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Vo Trong Nghia creates Nocenco cafe with swirling bamboo ceiling

​This renovation project includes a café on the last floor and the roof top of a 7th floor middle-rise concrete building located in the city center of Vinh city in the middle north of Vietnam.

Architects: Vo Trong Nghia

Photographs: Trieu Chien

From these levels one has a great view over the surrounding low-rise houses, towards the river, magnificent forest scape and various aged buildings. The buildings in this area were damaged by the Vietnam War. Most of them were also renovated with colonial style façades inspired by European designs.

Nowadays, regardless of their height, some of the buildings still imitated this kind of the façade style. The client required not to change the envelope of the existing building, but create a unique and attractive addition that change this building into an icon of the city.

The challenge was to create an impact on the building by inserting a new structure with unique and local material. After studying several local materials such as brick, stone, etc the architects chose bamboo to work with. Through their experience, they know bamboo is easily to access in this tropical climate which reduces construction time and budget.

The essence of using bamboo in this project is “lightness”. As bamboo which can be lifted up by a few workers and easily transport to the highest floor by a crane. In addition, it is possible to install the bamboo structure without any additional structural support.

For the 7F (top floor), the architects covered the existing concrete structure with bamboo material, it converted into an element that creates spatial qualities. Because the ceiling is covered with bamboo as well, pedestrians in the city can recognize the space from the street. There are 10 bamboo columns to hide the existing structure and 4 additional columns. These columns elegantly divide the space into different private areas. The cave-like space can never be experienced in its totality, but every place has a view to the surrounding city.

The enormous dome structure on the roof, which can be recognized from any place in the city, a roof top club is created as a gathering space for all the inhabitants of Vinh city. The dome and rectangular volumes on the rooftop fit in the existing L-shaped space. The rectangular volumes generate a framed view on the historical stadium and the beautiful cityscape. Moreover, it connects 2 vault bamboo structures, that open up to the cityscape.

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