5 questions for... Doan Van Hung, a Vietnamese urban architect in Ho Chi Minh City
Doan Van Hung was born in Quang Ngai, a provincial town in Vietnam which runs mainly from farming. He grew up in this region of Vietnam, where respect for nature and the environment were of prime importance. This love of plants prompted him later on to focus on town landscape gardening studies at Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture.
Doan Van Hung is now a renowned architect in Vietnam who specializes in green walls and town architecture.
He is very highly involved with the NGO Green Youth Collective (GYC), which has been sponsored by Solidarity AccorHotels and AccorHotels teams in Vietnam since 2013 and aims to train young people in difficulty on “green trades”.
Overview of this commitment and Doan Van Hung’s projects:
- What prompted you to work in the field of town architecture and in particular green walls?
My first project started when I was in the second year of university. I started designing and installing gardens for individuals or offices in the town. I started to take a particular interest in vertical gardens the following year. I learnt enormously from Patrick Blanc, a French biologist and botanist, the pioneer of the concept, who initiated me on using local materials to design vertical walls.
This initiative perfectly corresponded to the growing demand of Ho Chi Ming City inhabitants, who were tired of the high urbanisation of the town and dreamed of making their homes more beautiful by adding greenery.
This was my starting point, which acted as a trigger: I started to have more and more customers and implement increasingly large-scale projects.
- Why and how did you come into contact with GYC?
It was at about the same time that I learnt about GYC. This NGO, which is on the same wavelength as the subjects I studied and my various projects, is above all for me a place for dialogue where I can share my dreams with young people taking part in the programme, present sustainable, environmentally-friendly solutions to them whilst contributing my expertise.
I decided to participate in the GYC programme as I wanted to contribute at my level to this community of young, underprivileged and marginalised Vietnamese people but who were sensitive to vertical garden themes and in the middle of the training and apprenticeship process. These are not necessarily major initiatives but they are essential to help new Vietnamese generations in their relations with nature and town planning!
- What are your projects with GYC?
My projects alongside GYC change over time and in line with their needs. I notably take part in some training courses and give lessons to the participants. These exchanges are very rich.
I also give some young people the opportunity to do work placements in my firm “Les Paysages Hung Doan”. It’s not only a unique occasion to concretely transform their lives by giving them the opportunity to gain employment but also the occasion to stimulate their thoughts and lead them to learn by themselves. Nothing is more efficient!
- Can you tell us a little about your firm and your achievements?
The architecture firm “Les Paysages Hung Doan" was formed with the objective of adding green spaces to the town and making new generations more aware about these issues. The implemented projects are dreams for me: Rex Hotel in the 1st district, Viet-My Institute of Plastic Surgery, Exim building, Dinh Thien Ly school, Estanla building, Villapark building in the 9th district, many houses, etc. There are also many restaurants, brasseries and amusement parks. The range of possibilities is huge which is very inspiring!
- At present, what are your future projects?...
I am going to participate as far as possible in GYC’s activities and contribute to developing this group in order to implement even more “green” projects: installing community gardens, prompting architects to change their way of thinking to help build a greener, cleaner town and accordingly establish a connection with the “Town in the Garden” project which is close to my heart.