Scores of foreign architecture firms are flooding Vietnam to tap into potentially giant real estate projects and open-minded developers.
Famous companies such as Foster and Partners, DWP, HOK, Skidmore or Owings & Merrill (SOM) have already touched down looking to make their mark. Carlos Zapata designed the 68-storey Bitexco Financial Tower and the 450-room JW Marriott hotel in Hanoi, while Foster and Partners is behind the 68-storey Vietinbank in Hanoi. Perkins Eastman, Posco E&C and Jina have worked on a master plan to develop Hanoi to 2030 and vision to 2050.
While Japanese and French such as Sasaki, Nikkei Seikei and Deso have involved in Thu Thiem New Urban Area in Ho Chi Minh City, Singaporean firms are activating in new urban residential areas in Binh Duong province. Nguyen Chi Tam, design director of Highend Architecture - representative of Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Vietnam, told VIR famous designer Renzo Piano’s finger prints were on the Thang Long Opera House project.
“Renzo had made this design by himself, based on the cultural characteristics of Hanoi and Vietnam, to build a symbol which is familiar to the capital city, the nation and the world wide as well,” Tam said. Desmond Spencer Harty, managing director of DWP - a Thailand-headquartered architecture firm, said fitting in with the local environment and government plans within the long-term sustainable development context was essential.
The appropriate mix of building technologies and options for a return on investment were also key. “Housing should be designed to be practical to build to maximise energy and water savings and be affordable by the target group. There should be the right amount of open space, support facilities like schools, shops and the right mix of building densities to create an interesting urban fabric,” he told VIR.
Harty said all buildings should be respectful to local Vietnamese culture. “However, the building function and overall appearance should be modern, simple and elegant,” he said. Daniel R. Ringelstein, director of urban design at SOM, said Vietnamese project developers have been entertained by the new “Green urban” theory. SOM has designed master plan for six key projects in Vietnam, among those are the FPT City in Danang and the Hanoi Green City.
“As areas of the developing world grow in such quick fashion, those of us coming from the West should help them learn from our mistakes of the past and encourage places like Vietnam to develop in a more sustainable way. This includes creating mixed use communities, promoting public transportation, strengthening their local landscapes, and very important for Vietnam is addressing climate change and mitigating flood risk,” Ringelstein said.
Bich Ngoc (VIR)
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