VIETNAM – Al-Jazeera’s documentary series Rebel Architecture continues tonight with an episode dedicated to the work of Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia, who tries to steer the country’s rapid growth towards green architecture.

‘Population explosion is a big problem in all Asian countries, especially when these countries have a tropical climate but don’t have the knowledge to create architecture that suits this,’ says Nghia. Combined with rapid economic growth, this often results in glass and steel towers that require vast amounts of energy for air-conditioning and often encroach on cities’ green spaces. ‘Vietnamese cities have lost their tropical beauty,’ the architect argues.

Against this trend, Nghia’s architecture tries to bring pockets of greenery to the choked cities, and introduce passive, sustainable measures, such as natural cross-ventilation. This approach has won him awards and accolades from architectural critics and can be seen in one of his best-known projects, the House for Trees.

Elsewhere, his efforts are also dedicated to aiding the rural poor, who are often left behind in Vietnam’s mad dash to development. Nghia combines his knowledge of building in bamboo and modern building constructions to realise low-cost housing in the Mekong delta. In all his efforts, however, Nghia’s architecture ‘helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space.’

Rebel Architecture: Greening the City airs today at 22:30 GMT on Al Jazeera English and can be watched online via the Al Jazeera website.

Photos courtesy of Al Jazeera