Looking away from the eye-catching checkerboard exterior of the latest design from Vo Trong Nghia Architects is virtually impossible. The Vietnamese firm didn't construct FPT University's newest administrative building simply to mesmerize the viewer. In addition to commanding attention and admiration, the structure features artistic placement of greenery to play up its exterior and is also a certified passive design to contribute to the campus's ongoing sustainability efforts.
Built on the perimeter of Hanoi as a part of the country's largest technology park, the seven-story office building's exterior checkerboard face was achieved via a series of square-shaped recessed balconies, each accentuated with an individual planted tree. Straight sides and angles dominate the interior and exterior, but clearly that's the only thing that can be considered "square" about this building. The geometric theme covers the interior walls in the form of painted red and black square shapes of varying sizes that accentuate the wide glass windows and doors that lead out to the respective balconies.
The designers incorporated precise measures in order to fully flesh out the passive design elements down to the manner in which the building is situated to its construction process, its green, tree-dotted façade and the generous terrace roof space.
"The building acts as a gateway to the campus and the green facade clearly dictates the future direction of the campus," Vo Trong Nghia told Dezeen.
A "concrete framework and prefabricated facade modules" allowed builders to reduce waste and conserve time during construction; the passive design also provides a generated back-up power source as a remedy for the area's frequent blackouts. Meanwhile, the breeze off a nearby lake provides natural ventilation, and the trees on the balconies help to block out excessive sunlight and cool the interior.
"This connection helps raise awareness of the environment through the constant reference and experience of the benefits of a sustainable passively designed building," the architects added.