In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has many things going for it, but high-quality public greenspace in the city center is not one of them.
The city is about to get what almost every great city has: a green, transit-accessible central park. Fortunately, they have a run-down existing park to renovate, so nothing of value in the city center will need to be destroyed to make room for it.
The Sydney, Australia-based design firm LAVA—which has an office in Ho Chi Minh City—along with partner ASPECT Studio, has won the international competition to design the 16 hectare (40 acres) Central Park, with construction due to start in 2020.
Some of its unique design elements:
- Gently elevated curving pedestrian walkways are patterned on 19th century railway tracks built by the French.
- Sunken gardens provide performance and play spaces and connect to an underground shopping area linking to the new metro station.
- Artificial trees provide shelter and harvest water and energy.
This site has always been about transportation: it hosted the first train station in south east Asia.
As a result, LAVA’s design references this history.
The metaphoric “railway lines” in the layout remind visitors of the old urban fabric, provide directional paths, maximize the park’s existing greenery, increase access to diverse functional areas and delineate a mix of active and passive spaces.
They end with a dramatically twisting steel sculpture that further memorializes the transport history.
Three varieties of artificial plants will complement the existing landscape:
- “Water purification” trees collect rainwater to be recycled and used for watering, drinking fountains and fire hydrants.
- “Ventilation trees” reduce heat and create fresh air.
- “Solar trees” feature solar panels angled to optimize radiation and store power, and info screens, charging docks, WIFI routers.
Known locally as September 23 Park, the current space hosts the important annual spring festival.
All images courtesy of LAVA.