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Edifice in Ho Chi Minh ‘university village’ wins world architecture award



A building in the ‘village’ of the Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCMC) has been honored at the World Architecture Awards (WAA), given away by the World Architecture Community.

The Student Culture Center, located at the heart of the VNU-HCMC in Thu Duc District, serves indoor and outdoor student activities for all universities in the village, which is home to the campuses of many top higher education institutions.

It won a title in the Realized Award for architecture projects that have actually been built competing for the 35th WAA, according to the awards’ website.

The project was designed in 2014 and put into operation in October 2019 at a cost of VND420 billion (US$18.1 million).

Nguyen Trung Kien is the major architect of the design, along with Japanese architectural chief Shatoshi Shimizu and architects Le Nguyen Huong Giang, Yuriko Nitto, and Jumpei Shirai.

The building was formed in a hexagon shape to allow natural sunlight to reach almost every single functional room inside.

It is also an impressive and unique shape among the square-box high-rise universities and dormitories around.

The building includes one basement and five floors.

The design team tried to minimize power consumption, maximize natural light and wind, and reduce heat absorption to create a green edifice.

With that in mind, the team came up with a green roof that can reduce sun radiation and heat. Rainwater can also be collected to cool the roof.

A big open void was arranged as an interactive space connecting the ground floor with the roof.

The purpose of the void is to let hot air go outside.

Meanwhile, sunlight can come through this void to other parts of the building and even the ground floor.

Inside the building are a cinema, a 900-seat auditorium, large conference rooms, space for club activities, libraries, consulting rooms, traditional spaces, and large living spaces.

Next to it are an outdoor stage, a sports field, and many other versatile spaces to serve the diverse needs of students.

The World Architecture Awards highlights and recognizes remarkable projects that have the potential to inspire exciting questions about contemporary architectural discourse, according to the organizers.

The awards are presented in three categories: projects that were not built (Designed Award), those that have actually been built within the last ten years (Realized Award), and ones designed by students (Student Award).

Realized and Designed categories fall into the Architecture and Interior Design sections.

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Ca Mau’s 150-hectare mangrove forest to be replanted



HSBC Vietnam and WWF-Vietnam are collaborating to regenerate 150 hectares of mangrove forest in Ca Mau Province – PHOTO: COURTESY OF WWF

HCMC – HSBC Vietnam is partnering with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Vietnam to execute a five-year VND10 billion mangrove forest restoration project at the Mui Ca Mau National Park in mainland Vietnam’s southernmost province of Ca Mau that will regenerate 150 hectares of mangrove forest.

This in turn will help address serious socio-environmental challenges such as climate change, water security, water pollution, food security, human health and disaster risk management.

According to HSBC’s recent report “Tackling the next crisis” for Asia, climate change is defined as the crisis of the century and Vietnam is among the countries that can be the most impacted. Deforestation has become a major contributor to climate change.

According to CEO of HSBC Vietnam Tim Evans, the mangrove forest restoration project will contribute to building Vietnam’s resilience against natural disasters and climate change so that families, communities and businesses can thrive in the future.

Within the scope of the project, HSBC Vietnam will work alongside conservationist experts from WWF-Vietnam to develop an innovative program that will nurture the vulnerable ecology of the Mui Ca Mau National Park, the Mekong Delta and beyond.

The 150-hectare mangrove forest will be regenerated by applying newly developed natural mangrove regeneration technology to ensure the highest possibility of tree growth. When it reaches maturity, the forest will be able to sequestrate at least 20,000 tons of carbon per year, reducing carbon dioxide levels.

The mangrove trees will also form a buffer between the land, sea and rivers, helping maintain this patch of the Mekong Delta and shield it from natural disasters. In addition, this new forest area will provide ecosystem services to protect more than 10,000 households from flooding.

Another component of the project will feature an education program on forest protection and biodiversity conservation for some 3,000 households in the core zone of the national park, raising their awareness over conservation issues.


