ODDO Architects is spearheading an ambitious project to restore part of the subtropical alluvial forests of Hanoi’s Bãi Giữa island, boost air quality and give the battered site a new lease on life.
Also known as Banana Island, the 312-hectare expanse on the banks of the Red River is covered with wild and thick verdure — including the crops it owes its name tag to — with very few paths. It’s home to an eclectic tribe of farmhands and vagrants with no access to clean water or utilities and is rather infamous for the nudist clan it still attracts.
The volunteered, apolitical and non-profit ‘Green Lungs Hanoi‘ initiative aims to convert a 26-hectare parcel at the southern tip of the island into a biodiverse habitat for indigenous flora and endangered fauna over a 15-year period.
Since a single hectare of forested area can sequester 460 kg of carbon daily, tropical and sub-tropical trees are instrumental in tackling global carbon emissions. For that reason, the architects have labelled the development a carbon sink on the fringes of Vietnam’s capital, one of the world’s most polluted cities.
The immersive green hub would be fitted with a network of pedestrian tracks and recreational activities to place Hanoians in close proximity to nature, a much-needed opportunity to unwind minutes away from the city centre.
The massive influx for better economic opportunities has hardest hit the coastal and alluvial forests around Hanoi. Alongside flora and fauna, several bird species have been rapidly declining.
With this forest, the locals aim to resuscitate the numbers by providing a haven to native species of plants, trees, animals, and birds. This can bring the natural balance of life back into order.
In turn, it also resolves the pressing issues of seasonal flooding and soil erosion. The income of local farmers had been unstable due to the capriciousness of weather and overused soil conditions.
The project aims to engage these local farmers as informal stakeholders in the forest restoration process. It would provide them with much-needed income stability.
The architects worked closely with the local government and community to recruit a team of volunteers of all ages. They plant native trees and oversee long-term maintenance.
This propagated sanctuary hence serves as an open-air laboratory for future generations to learn about sustainable development and conservation.
Post sponsored by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction
Aspirant project is innovative in one or more ways, say material use, passive design, community engagement, etc. Performance, here, might be discussed in quantitative or qualitative ways.
Tropical climates have warm, moist conditions year-round, with high precipitation and narrow diurnal temperature swings. These climates occur typically between 15° N to 15° S latitudes. Here, traditional architecture prioritises natural ventilation and shade for comfort.