My fascination with the city of Saigon is the coexistence of so many contrasts: the old and the new, the rich and the poor, the improvised and the envisioned.
One is the amazing culture of tiny lanes (= Hẻm) which spatialise a rich sociable life and an intense use of the urban space. The other is the explosion of high-rise buildings which have grown like mushrooms from an uncoordinated sea of narrow tube houses, and new highways cutting through these traditional and self-grown districts.
There is a pressing need to reform the urban typologies for living, knowledge sharing, and profit making of the place that embrace the existing local culture in order to de-gentrify Saigon as it is today.
What kind of intervention can be developed in order to generate more community and social activities into the hem fabric?
The thesis project tries to highlight specific activities in a hem and repeat and re-introduce them through architecture – which will otherwise be more and more lost and forgotten.