Especially in times of economic crisis, the key to progress is innovation. Similarly to how some internet companies survived the crash in 2000, companies focused on environmental sustainability will emerge from today’s the current recession. Making operations more sustainable and developing ‘green’ products is often seen by CEOs (especially in North America and Europe) as a tradeoff for profit. The best metaphor for this is comparing the fight to save the planet to a three-legged race. Without moving forward together, we trip or slow down to a halt. Governments, activists and corporations need to become one entity.
Role model architect, Vo Trong Nghia has captured the essence of Vietnamese history into a paradise for teaching environmental sustainability to a new generation. Vietnam, known for its deep agricultural landscape of rice and coffee crops has fallen victim to rapid urbanization. Losing their roots a bit in from a change in economic focus, Nghia had found his inspiration for his award winning architectural accomplishment.
The firm was able to build the pretzel-shaped school with a capacity to teach 500 students. Farming Kindergarten is located right beside a shoe factory in the (sometimes dangerous) monsoon zone of Dong Nai in Vietnam. It’s meant to educate the entirety of the shoe factory employees’ children on building sustainable habits. The sub-$2 million dollar budget is allocated to a wide array of sustainable features — the list is extensive and jaw-dropping!
The vegetable garden spanning the entire roof of the school teaches the children how to grow their own food and doubles as insulation for the building. The upper levels of the school serve as the place where these (now fortunate) children will learn the importance of agriculture while the lower levels consist of your typical classrooms.
Solar-powered energy is no surprise here, considering the radical approach to sustainable design. This energy is used to heat the building’s water and also takes advantage of recycled water waste from the nearby factory to irrigate the entire garden and grassed areas. Surrounding the outer walls are windows that bring in natural sunlight and maintain air flow for the whole facility.
“As a result, the Kindergarten is operated without air conditioning int he classrooms, despite being located in a harsh tropical climate,”
Contrasting the buildings in the immediate vicinity of the school and pollution produced, Vo Trong Nghia has designed 3 playgrounds that are enclosed and covered in grass to promote safe play.
All of the school’s aspects of environmental sustainability are openly visible to students and taught to them in the school’s curriculum!