The Jakob Factory in Vietnam is a new manufacturing facility that aims to create a model for sustainable manufacturing architecture in tropical climates. In fact, the building is covered with a biophilic design in the shape of an exterior porous skin. It is the brainchild of G8A Architecture & Urban Planning and rollimarchini architekten from Bern.

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Factory exterior filled with walls of plants

The factory will house specialist steel rope producer Jakob Rope Systems, a manufacturing organization specializing in custom steel mesh. As for the partnership between the designers and the client, it was built on the client’s pillar value of sustainability, both environmental and social, in all phases of the design process.

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Aerial view of the wavy roof

In detail, the outer layer of the factory consists of tiers of plants that will thrive in this region. Due to the walls of planters, the resulting porous walls create a partial barrier with plenty of natural ventilation. This will create a healthy space for workers and also lower indoor temperatures through evaporation. Further, the plants bind dust particles and purify the air. They act as a sort of natural air conditioning system.

Spots of grass inside the factory courtyard

The 30,000-square-meter site, or a space of about 323,000 square feet, is located in the center of an industrial park 31 miles north of Ho Chi Minh City. The past ten years have seen the doubling of industrial parks converting agricultural land in this region. Additionally, this means regulations on environmental impact have yet to catch up with the speed of economic growth here. Many industrial zones in Vietnam have dealt with high levels of pollution and unsustainable construction, particularly because they are converting porous land into slab foundations for buildings.

A walkway between pillars and the wall of plants

The Jakob Factory proposal was a unique opportunity for rollimarchini and G8A to present an alternative by creating a passive design that saves more land. The building creates a vertical stacking design for factories by stacking usable zones on superimposed slabs.

Inside the newly-built factory

The resulting structure makes use of a two-layer rope network that stretches from the ground to the roof to suspend a “skin” of living plants. Geotextile planters also filter rain and sun. Meanwhile, the interior walls are modular to create a workable space no matter the use.

This is the first instance of a modern building in Vietnam that makes use of completely natural ventilation.

+ G8A Architecture & Urban Planning, rollimarchini architekten

Images via Hiroyuki Oki and Severin Jakob