Vietnam, historically an agricultural country is facing changes as it moves to a manufacturing based economy. This has taken a huge toll on the environment. Increased droughts, floods and salinization jeopardize food supplies, while numerous motorbikes cause daily congestion and air pollution in the cities. Rapid urbanization deprives Vietnamese children of green lands and playgrounds, thus stifling a much needed relationship with nature.
Farming Kindergarten was taken as a challenge by Vo Trong Nghia Architects to counter these issues. Located next to a big shoe factory, and designed for 500 children of the factory’s workers, the building is conceived as a continuous green roof, providing a food and agriculture experience to children, as well as an extensive playground open to the sky.
The green roof is a triple-ring shape drawn with a single stroke, encircling three courtyards inside that serve as safe playgrounds. Recently, an experimental vegetable garden was realized on its top. Five different vegetables are planted in a 200 sqm garden for agriculture education.
All programmatic requirements are accommodated under this roof. As the roof lowers to the courtyard it provides access to the upper levels and vegetable gardens on top – the place where children learn the importance of agriculture and get the opportunity to connect with nature.
The building is made of a continuous narrow functional strip with both its sides fitted with operable windows that maximize cross ventilation and natural lighting. The architectural and mechanical energy-saving methods that are comprehensively applied include: the use of a green roof as insulation, application of a green façade as shading, solar water heating and grey-water recycling. These devices are designed visibly and play an important role in the children’s sustainable education.
The building is designed for low-income factory workers’ children and therefore its construction budget was quite limited. The combination of local materials and low-tech construction methods were applied and went a long way to minimize the environmental impact as well as promote local industry. Thanks to simple rigid frame with economical materials, the construction cost per one square meter was kept at around 500 USD including finishes and equipment, which is competitively cheap even within the Vietnamese built environment market.
Architect: Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Location: Biên Hòa, Dong Nai, Vietnam
Client: Pou Chen Vietnam
Design Team: Vo Trong Nghia, Takashi Niwa, Masaaki Iwamoto, Tran Thi Hang, Kuniko Onishi
Green Building Consultant: Melissa Merryweather
Contractor: Wind and Water House JSC
Area: 3 800 sqm
Status: Completed, 2013
Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki, Gremsy, Vo Trong Nghia Architects