FOUNDER AND CHIEF ARCHITECT OF 1+1>2, AND L AUREATE OF THE SIA-GETZ ARCHITECTURE PRIZE 2016
An advocate of sustainable architecture and responsible development, Vietnamese architect Hoang Thuc Hao has been building for underprivileged communities in his home country and other parts of the world, including Bhutan. The Architect of the Year (for Vietnam in 2015) recently clinched the SIA-Getz Architecture Prize 2016 for having contributed significantly to the progress of architecture in Asia and beyond, yet he believes more can be done to improve the living standards of those living in undeveloped areas.
What does winning the SIA-Getz Architecture Prize 2016 mean to you?
I am extremely honoured. I hope that with this award, I will be able to gather more resources and continue building for the disadvantaged communities. My aim is to respect the culture, while improving the quality of life of villagers. I hope that by bringing architecture into rural communities, these physical spaces will give the local community a sense of belonging.
How does the natural environment and surrounding inspire you when you build?
I pay attention to materials, context and culture, and incorporate these elements as much as I can into each project. For example, I built Ta Phin Community House in Sapa as a symbol of the town. Its design is inspired by the natural landscape in the region, which boasts mountains, valleys and terraced rice fields. The crimson colour parallels the traditional scarves and hats that native Dao women don. At the Earth Village in Nam Dam, I constructed it with local materials like earth, while incorporating a passive design to allow natural light and air to fill the interior spaces.
What do you aim to achieve when building in rural areas?
Instilling a sense of happiness is important. Happiness for the people will bring a sense of satisfaction to me, as an architect.
How is architecture different in the city and in villages?
Architecture in the city is usually only seen as a form, with a strong focus on design. More needs to be done, and I believe that cities should draw reference from the countryside, where problems of urbanisation such as overcrowding and pollution almost do not exist. My dream is to create a countryside-inspired sanctuary – made with natural materials and simple forms – in a city one day.
SEE MORE OF HOANG THUC HAO’S INSPIRING WORKS AT HTTP://WWW.HOANGTHUCHAO.COM