| 18 : 00 – 15 January 2018 |
An urban library, ‘VAC’ in Hanoi showcases traditional Vietnamese horticulture, aquaculture & animal husbandry as an integrated system.
Designed by Farming Architects, it is an open library for children apart from being a system utilizing available energy and resources. Due to rising food contamination, city people are planting vegetables in small space or in boxes within balcony space. The disorderly way of planting without considering architectural beauty came to the notice of the architects. Hence they designed this open library as an interaction and knowledge hub while combining traditional rural techniques.
Seating area, book shelves and play area
Made from wooden frames, this sustainable system combines the use of vegetables plants, water and rearing animals in a single ecosystem. The flexible arrangement enables book shelves for children to read, to play together and watch the ecological model unfold its working system.
From the Architects –
VAC-Library – A special project that carries the traditional Vietnamese horticulture, aquaculture & animal husbandry, from rural to urban areas.
Overall view of the VAC library
VAC is the abbreviation of the Vietnamese words Vườn (Garden), Ao (Pond), Chuồng (Cage) – an integrated production systems in the rural areas comprising three components: horticulture, aquaculture & animal husbandry. VAC systems, therefore, effectively use all the available energy from land, air, water and solar energy resources. It also effectively uses recycled generating products and waste.
Concept drawing explaining VAC library
In present-day Hanoi, people tend to create small landmarks in their homes, including placement of fish ponds, which may be small aquariums or Koi ponds with higher investment. In addition, the situation of vegetable contaminants in the city also causes the desire to plant fresh vegetables right in resident homes became imperative. Nowadays, many families organize planting vegetable at home. But its done via spontaneous methods, without a strategic planning or architectural aesthetics. These are vegetable foam boxes that are placed in a narrow space in the house, or in garden area of balcony and top.
Plan, elevation and section – VAC library
Urban VAC model proposed by Farming Architects –
Farming Architects is re-designing the VAC system to be implemented in an urban area. The aim is not only to produce an effective use of natural resources but also favorite experimentation. This can be done in using different types of plants and animals in urban environment.
Fresh produce !!
How does VAC-Library work?
The core feature for the design of VAC is the Aquaponics. It is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Aquaponics uses circulating water from fish pond to provide nutrients to plants. Nitrite / nitrite bacterium will transfer the waste from the aquarium into a suitable nutrient-rich crop for plants.
Vegetable boxes within the frames
Schematic diagram explaining the system
Water is also purified by plants and supplied to the aquarium. The system is designed with energy conservation in mind, using renewable energy (by transferring solar energy). Also there are reduced number of pumps by letting the water flow downwards naturally as much as possible. Beside, electricity for lighting and pumps are also provided – saved from solar panels on roof.
Flexible wooden framework
Structural language –
VAC Library uses a language deriving from the use wooden frames. This technical form helps to create a flexible and adaptable structure. This also works as spatial organization, division to be different function areas.
VAC library lit up at night
The VAC Library is also geared towards an open library space for children. Children in the area and elsewhere can come here to play together, read books, and learn about this ecological model visually at the building. The children will know that Koi fish is not only pets to watch, but also know how their waste will be carried on the vegetable planters.
Children playing in the fish pond a part of the VAC library
Besides they will see how the water is supplied to the vegetables and then filtered water goes back to the pond. The chickens which are raised in that cage beside will lay eggs and serve for meals, their excrement is also good for gardening.
Animal husbandry !!!
Project details –
Project Name – VAC Library
Architect Firm – Farming Architects
Project location – An Hung New Urban area, Duong Noi, Ha Dong, Hanoi, Vietnam
Lead Architect – Viet Dung An
Photography Credits – © Thai Thach, © Viet Dung An
Completion year – 2018
Area – 55 m2