A Comfortably Cool School In Vietnam, Sans AC

The Binh Duong School — located in the town of Di An, just north of Ho Chi Minh City — may spell the future of building in Vietnam. This according to the architect behind the project, Vo Trong Nghia, who went home this year with two awards from the World Architecture Festival, one of them in the Schools category, for this project.

Dezeen reports that the school is consists of a single five-story building for junior and high school students. It relies exclusively on natural ventilation, and does without air conditioning, even in its classrooms. This is a bold move in a hot climate, but Vo successfully met the comfort needs of both students and staff using a system of vertical louvres and perforated screens. These cover the building’s facade, allowing air to flow freely across the external corridors and into each room. The louvres stop direct sunlight from entering the interior of the building while still admitting natural daylight, greatly lessening the effects of unwanted heat gain.

Binh Duon School by Vo Trong Nghia

image via Dezeen / Vo Trong Nghia

Surrounding by a flourishing tropical forest, the school is built around a central courtyard designed to integrate the building with the landscape in which it resides.  This intention was also reflected in the placement of the hallways and corridors around the building, rather than within, where there could be open to the air. The school currently serves 800 students.

Vo explains that how he’d like to design an office building along the same lines in Ho Chi Minh City, where ventilation is provided naturally, daylighting illuminates daily tasks, and only computers are relient on electricity. (Which makes sense, as the local grid isn’t extremely reliable.)

“We, the Vietnamese, need to think about climate change, so we should make a house, a school, a building using less energy,” he told Dezeen, explaining that that the rising sea-levels associated with a warming planet should make green building a real priority in his coastal country in the years to come.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.