The Hanging Gardens of Ho Chi Minh City

Seemingly obsessed with a need to cover its building designs with greenery, Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects has just released its latest plans for three condominium towers in Ho Chi Minh City, where the balconies will be filled with shooting bamboo planters and the rooftops will feature flourishing gardens, linked together by building-width bridges (fig. 1).

Fresh from designing its lush, green, Babylonian-style Naman Retreat – in a popular tourist spot on the east coast of Vietnam, on the main road between Dan Nang and Hoi An – where plants climb all over the concrete louvres of the multi-storey hotel (fig. 2), and the shrub-draped FPT University campus that includes planted pockets of foliage sprouting from the staggered floors of its 22,500 square-metre building (fig. 3), Vo Trong Nghia designed the tower blocks with its signature abundance of vegetation in an effort to replace the plant life being rapidly lost to urban development and construction.

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“While other developments are expediting the loss of greenery in the city, the green bridge and green facade of this project are regarded as not only a dedication to the comfort of inhabitants but also a contribution to the landscape, appearing as a green screen in the city,” was the statement to come from the architects of the firm themselves, who added, “Within the urban density of small and humble houses without greenery, this project will provide the first green landmark in Ho Chi Minh City to change the inactive mindset created by lack of greenery.”

The three towers, officially christened the Diamond Lotus housing scheme, will be set on an 8400 square-metre site, found on a thin strip of land that sits between two parts of the Kenh Doi river. Each structure will be 22 storeys tall and altogether total 720 apartments, each with access to its own private bamboo garden on the balcony (fig. 4).

Aside from providing a restful green space for its occupants, each residence will use its bamboo stems as a green screen to filter the harsh tropical sunlight, as well as a means to regulate heat for the home. Vo Trong Nghia has often claimed that bamboo will soon be the go-to material for building construction, and has used it previously to build 25 trumpet-like lotus pod structures for the Vietnamese Pavilion at the Milan 2015 World Expo.

The rooftop gardens of the Diamond Lotus structures will be fully accessible to residents, allowing them to stroll the entire length of the development if they wish, and will feature fully grown trees and sculptured shrubs, while the U-shaped connecting bridge supports will be illuminated at night (fig. 5).

According to the studio, “The three volumes are appropriate for large-scale housing and the roof of each is connected to resonate with Vietnamese Feng Shui,” while, “The connected roof provides the residents with a large green space, which rarely occurs in the city. “

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