Son La Restaurant: A Design That Met Multiple Challenges
Son La province in northern Vietnam is an ethnic cultural area with an abundance of untouched forests and beautiful mountain landscapes, and has been left largely untouched by development and tourism.
But perhaps things are set to change. Son La Restaurant, designed by VTN Architects in 2014 and built in 2015, can hold 750 guests and is the first facility in an upcoming sustainable hotel complex located near the city center.
Due to difficult terrain, Son La is only accessible from Hanoi by a 7-hour car trip along precarious cliff roads. This makes transportation of building materials and manpower difficult.
The project has therefore maximized the use of local resources including local workers and affordable, indigenous materials – mainly local bamboo and stonework.
The Climate Drove the Design
To adopt to the tropical monsoon climate, which during the wet season is hot with high humidity and strong rains and is more temperate but still hot during the dry season -- the design comprises eight separate stone buildings and an open-air bamboo dining hall to supply both contained air-conditioned rooms and comfortable exterior dining. The stone buildings provide multiple entrances to the dining hall and multiple framed views out from the external dining area. The play of different building heights and trees on the roof offer a vertical landscaped view from the outside. The locally sourced stone walls produced 10km from the site also provide texture and connect with the surrounding mountains. The dining hall’s roof structure is made from local bamboo called “Luong” that grows to 8 metres in height. A total of 96 bamboo column units composed of 4 bamboos combined create the impression of a bamboo forest. The ceiling is made by local thatch called “vot” and transparent composite roof sheeting covers the roof above it. Skylights open between columns to fill the space with soft light. Outside, hundreds of local peach trees are planted in the surrounding landscape to celebrate the flower seasons. Meeting the Challenge This project required following VTN Architect's Green Architecture strategy while meeting the demand for function, local culture and unique architecture as well. The investor behind the project needed an economical project, so the VTN Architects had to find solutions for both the structure and construction materials to decrease construction cost for this project. The result was a beautiful bamboo and stone restaurant, located prominently as the future entrance for a sustainable hotel complex which will include a conference hall and café. The restaurant and the landscape foretell the cultural center for both local residences and future tourists alike.
See more bamboo projects by viewing Bamboo Architecture.