This Vietnamese University Plants Paradise Where There Could Be a Parking Lot

The new buildings at FTP University in deforested Ho Chi Minh City will be covered with trees and plants.

(Photo: Courtesy

Sep 18, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Verdant lawns and shady groves of trees lining the quad—that kind of landscaping is common on America’s college campuses. But once construction on FTP University’s new campus in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is completed, the city’s 8 million residents might have a tough time figuring out where the buildings start and the greenery ends.

The private, technology-focused institution has commissioned Vo Trong Nghia Architects, a Vietnamese firm that specializes in green architecture, to build a 14-square-mile campus. The plans include terraced buildings tricked out with tree-covered rooftops and balconies, as well as courtyards filled with plants. The images resemble pyramids rising out of the jungle.

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“To engage the city in a different way, FPT University appears as an undulating forested mountain growing out of the city of concrete and brick. This form creates more greenery than is destroyed, counteracting environmental stress and providing the city with a new icon for sustainability,” the architects said in a statement. “Environmental stress is observable through frequent energy shortages, increased pollution, rising temperatures, and reduced greenery,” they continued.

(Photo: Courtesy

Thanks to development and industrial construction, 60 percent of forested areas in Vietnam have been destroyed, according to a 2011 report from the Southeast Asian nation’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Ho Chi Minh City illustrates these issues, having only 0.25 percent of the entire city covered in greenery,” according to the architects’ statement.

“Cities, especially in thriving countries like Vietnam, are growing at such a speed that infrastructure is unable to keep pace,” added the architects. The deforestation-fighting concept certainly resembles a tropical paradise. It’s unclear when the firm expects to complete the project.

(Photo: Courtesy