Vietnam is historically an agricultural country. As it moves to a manufacturing based economy, the country is facing changes as a toll is being taken on the environment. Increased droughts, floods and salinization jeopardize food supplies, while numerous motorbikes cause daily congestion and air pollution in the cities. Rapid urbanization deprives Vietnamese children of green lands and playgrounds, and thus their relationship with nature.
Farming Kindergarten is a challenge to counter these issues. Located next to a big shoe factory and designed for 500 children of the factory's workers, the building is conceived as a continuous green roof, providing a food and agricultural experience to children, as well as an extensive playground to the sky.
The green roof is a triple-ring shape drawn with a single stroke, encircling three courtyards inside as safe playgrounds. Recently, an experimental vegetable garden was realized on its top. Five different vegetables are planted in 200 square-meter garden for agriculture education.
All functions are accommodated under this roof. 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 a connection to nature.
The building is made of a continuous narrow strip with two side operable windows which maximize cross ventilation and natural lighting. Additionally, architectural and mechanical energy-saving methods are comprehensively applied including, but not limited to: green roof as insulation, green facade as shading and solar water heating. These devices are visibly designed and play an important role in the children’s sustainable education. Factory wastewater is recycled to irrigate greenery and flush toilets.
As a result, the kindergarten operates without air conditioners, despite being located in a harsh tropical climate. According to a post-occupancy record issued 10 months after completion, the building saves 25% of energy and 40% of fresh water compared to baseline building performance.
The building is designed for low-income factory workers' children, therefore construction budget is quite limited. Therefore, the combination of local materials (ex. bricks, tiles) and low-tech construction methods are applied, which also help minimize the environmental impact as well as promote local industry.
Architect Firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Principal Architects Vo Trong Nghia, Takashi Niwa, Masaaki Iwamoto
Design Team Tran Thi Hang, Kuniko Onishi
Contractor Wind and Water House JSC
Client Pou Chen Vietnam
Green building consultant Melissa Merryweather
CFD analysis Environment Simulation Inc.