Al Jazeera English, “Rebel Architecture”. Vo Trong Nghia by Nick Ahlmark.

Vo Trong Nghia,



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Al Jazeera English, “Rebel Architecture”. Vo Trong Nghia by Nick Ahlmark.
Al Jazeera English is dedicating a TV documentary series to rebel architecture. The six films in the series profile architects who use their design approach to drive social change. 
Livegreenblog spoke to Nick Ahlmark from Storytime Films, filmmaker of “GREENING THE CITY”.

Vo Trong Nghia is one of the world’s most well-known Vietnamese architects. He is famous for his work incorporating local building materials like bamboo and other native trees and plants into minimalist Japanese style. 

Storytime Films director, Nick Ahlmark, filmmaker of “GREENING THE CITY” has spent long periods of time in this rapidly developing Asian nation, making him somewhat of an expert. He followed Vo Trong Nghia around for two weeks, filming the architect as he went about his work, which included meetings as part of his mission to bring back the green to the city, and the construction of a prototype of a low-cost, environmentally-friendly home.

Nick Ahlmark’s ties with Vietnam and with the Vietnamese people enabled him to make a film that goes beyond simply documenting Vo Trong Nghia’s work. It takes viewers inside the real Vietnam, it puts you in touch with the way people think and feel as they strive for that economic comfort and security which the western world generally takes for granted.

So what makes Vo Trong Nghia, who was born in rural Vietnam and got his degree in Japan such a rebel architect as to be included in this Al Jazeera English documentary series? There is no doubt in Nick Ahlmark’s mind: Vo Trong Nghia provides examples of visually striking architecture with low environmental impact. He introduces trees and plants into his constructions, as well as incorporating local traditions and materials. His buildings gratify our desire for beauty, and they are proof positive that affordable and sustainable development is possible. 

In their simplicity, they also teach us that major change is more achievable when driven by positive example, rather than by imposition. And it’s even more likely when clients, users and designers engage and communicate, another thing that Vo Trong Nghia promotes in Nick Ahlmark’s film “GREENING THE CITY”: “For a modern architect, the most important mission is to bring back green spaces to the earth”.

(Christiane Bürklein)

Al Jazeera English: Rebel Architecture. First film on air on August 18, Guerrilla Architect.
Dedicated website:  http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/rebelarchitecture/
Transmission Date: 8th September
Dir: Nick Ahlmark
Location: Vietnam 
Languages: English/Vietnamese (English)
Other links: http://www.floornature.com/architecture-news/news-water-and-wind-bar-bamboo-and-architecture-5671/, http://www.floornature.com/projects-housing/project-vo-trong-nghia-architects-concrete-home-in-binh-thanh-ho-chi-minh-9653/, http://www.floornature.com/architecture-news/news-bamboo-pavilion-sustainable-architecture-for-shanghai-2010-6420/
Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 Courtesy of Nick Ahlmark, 1, 7 Courtesy of Al Jazeera/Vo Trong Nghia