Being a traditionally agricultural country, Vietnam has been facing many challenges on the road towards becoming an industrial economy during the recent years. As a result of this economic shift paired with rapid urbanization, the number of green areas in the country has significantly decreased, breaking people’s connection to nature.
Now, Vietnamese architects have come up with an amazing way to restore this connection and promote sustainable lifestyles among the young generations. Vo Trong Nghia’s project called Farming Kindergarten is a preschool with a vegetable garden on its roof and three courtyard playgrounds covered in grass. All these stunning green facilities are aimed to teach students both theoretical and practical aspects of sustainability – during special classes, children practice gardening and learn about environmentally friendly living.
Located in the tropical region Dong nai in southeastern Vietnam, the 3800-square-meter school currently has 500 students, most of who come from the families of workers employed at the nearby shoe factory.
The roof of the pretzel-shaped building lowers towards the courtyard, which allows kids to easily access the upper level of the school and the rooftop garden, where they have the opportunity to play safely outdoors and learn how to grow their own food. As a result, the students not only study environmental issues but also learn practical skills and sustainable habits they can use in everyday life.
The school was built using cheap local materials, such as concrete and tiles, and is equipped with solar panels and waste water recycling systems, aimed not only to reduce costs of school maintenance but also demonstrate the significance and the benefits of environmental sustainability in practice. Recycled water is used to irrigate the school’s gardens and grassy areas.
At the same time, the building has no air-conditioning system even though the school is located in the tropics. Instead, the innovative design of the construction with windows on both sides allows for air flow and natural lighting. In addition, the rooftop garden provides great insulation for the school building.
Farming Kindergarten is certainly an example that should be followed by other countries. Bringing children closer to nature and teaching sustainable habits in schools could be a great way to create a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who care about the planet and take responsibilities for their actions and lifestyles. This is what our world desperately needs.
Image Credit: Hiroyuki Oki / Vo Trong Nghia Architects