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Indian lecturer’s photo of Vietnam’s solidarity during COVID-19 battle wins two contests



A photo showing Vietnam’s national pride and solidarity during the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic taken by an Indian lecturer living in Hanoi has recently won top prizes at two photography contests.

The photo by Prabu Mohan capturing a building in Hanoi festooned with national flags, a sign of solidarity when Vietnam was combating the pandemic in April, claimed the A award at a photo contest held by the Ministry of Health to celebrate country’s impression during the pandemic.

According to the ministry’s website, the contest was aimed at reflecting pandemic developments as well as the efforts of the people and authorities at all levels to fight against the virus.

It also looked for photos depicting Vietnamese people’s determination to overcome the pandemic.

Within two months of launching, the contest received 1,300 entries from 136 photographers who were Vietnamese living in Vietnam and abroad as well as foreigners.

Prabu Mohan is seen receiving his award at the ceremony of a photo contest held by the Ministry of Health to celebrate Vietnam’s impression during COVID-19 on October 23, 2020 in Hanoi in this photo published on the ministry’s website.

Prabu Mohan is seen receiving his award at a photo contest held by the Ministry of Health to celebrate Vietnam’s impression during COVID-19 battles on October 23, 2020 in Hanoi in this photo published on the ministry’s website.

Earlier, Mohan’s photo also won the first prize in the ‘World in Lockdown’ subject of the Editorial category at the 2020 Aerial Photography Awards.

“One of the ways to show your support in difficult times,” the Indian man captioned the photo now entitled ‘We Are In It Together’ on the 2020 Aerial Photography Awards’ website.

“It is an apartment building near my home,” he added.

“The residents hang the Vietnam national flags in support of those who are fighting against the novel coronavirus in the front lines.”

A screenshot taken from the 2020 Aerial Photography Awards’ website shows Prabu Mohan's photo titled 'We Are in It Together' winning the first prize at the 'World in Lockdown' category

A screenshot taken from the 2020 Aerial Photography Awards’ website shows Prabu Mohan’s photo titled ‘We Are In It Together,’ which won the first prize in the ‘World in Lockdown’ subject.

Talking with Tuoi Tre News on Sunday, Mohan expressed his appreciation toward the awards he had received.

“I’m very happy to hear about both awards in the very same week,” he recalled.

“Also, I’m really glad that I was able to share the picture about Vietnam’s fight against [the novel] coronavirus to a bigger audience by participating in and winning the aerial photo contest under the ‘World in Lockdown’ category.”

In April, Mohan took the photo, cropped it a bit, and posted it on a Facebook group whose thousands of members were expats and locals living in the capital city of Vietnam.

The cropped version of Mohan's awarding photo which goes viral in Vietnam in April

This image shows the cropped version of Prabu Mohan’s photo, which went viral in Vietnam in April 2020.

His post had since been flooded with positive comments from the members before it was shared all over social networks by both expats and Vietnamese netizens.

Mohan also recalled the scene on his Instagram handle @the_prabster.

“It’s an apartment building near my place with the Vietnam flags to show that we are all in it together to win the fight against COVID-19,” he wrote in the description of the Instagram post.

He went on to explain to his followers, “It’s been always like this in Vietnam, whether the country wins a football [game] or [deals with a] difficult time like this.”

Mohan said he is a senior lecturer of mathematics at British University Vietnam, and photography is his hobby.

The COVID-19’s tally of Vietnam on Monday morning stood at 1,168, with 1,057 recoveries and 35 deaths.

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Garbage everywhere in Hanoi as protestors block road to dump



With the road leading to Hanoi’s largest waste treatment plant blocked by protestors demanding compensation and resettlement, garbage is piling up around the city.

On Monday morning Tran Anh Dao, a resident of Kim Nguu Street in downtown Hanoi, woke up with a stink lingering in her house. Outside, on the street, uncollected garbage had piled up. There were used plastic bags and styrofoam boxes with discarded food lying in carts for days.

