Vietnamese architect honored for pioneering use of bamboo

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  Hill Restaurant in Mexico designed by Vo Trong Nghia made entirely out of bamboo

Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia has once again received global recognition, the World Architecture News (WAN) naming his company one of the top 21 architectural firms of the 21st century.

Nghia, famous for his bamboo designs, won the WAN  "21 for 21" Award for his "masterpieces of thoughtful design and engineering," the panel of leading architects said on the WAN website.

A certificate was handed to him in Ho Chi Minh City on May 25.

The panel praised Nghia's "intelligent use of natural materials."

Judge Patrick Schumacher from the UK's Zaha Hadid Architects said Nghia's designs are "finding forms true to material which has enabled them to create light forms with influences of scientific vernacular," a premise that other architectural practices can learn from.

Nghia, who earned his master's degree in Japan, wrote in his proposal, "Bamboo is the green material of the 21st century due to its excellent CO2 absorbability and the higher rebirth ability of bamboo forests in comparison with other tropical forests.

"Bamboo has its own attributes such as: small and uneven dimensions, high durability and flexibility."

His designs include the open-air Hill Restaurant in Mexico and the Eco-resort Pavilion and wNw Café and Bar in Vietnam. wNw stands for "wind and water."


wNw Bar designed by Vo Trong Nghia in Binh Duong Province

Nghia said, "Wind and water have been in my blood and bones for a long time. I just remember that during my childhood, sometimes those two were even more precious than rice."

The 36-year-old is the youngest child in a big family from the arid province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam.

Many of his designs were inspired by his childhood and tend to be open-air constructions surrounded by water.

Nghia's long list of accolades include recognition from the International Architecture Award in 2008 and 2009, the Green Good Design award from the European Design Center and the Chicago Athenaeum for the wNw Bar in Binh Duong Province in southern Vietnam.

Last year, he won four more international awards, including another Green Good Design for the Vietnamese booth at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, an International Architecture Award for Bamboo Wings, a café in Vinh Phuc Province in northern Vietnam, a FuturArc Green Leadership Award for the wNw Bar, and the gold medal from the Architects Regional Council Asia.

Architects from Spain, France and Belgium have joined his company, bringing new ideas to his green designs.

WAN's judges will be working to fulfill the list of 21 winners. Other winners so far have come from Mexico, Norway, Spain, China and Germany.

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