Several buildings featuring growing plants including the iconic Binh ‘House for Trees‘ in Ho Chi Minh City have been shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards 2017**, to be announced in Berlin during the Festival from 15-17 November.
The aim of the ‘House for Trees‘ project is to bring green spaces back into the city, giving high-density dwellings big tropical trees as well as enabling residents to interact and communicate across generations. The gardens are located on the top of the vertically stacking spaces; bounded by sliding glass doors. This strategy improves the microclimate thanks to natural ventilation and daylight in every room, but also the alternately stacking openings increase visibility and interaction between the family members
‘House for Trees‘ is the name of a series of residential projects that use architecture as a means to connect people to people and people to nature. By using low-tech solutions applicable locally, a House for Trees can be built almost everywhere in the tropical monsoon climate and more than 15 ‘greened’ houses have been built, providing a comprehensive solution for sustainable development in tropical countries.
Located in an irregular plot of land, the design approach for the Atlas Hotel is to turn this constraint into its unique character. The linear layout is divided into several internal courtyards, and by lifting the building above the site, it completely frees the ground floor to create an interconnected network of courtyards. This spatial quality reflects the dynamism of the new Hoi An but also retains the charm of the Old Town.
The five story hotel includes 48 guest rooms as well as various leisure functions such as restaurant, café, rooftop bar, spa, gym and swimming pool. Due to the complexity of the site, each guest room is shorter and wider than typical hotel rooms. Rather than a problem, this presented an opportunity for the rooms to have greater access to greenery not only from the bedroom but also from the bathroom.
The building façade is clad with locally-sourced sandstone pieces used in combination with an exposed concrete slab and a series of planters along the corridors. The planters are arranged along the entire façade of the hotel not only provides solar shading but also allows cooler air to ventilate the spaces. In addition, the perforated stone walls admit daylight without blocking air flow. This scheme allows the place to be naturally ventilated to minimize the use of air conditioners. The use of these green and natural elements embodies the particular interest of the office and the House for Trees concept: to integrate greenery into design as a way to rejuvenate urban areas and to contribute to societal improvement. At its core, Atlas Hotel reconnects man with nature.
The Garden of the Mind is the contribution from Wannaporn Phornprapha, Founder and Managing Director of Thai Landscape Architecture firm P Landscape (PLA). The design combines tradition and vigour and reflects the contemporary sense of life in Thailand. The design for PLA’s ‘Garden Cabinet‘ for the IGA Berlin 2017 International Garden Festival is an opportunity to share ideas about imagination and fantasy in Thai landscapes, through the lens of a contemporary Thai design practice.
Visitors are encouraged to reflect upon ideas of the self, time, and the nature of beauty in the abstract. The visitor experience is defined by different levels of enclosure; openings that frame glimpses to another space and reality; reflective surfaces that portray the image of the unseen landscape beyond; all leading to a space containing a central cluster of shimmering monuments floating upon a still body of water. It is in the heart of the garden that the visitor is invited to linger and gaze upon the sculptural elements and the surreal world in which they reflect back. Traditionally the Thai courtyard garden is a place for quiet contemplation and stillness and in a contemporary sense the garden achieves this through the illusion of a plane of still sculpture.
** The World Architecture Festival celebrates its tenth edition in Berlin in November this year, with the 2017 awards programme receiving more entries than ever before – 924, increasing by 18% from the 2016 awards. The awards shortlist revealed today is a truly international collection, extending to include architectural practices from 51 different nations and projects based across 68 countries. Presentations of shortlisted designs will be made to more than 100 international judges.
Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said:
‘This year’s shortlist has a hugely diverse geographic range. The use of water has been striking and there is evidence of real interest in climate modifications using novel techniques. Colourful architecture makes a strong showing and many of the smaller projects we have shortlisted will punch above their weight. We look forward to welcoming shortlisted architects to our tenth edition in Berlin this November.’