Vinh, Vietnam – Vietnamese architects such as Vo Trong Nghia have fought hard to bring back biophilia into their homeland, whose cities have ‘lost their tropical beauty’, says Trong Nghia. The architect’s tactic was to bring pockets of greenery into glass-and-steel-dominated cities, resulting in projects such as Ho Chi Minh City’s Breathing House.
In Vinh, near Hanoi, LAVA wanted to ensure Vietnam’s next generation gets a daily dose of nature while learning. Together with local interior design company Module K, the architects conceived EcoKid Kindergarten as three semicircular buildings over three levels. The buildings are connected by bridges, forging a series of transitions between indoor and out.
Chris Bosse, director of LAVA, calls it ‘an education project for the future generation’. There’s a movement towards classrooms being ‘defronted’. The term describes a configuration with no teacher at the head of the room because there is no defined head of the room. ‘Rather than a sterile box with a teacher in front and kids in rows listening,’ says Bosse, ‘we created a learning environment where discovery, curiosity, interaction with nature and activity-based learning are encouraged to promote children’s holistic development.’