At the beginning of this month in Marina Bay Sands in, Singapore, the world’s largest festival and live awards competition was in full swing. The World Architecture festival is a celebration of architectural excellence from around the globe. Over 400 projects at presented to the international acclaimed judging panel for over 3 days before the awards are announced.
A mixture of clients, architects, founders, suppliers and visionaries all attend this prestigious award ceremony that brings to light the innovative and boundary breaking buildings. With different awards for different building type and category, any World Architect festival recognition is a momentous occasion. This year, the winner of the prestigious World Building of the Year award was presented to The Chapel in Vietnam by a21 studio architects.
The Chapel, a community space created in a new urban area on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh city. Born from the absence of communal services in the vicinity, The Chapel has been designed as an open space for conferences, weddings and exhibitions. The international judges commend a21 studio for the way this project embraces history and modernity, using colour and light to put people at ease in this welcoming environment. Using minimal materials, the design is praised with finding poetry in normality.
Vietnam was a big winner at this year’s award ceremony. From much of the country’s history being of a predominantly agricultural nature based on their main wet rice cultivation, today sees Vietnam as a rapidly developing country undergoing a modern urbanisation that is seeing a vast reduction in greenery and raising challenges to the country’s electricity and power resources. Vo Trong Nghia is an award winning Vietnamese architect whose creations have been considered as both aiding in the modernisation of Vietnam, as well as paving the way for sustainable and green architecture.
House for Trees by the Vo Trong Nghia architects won the Completed Buildings-House award. This project pays homage to the sprawling tropical forests that once covered a vast majority of Vietnam by instilling beautiful foliage back into the modern bustling cities, especially as Ho Chi Minh’s greenery only accounts for 0.25% of its space.
Son La restaurant also designed by the Vo Trong Nghia architects was awarded the Completed Buildings-Hotel and Leisure award. Due to the complex terrain, Son La is only accessible from Hanoi by a 7 hour car journey along precarious cliff roads, making the transport of standard building materials challenging and as such local bamboo and stone work has been positively incorporated into the design, which has now become an award winning building.
Another example of Vo Trong’s sustainable and energy efficient architecture that is reinventing Vietnam is the FPT Technology building, which won the Education category of the WAF. Taking advantage of the local climate’s abundance of sunlight, water and wind, this building is designed to succeed in continued functionality throughout some of the country’s numerous blackouts.
Vietnam has always been a place of vast natural beauty; Ha Long Bay for example is, a breath-taking UNESCO world heritage site, that many travel to see. Its shape being naturally long, it benefits from diversity in climate and biodiversity.
Vietnam’s culture, especially its focus on humanity, family, harmony and community is still the beating heart of this growing nation. However, this beautiful country is proving to many on the outside that is has more to offer than traditional lifestyles and naturally formed landscapes.
Vietnam is now becoming recognised as a potential home to future economical and metropolitan cities. Thanks in large to some of the Vietnamese architects whose work is forging the way to aiding the solution to Vietnam’s rapid energy challenges with buildings of beauty and sustainability.
What other exciting, innovative architecture has been created throughout the world?