Construction starts next year for Ho Chi Minh City’s 40-acre central park that is setting a new standard for public works projects in Vietnam and the world over. The earth-friendly redesign features sweeping, elevated walkways that weave between lush, green plots of organic greenery and artificial trees. There will also be outdoor recreation areas that include a skate park and sunken pavilions for exhibitions. It’s a sustainable, multi-use garden powered, in part, by its own trees.
The artificial plants will pull double duty as essential infrastructure and visual splendor. Neon water purification trees will harvest rainwater for drinking fountains and fire hydrants, while ventilation trees will reduce heat and create fresh air. Smartphone owners will be able to make use of the white-stemmed solar trees, which can charge mobile devices and provide WIFI.
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The park will be home to Ben Thanh Metro Station—Vietnam’s first—making it a transportation portal for the city. Pathways that guide visitors through the park are a metaphor for its transportation history, but also point to the future of mobility. "The site has always been about transportation," says Chris Bosse, director of LAVA, who worked with ASPECT Studios to win an international competition for the park’s redesign. "It was the first train station in Southeast Asia, it’s currently a bus terminal, and in the near future it will be Vietnam’s first metro station."
ASPECT Studio director Steven Buckle wants the multi-use space to serve a wide demographic while paying respect to the city’s past and future: "Visioned as a place for people, the design was formulated with a focus on the diversity of experiences needed to create a world class central park," he says. "...one that responds to its context, climate, and community."
If the designers stay the course, Ho Chi Minh City will be cutting the ribbon in just three years. LAVA’s in-town offices will oversee development and construction in so much time.