Binh Duong School 1.4

Me face has lately been covered with flapping salmon over the recent architecture of Vo Trong Nghia Architects, of Vietnam.  Partly i have a bias of interest since visiting the country and being awed by the place and people, but also i appreciate that this architect has been able to put a local/regional face on modernism that i wish were more pervasive (i.e. China, where the endless skyscrapers and museums by western architects could be anywhere on the planet, despite thousands of years of local place-making and precedent).

i've made a blog pile of a sampling of my favorite of their works to date.  This is the first of 4.

Binh Duong School

While in Vietnam i was really taken with their schools, of which i saw a few elementary level ones.  The schools in the US are like garrisons nowadays with their rampant security measures and isolation from the surroundings, so it was quite a pleasure to see the openness of the Vietnamese schools, of which no less a part is the climate, but regardless i saw an openness and communal quality that i've not seen in American schools (i used to do school work as an architect in New England).

Anyway, this school epitomizes the openness of the Vietnamese elementary school, with it's flowing spaces and ingenious "S" curve that allows for the building to both open to the street with an initial courtyard that then opens to a second, more private courtyard that opens to the landscape, where recreation is held.  You can see from the image above the urban courtyard opening to the second, landscape courtyard beyond.

Site diagram
Site Plan
i think this is a beautiful synthesis of what a school should do; engage with the community while creating community among the students, and exposing them to landscape and fresh air and light.

Open corridor

Landscape courtyard

Precast concrete fins create enclosure and openness together

The pavers are both town and landscape.  Such a nice opening to the tree..

Landscape courtyard
All photos © Hiroyuki Oki

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