Words MIA Design Studio
Editing The Kanto Team
Images Trieu Chien
Rivers are deeply intertwined with the history and urban development of Vietnam. The Saigon River is among the largest rivers that bring great spiritual and economic value to the formation of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s economic and financial capital.
Rivers are deeply intertwined with the history and urban development of Vietnam.
We took inspiration from the ebb and flow of the life-giving Saigon River for an ephemeral events pavilion we created for this year’s edition of the Ashui Awards, a recognition program for Vietnamese architects who have made positive contributions to the community, whose awarding ceremony takes place annually at a new location.
The location chosen is an empty plot of land blessed with an unbroken vista of the Saigon River. The lot’s three sides are adjacent to the walls of neighboring buildings facing the Thanh Da Peninsula. Based on the data gathered from the site, we proposed to create a separate, half-enclosed space amidst the existing urban structures, while desiring to enhance the natural flow that already existed on the site.
We wanted to craft an ode to the Saigon River whilst also making the most of the panoramic river views. Our biggest challenge was that the resulting structure would have to adhere to a limited budget and be executable in a short time frame.
The Ashui Pavilion 2023 brings natural and cultural flow to its audiences and visitors, taking them back to their childhood days, with the imagery of Vietnamese children playing and bathing in the river waters of rural villages. We made use of white fabric layers to execute this vision, having the material both embrace the visitor, while also allowing them to emerge from it through gaps, like a swimmer surfacing for a breath of air after a refreshing dip.
By utilizing the original size of the fabrics, combined with borrowed scaffolding frames in the neighboring area, gravity has given form to a gentle curve for the pavilion’s ‘roof.’ The fabric gently descends just above the stage and the audience’s heads before making another ascent to the opposite frame that secures it in place. Below the white layers of fabric constantly swaying in the wind, visitors can immerse themselves physically within the ‘flow,’ wading and emerging from the waves as they gently lift the fabric to enter a different space.
After the event, all materials have been dismantled for reuse for other purposes, returning the land to its original state. •
Client: Ashui Awards
Year completed: 2023
Site area: 450 m2
Location: An Phu, Thu Duc City, HCMC
MIA Design Studio
Principal architect: Nguyen Hoang Manh
Concept design: Nguyen Quoc Long, Pham Phu Thinh
General contractor: Newhouse, Coppha Builders
Fabric manufacturer: LAM Weaving Spaces
Lighting manufacturer: Unios