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Vietnamese House for Trees wins best architectural work

Update: June, 20/2014 - 15:00
Architect Vo Trong Nghia receives the honour at the award ceremony on Wednesday in London.

LONDON (VNS) — House for Trees by Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects, has beaten a huge number of architectural works from all over the world to win the first prize at the 5th AR House Awards 2014.

The work was honoured as the best work to help deal with urban pollution at the awards ceremony in London on Wednesday. The two runners-up are from Sri Lanka and The Netherlands and third prize winner is from Rwanda.

Designed by architects Vo Trong Nghia, Masaaki Iwamoto, and Kosuke Nishijima, House for Trees is a two-bedroom home for a family of three.

Five concrete boxes are designed as "pots" to plant trees on the top. With thick soil layer, these pots also function as storm-water basins for detention and retention, and therefore contribute towards reducing the risk of flooding in the city when the idea is multiplied for a large number of houses in the future.

It is located in Tan Binh district, one of the most densely populated residential areas in HCM City, which has just 0.25 per cent of its area covered in greenery, according to the architects.

Under rapid urbanisation, cities in Viet Nam have diverged far from their origins as sprawling tropical forests, according to a press release from the studio.

"In HCM City, for example, only 0.25 per cent area of the entire city is covered with greenery. An over-abundance of motorcycles causes daily traffic congestion as well as serious air pollution. As a result, new generations in urban areas are losing their connection with nature," it said.

"House for Trees, a prototypical house within a tight budget of US$156,000, is an effort to change this situation. The aim of the project is to bring back green space into the city and accommodate high-density dwelling with big tropical trees."

"This tree has aerial roots, and fewer underground roots, so we think it is suitable to plant on top of the boxes," the architects told Dezeen magazine.

"Considering the unique structure, it was a tight budget, so we minimised the finishing materials," said the architects who are still in London for the award ceremony.

"The ceilings are exposed concrete and the interior walls are exposed brick, which is one of the cheapest materials in Viet Nam."

House for Trees, a two-bedroom home for a family of three built with five concrete boxes designed as "pots" to plant trees on the top by Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects has won top prize at the 5th AR House Awards 2014. Photos courtesy of the Vo Trong Nghia Architects.— VNS Photos

Based on the ideas of plant pots, trees grown on rooftops will bring about green surroundings and fresh air for the housing complex and help reduce tensions for house owners as well as the use of energy. This is the first work in Viet Nam that employs bamboo reinforced concrete.

AR House Awards is an internationally renowned architecture award granted annually by Architectural Review for the best architectural work of the year.

With numerous awards gained both at home and abroad so far, Vo Trong Nghia Architects has brought home many awards so far this year including the awards from Wallpaper magazine in the UK and ArchDaily in the US for his Binh Thanh House. — VNS

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