Supertrees Will Generate Electricity and Water For Ho Chi Minh City’s New Central Park
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Supertrees Will Generate Electricity and Water For Ho Chi Minh City’s New Central Park

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By Duncan Nielsen
The new park will serve as a sustainable, state-of-the-art community hub with a metro station, underground shopping mall, and performance and play spaces.

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.

The central park will be home to Ho Chi Minh's first metro station—Ben Thanh Metro Station—that will plug travelers directly into its myriad offerings: a shopping mall, play spaces, performance pavilions, and outdoor art, among others. 

The central park will be home to Ho Chi Minh's first metro station—Ben Thanh Metro Station—that will plug travelers directly into its myriad offerings: a shopping mall, play spaces, performance pavilions, and outdoor art, among others. 

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Purifying trees will reduce heat and provide fresh air amidst the multi-use pavilions.

Purifying trees will reduce heat and provide fresh air amidst the multi-use pavilions.

Orange pathways are an homage to 19th-century railway tracks built by the French. Solar trees angle towards the sun, soaking its rays and providing power and WIFI to park-goers. 

Orange pathways are an homage to 19th-century railway tracks built by the French. Solar trees angle towards the sun, soaking its rays and providing power and WIFI to park-goers. 

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."

At night, the rectangular park is a neon rainbow of color. 

At night, the rectangular park is a neon rainbow of color. 

Water purification trees act like catchment systems, recycling H2O for drinking fountains and fire hydrants in the park. 

Water purification trees act like catchment systems, recycling H2O for drinking fountains and fire hydrants in the park. 

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.