LAVA, with partner ASPECT Studio, won the international competition to design the 16 hectare Central Park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Gently elevated curving pedestrian walkways are patterned on the 19th century railway tracks built by the French. Sunken gardens provide performance and play spaces and connect to an underground shopping area linking to the new metro station. Artificial trees provide shelter and harvest water and energy.
The site has always been about transportation. It had the first train station in south east Asia. The design references both this history and future mobility, with Vietnam’s first metro station opened underneath. Known locally as ‘September 23 Park’ it also hosts the important annual spring festival.
The metaphoric ‘railway lines’ remind visitors of the old urban fabric, provide directional paths, maximise the park's existing greenery, increase access to diverse functional areas and delineate a mix of active and passive spaces. They end with a dramatically twisting steel sculpture that further memorialises the transport history.
Artificial plants will complement the existing landscape. ‘Water purification’ trees collect rainwater to be recycled and used for watering, drinking fountains and fire hydrants. ‘Ventilation trees’ reduce heat and create fresh air. ‘Solar trees’ feature solar panels angled to optimise radiation and store power, and info screens, charging docks, and WIFI routers.
LAVA won Gold in the 2019 Sydney and NY Design Awards; won "Future Project of the Year" in the Ashui Awards Vietnam in 2019; and The 2020 GOV Design Awards, Gold for this visionary project.