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Vietnamese-German University,
Project Story

Machado Silvetti   February 2021

Aerial Rendering


ocated in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, this entirely new campus includes 3.5 Million square feet of facilities for all of the programs of a twenty-first century STEM university: laboratories, classrooms, food-courts, sports halls, administrative spaces, and dormitories for 12,000 students.

Vietnamese-German University (VGU) was created from a unique collaboration between the World Bank, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, and the German Hessen State Ministry of Science and Art. The objective of the collaboration was two fold - 1) to develop an internationally accredited higher education program for research and professional advancement for Vietnamese students, particular in the STEM disciplines; and 2) to build a new model campus in Vietnam for this purpose. Through an international design competition, Machado Silvetti was selected to provide the Master Plan and Full Architectural Services for the entire campus.

We designed a campus that seeks to lovingly linger in the collective mind of the community as an oasis of learning, a memorable and unique campus, an intelligent campus where the most advanced knowledge is imparted in the most appropriate and pleasurable of settings, a campus to which all will enjoy returning on a lifetime basis, from their formative years onward.

Canopy Rendering

The site began as 50 hectares of open, undeveloped sub-urban field with an important regional storm water drainage running through its center. Located in the middle of a burgeoning development 50km north of Ho Chih Minh City, the site is bordered on three sides by major regional arteries bringing eight lanes of traffic to the front door of the campus.

Site Mapping
Site photos of existing conditions
Academic Village

The objective of this internationally collaborative effort is to develop an internationally accredited higher education program for research and professional advancement for Vietnamese students and to build a new-model campus for the country. The organization and operation model of VGU is new and experimental, creating motivation to promote the renovation of Vietnam’s higher education system by providing a research based university setting modeled on international standards. The University offers advanced undergraduate and post-graduate programs, capitalizing on the expertise of German academic partners and the demands of Vietnam’s unique science, technology and socio-economic challenges.

Vietnam + Germany

The design VGU's campus is a combination of flexible and contemporary approach to planning and design, infused with environmentally sensible and locally celebrated concepts. The project is a dense and compact campus with a strong formal presence - a campus that function like a defined academic town. The design in based on clear internal circulation for vehicles, pedestrians, and mechanical infrastructure. The campus density results in an efficient infrastructural strategy that minimizes distance between supply and demand and lowers initial cost while reducing waste.

Clockwise from top left: Sports Hall, Administrative Building, Library, Dormitory Clusters

Clear zoning supports distinctive buildings, avoiding recent design trends where a campus looks like a single big building or where buildings of different uses all look the same. This project is a collection of campus buildings that are rationally different from each other. Repeating structures like labs and dorms are variations on a theme, while unique programs like library, food court, and ceremony hall assert themselves as distinct within the campus.

Masterplan Concept
Continuous Garden Landscape and Canopy

The ground level is designed to be a continuous garden; free, accessible and traversable in all directions, and as transparent as possible. Conceived as a porous 4.25 meter tall layer of campus social space, and occupied only by vertical circulation and island spaces dedicated exclusively to communal activities, this space is punctuated by the columns of the buildings above and is generously furnished with built-in garden furniture.

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Campus Roof Plan & Ground Floor Plan
Dormitory Courtyard Garden Landscape
Academic Couryard
Zoning + Infrastructure

Located in the emerging Binh Duong Province 50km north of Ho Chih Minh City, the site was difficult to access by public transportation. The construction of the campus and the surrounding areas is projected to bring over 500,000 residents to the area over the next 20 years. Public transportation among the province and to important regional urban centers will exponentially increase. The campus plan foresees this condition and provide substantial bus-lay by lanes and large vehicle access. Ninety-five percent of students will live on the campus and most will own motorcycles for personal mobility to and from the campus. Because the campus is meant to be vehicle free, substantial motorcycle parking is located at the campus edge, easily accessed through the main gates.

Spatial Diagrams
Circulation Diagrams
Tennis Courts & Lecture Hall

The sustainability vision is to provide a thermally comfortable, site sensitive, low energy and water design that responds to the environmental conditions and enhances the site. Optimizing passive design and enhancing biodiversity is fundamental to this end as it impacts on energy demand, stormwater generation, microclimate and comfort. While the climate presents challenges to providing comfort with high air temperatures and humidity levels, it also presents numerous opportunities. Most importantly, the consistent temperatures throughout the year make designing spaces for year-round natural ventilation viable as well as increasing the number of spaces that are outdoor and semi-outdoor. However, it then becomes critical to make these spaces comfortable to occupants.

Of the variables that contribute to comfort, the most important variables for this project and climate are air movement (wind), solar radiation and mean radiant temperature. Providing shade and breezes enables higher temperatures and humidity levels to be experienced while remaining comfortable in spaces. Additionally, minimizing the radiant temperatures (i.e. heat island effects) further contributes to comfortable outdoor and semi-outdoor spaces.

Sustainable Campus Design
Sports Hall Interior
Food Court
Academic Cluster
Field of Dreams

Project Credits

Owner: Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam (MOET)
General Design Planner, Lead Architect, Architect of Record: Machado Silvetti
Local Architect/Urban Designer: Hoang Giang Construction Consultant Co., LTD (HGCC)
Landscape Architect: Grant Associates
Local Landscape Architect: MCA Landscape Design Corporation
Engineering (Structure, MEP, Lighting, Acoustics, Civil): ARUP North America
Local MEP/FP/C/S Consultant: National General Construction Consulting Joint Stock Company (NAGECCO)
Contractor: Turner Construction Company
*All drawings and renderings are attributable to Machado Silvetti

Read more related content:
Vietnamese-German University
VGU Construction Update, Nearing Completion
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