Australian design team Lava and Aspect Studios have won an international competition to design a new high-tech, sustainable park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The proposal for the 16-hectare site is a park that references the 19th century French railway tracks that were once part of the site, while also celebrating the addition of a future mobility system.

“The site has always been about transportation. It was the first train station in South East Asia, it’s currently a bus terminal and in the near future it will be Vietnam’s first metro station,” says Chris Bosse, director of Lava.

“Our design references this history and future mobility. Known locally as ‘September 23 Park’ it also hosts the important annual spring festival.”

According to the architects, the design optimises people’s experience by connecting with the natural environment. It will create a retreat from a sub-tropical and busy urban environment and aims to set a precedent for future sustainable development.

A key design element is the primary pedestrian and activity network, which is gently elevated through walkways that follow the curves of the site’s former railway, reminiscent of its former urban fabric. This creates a mixture of active and passive spaces that help to create a highly connected and permeable park space while maximising retention and minimising impact of the site’s existing mature trees. The walkways end with a dramatically twisting steel sculpture that further memorialises the site’s infrastructure history.

Sustainability has also been integrated throughout the design, including features such as:

  • ‘Water purification’ trees that collect rainwater to be recycled and used for watering, drinking fountains and fire hydrants.
  • ‘Ventilation trees’ that provide passive cooling, encourage natural ventilation, reduce heat and create fresh air.
  • ‘Solar trees’ that harvest energy through photovoltaic cells and are angled to optimise radiation and electricity generation. They power the site’s digital information screens, charging docks and Wi-Fi routers.

Image credit: Aspect Studios