Dang Huu Trong, Winner, Interior Design category, 2018/19 AYDA
The title of my entry has the word Culturom, which is derived from “culture” and “rom” – the latter is a local Vietnamese material originating from rice plants. The idea for hand perspective of ethnic minorities facing obstacles in accessing learning, as they live in small groups scattered across a large area. This was something I witnessed when I visited a popular mountainous area, Sa Pa, in Vietnam, where schools are more than 10km from where the rural children live.
This inspired me to create structures for uneven terrain. My design incorporates sustainable elements, such as using bamboo as construction material. In addition, I intend to leverage on natural light and wind for energy to power the houses, thereby reducing the consumption energy. This design concept can be easily adapted for uneven terrain in other countries, especially in Asia where many ethnic minority groups live in mountainous areas.
IMPROVING LIVES THROUGH DESIGN
I am passionate about helping the ethnic minorities in Vietnam, and I have conducted extensive research, as well as spent time understanding their living conditions. I hope to be able to create comfortable spaces for the people living in mountainous regions, by making use of local and natural materials, which are sustainable and pose minimal disruption to the lives of the local people.
THE ROLE OF THE “HAPPINESS ARCHITECT”
I greatly admire Hoang Thuc Hao, a designer, architect and teacher. His works are associated with social and community factors arising from his point of view, “for humanity’s happiness”. He brings his architectural thinking to remote areas and rough terrain to help people improve their lives. He is often referred to as the “Happiness Architect” and my winning work, Culturom, is partly influenced by him.
OF WINNING THE COMPETITION AND A STINT AT THE HARVARD UNIVERSITY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF DESIGN
I feel that I have really grown and benefitted from the programme and I am excited learning opportunity at Harvard to expand my expertise and build my future career. I want to make full use of the time there to gain exposure to the most quintessential aspects of design and innovative thinking, as well as acquire professional skills that we may have yet to achieve in Vietnam.