Vietnam is developing green architecture to curb environmental pollution and offer sustainable living conditions, said Nguyen Tan Van, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Architects (VAA), at a recent seminar in Hanoi.

Seven Vietnamese architects shared their experiences in building green projects at the Apr.21 seminar entitled Green architecture from building reality in Vietnam . Experts agreed that green architecture is indispensable if Vietnam is to have a sustainable environment and development.

The VAA gave out five standards for assessing a green project: A sustainable and friendly location; healthy living; efficient use of natural resources, materials and energy; modern architecture while keeping in harmony with local landscapes; having a national identity.

Van said the most important aspect of sustainable architecture in Vietnam is that each region must have its own identity, suiting economic and natural conditions, social characteristics and cultural and historical traditions.

He said green architecture is not only a trend for rich countries.

"Developing countries like us can also apply green architecture to improve the life of our country's inhabitants, to prevent the destruction of the environment. In reality, green architecture has developed for a long time in many countries and has positive effects on the Earth," Van said.

Architect Dao Ngoc Thanh said green architecture has become a trend for urban development in the country over the past 10 years. The trend of developing more energy-saving buildings is emerging in major cities such as Hanoi and HCM City .

However, green building construction may push investment costs two or three time higher than those applying under normal designs, he said, causing people to hesitate to invest in green structures.

Meanwhile, the country is home to several important green constructions that have benefited inhabitants. The VAA recognised outstanding green architecture in its recent award night. Those recognised include M.House ( Hue ), Bamboo Wing (Vinh Phuc), Phan Chu Trinh secondary school (Binh Duong), Lam Cafe (Nha Trang), Suoi Re Village communal house (Hoa Binh), Eco Park (Hung Yen), Ana Mandaras Villas Da Lat Resort&Spa (Da Lat), Mango Bay Resort (Phu Quoc), Vincom Village ( Hanoi ), I-Resort (Nha Trang).

Architect Hoang Thuc Hao's Suoi Re Village communal house in Hoa Binh is the model of a green project. The house is built from the materials found on the site, such as rammed earth and bamboo. The houses comprises a teaching area, library and meetings areas and has been in use for six months.

Architect Vo Trong Nghia's restaurant Bamboo Wing (located in Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, Vinh Phuc province) showcased a correlation between modern architecture and nature, with heavy use of bamboo and wood. Local and traditional architectural features create an escape from the chaotic surrounding city.

Architect Nguyen Thu Phong, manager of the Club of Vietnamese Young Architects says he hopes that in the next 5-10 years, many more young Vietnamese architects will be interested in green architecture.

"It will have positive effect on the whole society", he says.-VNA