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Meditating twice a day keeps staff at Vo


Trong Nghia Architects focused, claims
founder
Amy Frearson | 25 May 2016 15 comments

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia has revealed that he
makes his staff meditate every day to help them "resist cravings and improve concentration".

The Vo Trong Nghia Architects founder – who has earned a reputation as a pioneer in bamboo
structures – claims that meditation is a key factor in keeping his staff focused and improving
their decision making.

Vo Trong Nghia claims that meditating keeps his staff focused


and improves their decision making

Speaking at the launch of a bamboo meditation space in Venice this week, the architect said the
discipline helped staff at his office in Ho Chi Minh City improve their lives and "avoid
ignorance".

"The staff at Vo Trong Nghia Architects are required to meditate twice a day and attend 10-day
meditation courses throughout the year to continuously reconnect with nature, as well as to
understand their minds at a deeper level," he explained.

"It helps to resist cravings, improve concentration and sensitivity to our surroundings, as well as
better decision making in improving our society, not just for our personal interests."
Related story
Vo Trong Nghia unveils tree-covered university campus for
Ho Chi Minh City

Vo Trong Nghia also claims the spiritual practice helps give his team of 60, which includes
architects and engineers, better quality of life.

"At Vo Trong Nghia Architects, we see meditation as a beneficial pathway to help people to
avoid ignorance, purify their minds, improve their lives and bring people closer to nature," he
added.
The Human Meditation Nature installation consists of several bamboo towers, each supporting a
plant

To prove his theory, the architect has installed a meditation space inside the Central Pavilion in
the Giardini – one of the two main venues of the Venice Architecture Biennale. It consists of
several bamboo towers, each supporting a plant.

The architect hopes the installation will not only help visitors to learn the value of meditation but
also educate them about the value of integrating nature into design – whether as an ecologically
friendly building material, a sustainable farming resource, or simply to create more pleasant
environments.
Vo Trong Nghia hopes the installation will not only help visitors to learn the value of meditation,
but also educate them about the value of integrating nature into design

"Within this forest of bamboo and plants, we invite you to meditate and reawaken your
relationship with nature," added the architect. "We hope the journey through this pavilion will
remind you of the impact of human actions in our daily lives."
Vo Trong Nghia has offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Past projects by the firm include a
prototype for low-cost housing, a kindergarten with a vegetable garden on its roof and a plant-
covered house.

The installation goes on show this week as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale

Entitled Human Meditation Nature, the new installation goes on show this week as part of the
Venice Architecture Biennale, which runs until 27 November 2016.
The theme of this year's event, selected by curator Alejandro Aravena, is Reporting From the
Front – a bid to encourage architects to address some of the most important global issues.

Projects credits:

Principal architect: Vo Trong Nghia


Design team: Takashi Niwa, Nguyen Duc Trung, Do Huu Tam, Aiko Nakada, Pham Thi Huyen
Anh
Construction: Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Nguyen Ba Tuong, Nguyen Duc Trung, Hoang Thanh
Hai), Aiko Nakada, Joonathan Edward Marfleet

Vo Trong Nghia: 'Living close to nature'


The architect wants to restore tropical beauty to Vietnam's
fast-growing cities and provide housing for the poor.
Special series12 Aug 2014 14:15 GMT Business & Economy, Vietnam



Vo Trong Nghia is an award-winning Vietnamese architect who is on a mission to transform
Vietnam's attitudes towards architecture and urban spaces through his sustainable and 'green'
designs.

Known as a bamboo building master, Nghia has a penchant for intricate and environmentally-
friendly buildings into which he integrates contemporary design with inexpensive, local
materials and traditional skills.

Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature .... If the current way of thinking
does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles.

Vo Trong Nghia
His aim is to create affordable green architecture for the 21st century, whilst maintaining the
essence of Asian architectural expression.

In the context of Vietnam's rapid population growth and disappearing green spaces, Nghia is
defending the need for open spaces, trying to bring much-needed greenery to the concrete, glass
and steel that dominate the cityscapes.

His buildings incorporate plants and trees, and include design elements such as natural air flow
ventilation in the place of costly and environmentally damaging air conditioning.

He believes that "for a modern architect, the most important mission is to bring back green
spaces to the earth."

Nghia studied architecture at the University of Tokyo before returning to Vietnam to establish
Vo Trong Nghia Architects in 2006. He has received numerous international prizes and honours,
including the World Architecture Festival Award, the ARCASIA Award, the WAN 21 for 21
Award and the FuturArc Green Leadership Award.

In 2012, Nghia was selected as the architect of the year in Vietnam; and in 2014, he has taken
top honours for the Building of the Year Award from the Architects Regional Council Asia
(ARCASIA) and the Architectural Review House Award for his project 'House for Trees'.

"From the beginning I always wanted to follow green architecture, but the founding of my
company was very difficult because my designs were so different to what people were familiar
with ... For a modern architect, the most important mission is to bring back green spaces to the
earth."