Vo Trong Nghia & VTN Architects’ Core Values
Do most organizations have shared beliefs and common core values that are deeply ingrained amongst all employees? Some probably do, but many unfortunately do not. Instead, those companies are driven more by profits than by doing the right thing and following their core values. Some companies simply have never taken the time to even consider expressing what their core value are. VTN Architects on the other hand is an example of a company that does have strong shared beliefs – core values that are shared resolutely among all employees. This is the story behind how that happened.
Several years ago, VTN Architect’ founder, Vo Trong Nghia, moved temporarily to Myanmar to live with monks in a monastery. For an extended period of time, he spent his days learning meditation, studying Buddhism and advancing his enlightenment. Even before moving to Myanmar, Nghia studied the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha.
It was more than 2500 years ago that Buddha said to keep these Five Precepts (pañca sila):
1. To abstain from taking life.
2. To abstain from lying.
3. To abstain from taking things not given.
4. To abstain from misconduct done in lust.
5. To abstain from intoxicants, taken to induce heedlessness.
Buddha taught that if one is able to keep these Five Precepts, one will always be on the correct path, eliminate one’s impurities and rescue oneself from difficulty. One will not go on the negative karma path.
Vo Trong Nghia keeps the Five Precepts every day of his life. They are his golden rules that he lives by. It is his belief that if everyone in the world would live their lives keeping the Five Precepts, many of our global problems would be solved and people would be happier. Getting the entire world’s population to follow Buddha’s teachings probably isn’t going to happen, but getting every employee at VTN Architects to follow the teachings and keep the Five Precepts has proved very possible. Not only are the Five Precepts a moral code in Buddhism, but they are now a part of VTN Architects’ organizational core values. They drive our behavior and decision processes every day.
The well-known Five Precepts form the minimum code of ethics that every lay Buddhist is expected to adhere to. Its first precept involves abstention from injury to life. It is explained as the casting aside of all forms of weapons, being conscientious about depriving a living being of life. In its positive sense it means the cultivation of compassion and sympathy for all living things. Buddhism expresses a gentle non-violent attitude towards the vegetable kingdom as well. It is said that one should not even break the branch of a tree that has given one shelter. Buddhism also prescribes the practice of metta, "loving-kindness" towards all creatures of all quarters without restriction.
It is with this loving kindness in our hearts that VTN Architects create our works. Our core values drive us to design houses and buildings that will peacefully coexist with nature, not cause harm to it. That is why we chose to use local material that will cause less damage to the environment and create less pollution. It is also why we consider the environment when choosing the most eco-friendly systems to power and support the building’s functions. We create bioclimates within our buildings from the greenery formed by plants and trees. These bioclimates serve as a green lung for the building to produce fresh air and help regulate the tropical climate of Vietnam.
Our moral code also controls our interactions with clients, vendors and subcontractors. Honesty and respect are of the upmost importance to every VTN Architects employee. Our core values mean something to us. They are not just words. They are far more resolute and non-negotiable.
All these efforts are infused with an unwavering vision: the creation of Green Architecture that merges nature, local vernacular, and — through modern materials and methods — contemporary design. VTN Architects sees such work as a way not only to refine the urban environment but also to provide a sense of peace in the world through the living interpretation of our core values.
Read more about VTN Architects - Overview.
Read about VTN Architects Philosophy.
Read about VTN Architects' Green Architecture.