by Zohra KhanSep 20, 2022
To represent the entrance to the expansive Grand World Phu Quoc – a mega leisure and entertainment destination in Vietnam's largest island of Phu Quoc, native architectural practice VTN Architects has designed a splendid bamboo pavilion as the master complex's welcome centre. Known as the Vinpearl Project, the commission ensued the conception of a space that resonates with Vietnam's cultural heritage, and which could become an iconic symbol for the entire development.
Drawing from their expertise in bamboo architecture and the creation of spaces that seem like a living setup in the middle of a forest, VTN's founder architect, Vo Trong Nghia, realised the centre much like a public space shaded by dense trees. To connect the project's story with Vietnam’s roots, the architecture expanded upon the symbols of lotus and the bronze drum, carving a rich expression of these elements in bamboo.
The structure of the 1460 sqm pavilion is crafted using 42,000 bamboo culms. VTN created a hybrid system to erect the sculpturesque form by interlocking arches, domes, and complex grids in a meticulous precision. With the idea to use the simplest available materials to give form to an energy efficient structure, the design team used only ropes and bamboo pins to connect bamboo culms together. "The joint system,” VTN Architects relays, “is challenging since we employ a lot of structural systems and the details of them meeting each other.” On the pavilion’s exterior, a cantilevered edge has been created using cross-bracing of bamboo, giving the structure a more elaborately defined form.
Within the rectangular layout of the pavilion, two central voids have been carved that evoke the form of lotus and bronze drum. These two become the performance and activity spaces for the centre, engulfed by a thick enclosure of bamboo. As per VTN Architects, despite the dense layers of the systems interlocking each other, a certain openness and transparency permeates through the centre. Speaking about the sheer porosity of the form, VTN Architects explain, “The space is completely open because of the nature of the systems and the way we joined the bamboo elements together. This is due to the nature of our simple joint system, with ropes and low-cost fixing elements. The modular and bracing nature of our frames also increase the transparency of the structure. The grid system allows natural ventilation through the grids.”
Light too is beautifully orchestrated in the structural scheme where similar to the effect it creates on passing through the woods, poetic dappled shadows are painted on the floor while a mesmersing glow takes centrestage on the porous thatched roof of the centre. “The light comes in beautifully, along with the natural colour of bamboo, creates a warm and intimate atmosphere, even though the structure is very open in terms of airflow,” adds the design team.
Located between the leisure park and culture show area, the welcome centre is accessed via a central arched opening, positioned on two opposite sides of the centre. Surrounded by a continuous shallow reflecting pool as the centre’s exterior outline, these lead into the two magnanimous interior halls born out of Vietnam’s traditional legacy.
The studio continues, “The space is also a combination of hard and soft spaces. We sculpt a lotus and drum inside the grid space. The grid is very systematic and precise, combined with soft bamboo arches and domes that surprise people whilst entering the space.”
Previous projects by VTN Architects published on STIR include the porous respiring ceramic dwelling, Bat Trang House; the forest hill-like Viettel telecom office; and a grey concrete villa with tropical trees interspersed into its façade. STIR also featured a conversation between our columnist Vladimir Belogolovsky and architect Vo Trong Nghia discussing the latter’s philosophy and his mission in bringing green architecture in all his projects.