A Vietnamese University Is Turning Its Campus Into a Forest

Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Vo Trong Nghia Architects / Vo Trong Nghia Architects

Even urban colleges need a little bit of nature. On FPT University’s new 14-square-mile campus in Ho Chi Minh City, students will soon appear as if they’re studying in a forest instead of in the midst of a city of nearly 8 million people. The Vietnam-based designers at Vo Trong Nghia Architects are building an academic oasis where almost every surface is lined with trees. 

The staggered levels of each building on campus will be filled with trees and plants, shading the interiors. The roofs will also be home to a variety of trees that will insulate, aid storm water runoff, and offset the urban heat island effect normally associated with concrete-laden cities. The buildings surround a courtyard fully shaded by tall trees, giving the campus the overgrown look of a building abandoned to the jungle. 

The campus is a stark contrast to other parts of Ho Chi Minh City, where in 2010 officials estimated that green space had shrunk by half in the previous decade, resulting in only about 1,300 acres of greenery and parks. 

Vietnam has a history of frequent blackouts due to overloaded electric grids (one 2013 blackout affected 8 million people in southern Vietnam and Cambodia), and the designers posit that the shade and greenery will lessen the school’s reliance on electricity-sapping air conditioners. The firm previously designed an equally verdant administrative building in Hanoi for the university, now under construction. 

[h/t: Architectural Digest]