The shift from agriculture to industry has led to a widening gap in the way of life for a large population of Vietnam. Not unlike many developing and developed nations - including our own - Vietnam has increasingly seen their inhabitants gravitate towards larger cities with individuals seeking higher wages. With a shifting population, a change in work ethic and diverging values, the country is quickly seeing the disintegration of their education system, public service, and above all, the spirit of their cultural identity. Constructed to address this growing disparity, architect Kiến Việt designed the Suoi Re Village Community House as a multi-functional gathering place for the citizens of his village to convene and converse. Built from local materials, the beautiful bamboo and rammed earth structure also features a solar cell system, rainwater collection tanks, geothermal heating, power-saving LEDs and more.
Located in Suoi Re, Luong Son, in the Hoa Binh province, the community house was erected against a picturesque scene, leaning against mountains and facing an incredible valley. Contextually aware of its surroundings, as well as the architectural typology of the Kinh and Muong people of the area, the interior of the structure is strikingly modern by comparison.
The overall space is organized in a chain, where the front space is an open courtyard, the main living space lies at the center and consists of connecting two floors. Upstairs one can find a teaching area, library and meeting areas. Overall, open space and programmatic flexibility were the focal points in determining the layout of the floor plan.
Built simply and economically with local materials, the ground floor was constructed with smoother stone, while bamboo doors cover passageways, and a bamboo ceiling warms the space. A rammed-soil wall with heavy stones supports the structure, and the bamboo roof frame has been adorned with dense palm leaves, providing protection from above.
A wide, green veranda acts as a green cushion and the ground floor utilizes concave slopes for geothermal heating and cooling – the building can avoid east-north monsoon winds which are dry and cold in the winter, while alternatively taking advantage of east-south winds to cool the interior in the summer. Solar cell, rainwater and geothermal systems are just a few of the initiatives taken to make this an energy efficient design.
In a community where everyone constructs their own home, Kiến Việt is hoping that the community center can be a model of green design that all his neighbors can be inspired by and build upon.