Binh Duong School: A Novel Concept and Award Winning Design
Updated: Aug 21
In Vietnam, private schools have traditionally been located in the city center, but according to recent change in zoning principles, educational facilities are allocated to city's sprawling outlying districts. The mission of Binh Duong School was to cultivate the potential of the outlying site with better air quality and rich green, and to become a prototype of suburban school in a typical tropical climate in Vietnam.
Binh Duong, a new city which is 30 minutes away from Ho Chi Minh City, has a typical tropical climate all year round. The city is located in the middle of a flourishing forest with a wide variety of green and fruits, running rampant. It is an environment where folks spend their time under the shade of trees, pursuing a beautiful life and living in harmony with the nature. In designing Bing Duong School, VTN Architects set out with a goal of making the border between the inside and the outside ambiguous. From the very first impression of the site, the architects tried to embed the building into the site by delivering this Vietnam-oriented generous spirit of natural land into the school design, which will eventually have 800 students.
The school is located in 5300 sqm land. The school’s design is five stories high, aligning itself with the height of the surrounding forest. White precast concrete is situated into rows of louvers that act as shading panels for the outdoor hallways. The concrete paneling also allows for passive cooling and protection from the elements during Vietnam’s rainy season.
The S-shaped building winds around two courtyards; one yard is for public events, announcements, and performances, while the other is tucked away near the back of the building for students to privately study or enjoy leisure activities. Stairs begin on the ground floor outside the building’s far end and ascend toward the green roof that sprawls across the entire design. The grassy area is open for student activities, outdoor classes, gardening, and also acts as an insulation system, keeping the floors below nice and cool.
The building’s open structure allows it to be part of its surroundings without harming the nearby forest. Students can interact with and learn about the environment while attending to their daily studies. The school’s continuous structure acts as a safe campus that flows from classroom to courtyard, allowing students to move freely throughout the space, inside and out.
The school was constructed and managed with a very low budget. The unit price of the construction was about 250 EURO per square meter, which is cheap in Vietnam. It was realized by an efficient structural system and building components created by local technologies applicable in the country. Running cost of the building is also quite low due to the low-tech energy saving methods. This moderate school proves the ability to become a prototype of the typology in tropical climate. This project represents VTN Architects ongoing Green Architecture strategy.
In 2012, the World Architecture Festival 2012 awarded VTN Architects two awards, one of them the Binh Duong School that won the schools category.
See more photos of Binh Duong School.