BY: STEFANIE PHILLIPS
Vietnam was once known for its vast agricultural landscape of large rice fields and rich coffee crops, but like many countries, a change in the economy has lit fire to rapid urbanization. As a result they are compromising their relationship with nature.
That’s why award winning architect, Vo Trong Nghia and his firm have devoted the design of a kindergarten in Vietnam to being the prototype for sustainable schools, where children can learn sustainable habits.
The pretzel-shaped school, named “Farming Kindergarten” sits beside a shoe factory in the tropical monsoon zone of Dongnai, Vietnam. It was built to school 500 of the shoe factory employees’ children.
Using the low budget of $1.9 million U.S. the firm was able to build the school with a vegetable garden covering the entire roof to teach students how to grow their own food, and to double as insulation for the building.
The roof lowers to the courtyard and then rises up over two levels of classrooms.
“As the roof lowers to the courtyard it provides access to the upper level and vegetable gardens on top – the place where children learn the importance of agriculture and recover connection to nature,” Vo Trong Nghia Architects told Dezeen.
They also incorporated three enclosed playgrounds completely covered in grass to promote safe play despite buildings being built, and pollution produced around the school.
There are so many sustainable things about this school, that we haven’t even got to the good part yet.
The building’s water is heated by solar-powered energy and uses recycled waste water from the factory to irrigate the garden and grassed areas. While windows on both sides of the building bring in natural light and ventilate air flow and louvres shade outer walls to encourage the growth of climbing plants.
“As a result the Kindergarten is operated without air conditioning in the classrooms, despite being located in a harsh tropical climate,” said the firm.