Students from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture in Vietnam won the Student Charrette in the 2014 World Architecture Festival that took place in Singapore earlier this month. Themed "Satellite City" this year, the live competition challenged students to design a scheme on the spot for replacing an outdated, ill-positioned airport in a big city with a brand new one in a more ideal location.
Mentored by architect and HCMC University lecturer Thanh Hung Dang, the students won with their proposal, "The Return -- Storage of Natural Life," out of six finalist teams.
Scroll down to see their approach.
"We come from Vietnam, a country going through a great transformation of industrialization. The flow of immigrants from the countryside to cities forces them to grow both in size and density. In the combination of loose regulation of authorities in term of architecture, the city spaces has turned to a state of chaos facing so many problems at the moment and yet probably more problems may appear in the future."
"Those are the expansion of traffic area, alleys seems to be everywhere, inefficiency of public infrastructure and a lot more. One of the most important issue is the fact that people is struggling with their everyday lives in highly polluted air, dark and long houseswith narrow façades, and their desperate needs for green spaces just like their homes in the countryside. Then, this city really needs a mass reconstruction."
"The abandoned airport in the future will just give that opportunity! It is a chance for innovation and creation. So, what should we create? In this project, the picked site is Tan Son Nhat airport - Ho Chi Minh city. Through our team’s consideration, building a high standard, modern and efficient satellite city there is just not good enough because the surrounding area are still facing abundance of problems.
It will not create a fully beautiful picture for the city. That is why we propose another approach. This new satellite city will not be built for its own wealthy. The city needs mass reconstruction, the airport will deliver it. It will act as a long strategy to support the surround areas in their process of reconstructing to deal with the existing or even future problems. So how does it work?"
"The idea comes from “The Storage”. The storage in house of course is the place where you hide your evil things. But the role that we are talking about lays in the process of renovating the house. When certain room needs a new look, all the furniture will be moved to the storage for repainting the walls, cladding the tiles or even adding windows. Soon after that, the furniture will return to the beautiful room with even better arrangement as before. The process goes on with other rooms.
The process works exactly the same for reconstructing the city. The furniture in a house means the people in a city. People needs a shelter, the airport will deliver it. This contemporary living community will be interesting part of their lives waiting to come back their homes which would be in a higher living standard and no long face their previous problems. With all people have been moved away, the city can be transform in variety ways."
"Based on the current issues, the specific plan will be carried out such as installing underground metro, redistributing real estates, repositioning power lines underground,...If new problems emergesthe process can be conducted again. This strategy can be active for a very long times, probably hundreds of years to come.
But there is one issue to be noticed that most of the material used in this project is precast elements such as steel frames and concrete panel slabs. The poor expression of such materials can decrease the quality of the living environment. A big question our team faced that “whether this project will turn in to a slum or not?
Our team aimed to control this by limiting the speed of reconstructing the city. This means only 80 percent of the total capability is dwelled by people. The rest is dedicated to the natural green spaces blended within the community. The regulation assures the good standard of life during the time people live here."
"It might be estimated that a person can stay here from 10 to 15 years, enough to create a bond the environment. Therefore, the slot of entire trees are in the strategy of strengthen the connection of human and nature.
People in modern society though not pleased with their current living condition, is not also very determined in making sustainable and green environment probably because they have forgot or never knew the experience of living among nature."
"This is the chance for them to have such experience. The goal of the project is to make people gain a strong connection to green life that they will to establish when they leave this contemporary shelter."
"Specific into the design, we kept the main existing road to serve as the main traffic connections to adjacent areas. Then, square grids of internal roads will later be done, creating the primary units of land with the dimension of 150x150 meter. Within these primary dwelling units, there is adequate infrastructure for life to maintain and flourish.
Variety functions are set to serve people needs such as markets, playgrounds, green spaces, gardens among with schools, offices. All cars and motorbikes occupy parking buildings placed at the rear of dwelling units. This left people walking and cycling between the houses to enrich community interaction."
"Looking at the bigger picture, this strategy will work as a spinal diagram. A cycle will represent a stage of renovation. The higher the spinal goes, more problems will be solved. Not only the existing problems but this project may provide the space for the future problems that we have not yet acknowledged.
In conclusion, our project is an effort to create a long term strategy to reconstruct the entire city in hundreds of years both in the infrastructure and the connection of human and nature."
For Student Charrette, World Architectural Festival 2014
Topic: Satellite city
Name of group: Totoros
Project: The Return – Storage of Natural Life
Award: Winner of WAF Student Charrette 2014
List of members:
DANG Thanh Hung – Architect/Uni. Lecturer (Tutor)– School of Architecture, HCMC Uni. Of Architecture
HA Hong Phuc – Student - School of Architecture, HCMC Uni. Of Architecture
LE Ngoc My My – Student - School of Architecture, HCMC Uni. Of Architecture
PHAM Ngo The Bao – Student - School of Architecture, HCMC Uni. Of Architecture
NGUYEN Do Hong Quan – Student - School of Architecture, HCMC Uni. Of Architecture
Images courtesy of Thanh Hung Dang
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