Panel discussion The Return of Climate in Architecture

Architects in conversation: arch+ co-editor Anh-Linh Ngo (left) interviews star architect Võ Trọng Nghĩa from Vietnam in Berlin.
Architects in conversation: arch+ co-editor Anh-Linh Ngo (left) interviews star architect Võ Trọng Nghĩa from Vietnam in Berlin. | Photo: Stephanie von Becker

The renowned magazine arch+ is exploring modern architecture in Vietnam. The edition focused on the country’s star architect Võ Trọng Nghĩa with whom there was a discussion in Berlin.

From far above, Vietnam is a narrow strip of land on the South China Sea. It is not only geographically and climatically diverse, but also culturally and ethnically. Vietnam is also a country that has yet to be discovered architecturally and in particular with regard to the contributions it is making in response to climate change.
 
There has been lots of construction going on since the country’s economic upswing, but Vietnam’s own architectural scene was often left out. That is changing now with a young generation of architects who are designing solutions to climatic problems.
 
“It's the climate, stupid!”
 
With progressive urbanization, the stuffy Southeast Asian monsoon climate was augmented by increasing air pollution caused by traffic and seasonal forest clearing. Thanks to the centuries old, traditional ventilation techniques in house construction, indoor conditions are tolerable. Today, they are supplemented by air conditioners, making urbanites prefer to be indoors over outdoors. “Air-cooled privatism,” an a US historian called it, is transforming the public urban space.

  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
  • Photo: Stephanie von Becker Photo: Stephanie von Becker
Using sustainable construction innovations, the young generation of architects is devoted to the challenge of harmonizing climate, individual and architecture, the simultaneousness of traditional and modern ventilation techniques and, not least, urban living habits.
 
The Goethe-Institut and arch+ discuss under one roof
 
Number 227 of arch+ magazine focuses on Vietnam in its theme “Climate-Adapted Building, Relationships between Climate and Culture.” The Goethe-Institut organized an accompanying panel discussion where Vietnam’s star architect Võ Trọng Nghĩa presented his work and talked with Almut Grüntuch-Ernst, professor of architecture at the TU Braunschweig.
Vietnam is just one example of the global trend in architecture of grasping construction methods as social commitment. Or, as co-editor of arch+, Anh-Linh Ngo writes in the issue in terms as simple as they are true, “It's the climate, stupid!”