Located in North of Vietnam, Son La province, the restaurant in Son La Complex in one of the most potential economic areas of Son La province, designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, required meeting demand for function, local culture and unique architecture as well. And the investor needed an economical project, so the architects had to find a solution of structure and construction materials to decrease construction cost for this project.
The restaurant is designed with main natural local materials such as stone, bamboo, “vot” to 8 separate blocks with different height with open view to natural garden restaurant, to meet demand to be cool in summer but warm in winter. The common space and the private spaces are connected with each other by large thatched roof “vot” with the main “luong” structure. The 80-10mm diameter “luong” are tightening as column and the main beams are composed of 5 interlocking bamboos.
“Son La province is an ethnic cultural area with abundant nature of untouched forests and beautiful mountain landscapes. Even with its strong cultural and natural beauty, there was no little development or accommodation for tourists to recognize the city as a destination. Son La restaurant which has a capacity of 750 guests is the first facility of a new hotel complex located near by the city center to expose this potential.
Due to difficult terrain, Son La is only accessible from Hanoi by a 7 hour car trip along precarious cliff roads. The accessibility makes transportation of building materials and work forces difficult. Thus, the project maximized use of local resources including workers and affordable local materials. With this situation, local bamboo and stonework was selected to be the main materials of the building.
To adopt to the tropical monsoon climate which is in the wet season is hot with high humidity and strong rains and a more temperate but still hot dry season, the building is composed by 8 separate stone buildings and a open air bamboo dining hall to supply both contained air-conditioned rooms and comfortable exterior dining. The stone buildings provide multiple entrances to the dining hall and multiple framed views out from the external dining area. The various height of the buildings and trees on the roof provide a vertical landscaped view from the outside. The locally sourced stone walls produced 10km from the site, provide texture and connect with the mountains around.
The roof structure for the dining hall is made by local bamboo called “Luong” that grows to 8m in height. 96 bamboo column units composed of 4 bamboos together induce the vertical expression of the bamboo structure like bamboo forest. 80-100mm diameter bamboos are assembled by bamboo dowel nails and rope after they are treated by a traditional method in Vietnam, that involves soaking in mud and then smoked“, say the architects.
Do note this: the project was built on a modest rate of approximately 600USD/m2!
About the architects: Founded in 2006, Vo Trong Nghia Architects is a leading architectural practice in Vietnam with offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. More than 40 international architects, engineers and staff work closely on cultural, residential and commercial projects worldwide. By experimenting with light, wind and water, and by using natural and local materials, Vo Trong Nghia Architects employ a contemporary design vocabulary to explore new ways to create green architecture for the 21st century, whilst maintaining the essence of Asian architectural expression.