STATUS // COMPLETED 2013
CLIENT// SAPPHIRE LTD
LOCATION // HO CHI MINH, VIETNAM
The client for this office building was an Australian developer who had moved to Vietnam. It was a prime site opposite the Presidential Palace Park and on a main road. The client wanted something that “punched above its weight” and took full advantage of the site. At 14,000 square metres with 14 floors it is not a big building, but the aim was nonetheless to provide a Grade A commercial development.
Formally, the idea was to design an envelope which did not consist of a traditional curtain wall box, but was a layered façade using sunshading and screen walls. Strategically, the aim was to create a building which offered a balance between work, life and the environment.
Regulations required a nine metre setback at the 9th floor, so the challenge was to find an appropriately logical form. Accordingly, the building was broken down into two volumes. One, called the Cube, occupies the prime position at the front of the site looking out to the park. The second volume, the Wrap, embraces the Cube. The 2 screening systems were made possible as a result of the cost-savings achieved with the base building, where construction was simplified down to masonry with paint and simple horizontal strip windows.
The Cube is clad in horizontal aerofoil extrusions of 220mm, while the Wrap is a screen wall of panels perforated randomly to enhance through-visibility. Some of the panels are open to give the wall texture, and are uplit at night to give the façade atmosphere. The main objective was to break down the daylight to minimise heat gain, while still maintaining acceptable light levels for computer work.
The façade serves not only an environmental function, but also as a more sophisticated reading of form. This is because it presents itself not as a singular object (that is, a glass box), but offers a more complex layered reading, changing constantly, depending on light conditions and the angle of viewing.
This project has been awarded a LEED Gold Certification in 2012. It’s the only project in Ho Chi Minh City to have garnered this prestigious green award.