A pile of trash lies strewn along the pavement beneath a No Garbage sign on Doi Can Street. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

A pile of trash lies strewn along the pavement beneath a “No Garbage” sign on Doi Can Street. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

The 34-year-old’s plight is not unique. Full trash carts and piles of garbage can be seen in many parts of the capital, uncollected for two days as people living around Hanoi’s largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District have been blocking the road leading to it. Their demand is always the same: larger compensation amounts and relocation from near the complex.

Outside the plant, nearly 700 trucks with 7,000 tons of trash are waiting to enter last weekend.

Meanwhile, garbage has been piling up with the attendant odor and blowflies in districts like Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Cau Giay, and Thanh Xuan.

A bad situation worsened on Monday morning as more trash was discarded while a lot of people were traveling for work.

Garbage carts near Nga Tu So Intersection on the afternoon of October 25, 2020. Photo by VnExprress/Tat Dinh.

Garbage carts near Nga Tu So Intersection in Hanoi on the afternoon of October 25, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

With garbage lining the streets and sidewalks, traveling has become a nightmare. On Monday morning streets such as Thanh Thai, Kim Nguu, Dao Tan, Thai Thinh, with carts full of trash next to piles of uncollected trash, were gridlocked.

Some of the carts were covered with plastic sheets to reduce the smell and insects, but others continued to see garbage dumped by households.

“Normally I see traffic jams in the morning, now these piles of garbage are making it worse and give off an awful smell while we are stuck in the traffic,” Le Van Quang, an office worker traveling on Tran Thai Tong Street, lamented.

The stoppage of garbage collection has had an impact on people’s lives as they keep trash at home instead of dumping it.

Many residential buildings have advised tenants to reduce their trash. But understandably no one wants garbage to remain inside their house for too long.

Nguyen Thi Nguyen, 58, who brought two bags of trash and dumped them on a sidewalk of Nguyen Trai Street, said: “Those workers have vanished for two days, and so I kept the garbage at home. But it got too stinky and so I had to put it here.”

This is not only causing a public hygiene issue but also hitting businesses and stores since people are staying away from places with garbage.

“We live here and are afraid of this smell; how can customers enjoy their meals in this?” asked the owner of a pho restaurant on Hoang Van Thai Street which had to be closed early on Sunday afternoon, “after a quiet and stinky morning.”

Not a new problem

Three months ago too people living near the Nam Son waste treatment plant in Soc Son had blocked the road leading to it.

They have been living with the odors, flies and other environmental and hygiene problems as the complex has been treating 6,000 tons of trash daily since opening in 1999.

City authorities announced plans to relocate people living within 500 meters of the plant and paying them compensation, but since the process is slow with little compensation, local residents block the road to the complex to voice their opposition.

People block the road to Hanois largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District on October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

People block the road to Hanoi’s largest waste-treatment plant in Soc Son District on October 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.

Many people in Soc Son’s Hong Ky and Nam Son Communes say they know their blockade would cause suffering to others around the city, but add they have no choice since local authorities are too slow in paying compensation.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, deputy chairman of the Hong Ky Commune People’s Committee, admitted the compensation offered is too little.

When the road was blocked three months ago, the city People’s Committee instructed the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to work with the Soc Son People’s Committee to speed up the compensation payment process and complete it in 2020.

Vuong Dinh Hue, the City Party Committee Secretary, held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the problem where he said it remains unresolved because local authorities are not taking responsibility.

Hue also instructed relevant authorities to persuade people not to block the road to the treatment plant and support them by providing medical insurance and clean water and resolving the compensation and resettlement issues.

The road has been blocked 15 times in the last few years.

While authorities are trying to address the issues, the Urban Environment Company, which is in charge of the environment and collecting and treating garbage in the city, has suggested that people should reduce the garbage they generate and keep it at home until a solution is found.

Dao said: “I have three bags of garbage in my kitchen, with no idea how or when to get rid of them.”

She was leaving for work on Monday morning and hoped she would not see the piles of garbage in front of her house when she returns in the afternoon.


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