nature — something Mr Vo has been propagating from the beginning.
For Mr Vo, “You can’t just put a tree on a building and say it’s green architecture,” instead, it’s a small cog in a large wheel — one where vernacular design harmonises with Nature. When seen in the larger context, his buildings carry this sense of serenity and calmness, acting as small pockets of parks — an urban oasis of sorts, offering refuge from the high-intensity city life.
This sense of serenity could be attributed to his years of practising meditation or that he runs his practice based on the Five Precepts of Buddhism, which according to him, is the key to a peaceful society
The book offers behind-the-scene look and provides insight into the world of Mr Vo — including how all his employees are required to meditate every day for two hours and strongly follow the Five Precepts and not indulge in intoxicating substances, lie or gossip, among others or how he developed what he calls “super-concentration.”
The two theme-based volumes showcase contemplative structures built using bamboo, and the innovative use of greenery in his buildings.
The ‘Green’ volume showcases public and private commissions, including private residences, hotels, offices and institutions. All bound together in their use of greenery, integrating vernacular design with Nature, these structures respond to the tropical weather of the area.
Sunken gardens, courtyards, louvred screens, vertical green walls, hanging wines, green roofs, tree boxes are some of the vocabularies we can use in describing projects under this volume. The firm created specific solutions, which are low tech and low cost, to create buildings that push the boundaries of sustainable construction.
The other volume, titled ‘Bamboo’, as the name suggests, showcases Mr Vo’s ability to achieve beautiful results using the humble material. It was Simón Vélez, a Colombian architect, who first inspired him to explore the possibility of this naturally-abundant material. This volume showcases mainly hospitality projects and documents the contemplative nature of these structures.
Most of these structures are built using only bamboo and showcases the creativity with which he can transform this humble material into expansive arches, domes, and vaults with intricate geometry, using bundled stalks technique, he has perfected over the years.
With 27 reference projects and 393 colour illustrations, ‘Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature’ is an essential resource demonstrating Mr Vo’s mission of creating sustainable cities, making it a must-have reference for anyone who wishes to do the same.
Artwork: 393 color illustrations
Size: 8.7 in x 11 in x 1.7 in
Forthcoming: April 19th, 2022
E-book Available: No
This career-spanning monograph in two volumes presents the work of Vo Trong Nghia, one of Asia’s most thoughtful and innovative architects. His two main themes – green architecture and bamboo as a building material – form the basis of this celebration of his designs, which make clear reference to Vietnam’s troubled past and to the architect’s own adherence to the Five Precepts of Buddhism. From the Wind and Water Bar, his first foray into building with bamboo, to resorts, art installations and the pioneering residential series House for Trees, Vo Trong Nghia: Building Nature is a timely exploration of what it means to build green.
Vo Trong Nghia (b. 1976) studied architecture at the Nagoya Institute of Technology and the University of Tokyo, before founding Vo Trong Nghia Architects in 2006 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. His designs are at the foregront of ‘green’ architecture and sustainable practices, and have received numerous accolades, including multiple World Architecture Community Awards and a Wallpaper* Design Award in 2021. Philip Jodidio is the author of numerous books, including monographs on Tadao Ando, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid as well as The New Pavilions, Casa Moderna: Latin American Living and Casa Tropical: Houses by Jacobsen Arquitetura.