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Vietnamese-German University

Binh Duong Province, Vietnam 2013-

Machado and Silvetti Associates is the Master Planner for this 50.5 ha campus AND Design Architect for the 327,000 square meters (3,519,800 SF) of built area including laboratories, classrooms, food-courts, sports halls, administrative spaces and dormitories for 12,000 students. This appointment is the result of an international competition held in 2013.

The Vietnamese-German University (VGU) is a unique collaboration between the World Bank, the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training and the German Hessen State Ministry of Science and Art.  The objective of this effort is twofold – 1) develop an internationally accredited higher education program for research and professional advancement for Vietnamese students and 2) build a campus for the new university

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.

The design of the Vietnamese German University (VGU) campus is a combination of a flexible contemporary campus layout and environmentally sensible building concepts.

Machado and Silvetti Associates has designed a campus that looks and works as a well-established, mature, academic institution – a “real campus,” with a difference: It is contemporary, intelligent, sustainable and the state-of-the-art in educational environments. The proposed spatial and formal organization allows for a flexible plan in a progressive campus model such as VGU.

The project is a dense and compact campus with a strong formal presence – a campus that functions like an academic town or “academic citadel” clearly occupying and defining an urban district in a city, or having a commanding presence in a suburban or rural landscape. The design is based on clear internal circulation for vehicles, pedestrians, and mechanical infrastructure, clear zoning, distinctive buildings and an equally clear and recognizable overall image and formal quality. The campus density results in an efficient infrastructural strategy that minimizes distance between supply and demand the lowers initial cost and reduces waste.

The ground level will 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 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.

Avoiding the idea of a “campus as one big building” concept, or a “one campus - one building image” approach we have proposed a collection of campus buildings that are rationally different from each other. The campus zoning strategy is reinforced by a modified language for the building types. The residential and academic buildings maintain similar formal qualities, but vary in size and color.  Unique buildings such as the library, lecture hall, and ceremonial buildings differ from one another and assert themselves in the campus. Each building utilizes passive cooling systems, lowering emission and energy demands resulting in savings for operating and maintenance costs while increasing user well-being.

We present 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.