Ho Chi Minh City, VN


Happiness City

Happiness City is a mixed-use development consisting of shop houses, retail shopping arcade, wedding hall, and urban retreat resort. All these uses are set within a series of landscaped courts and gardens. At ground level the site is arranged in blocks of 4 storey shop houses set around a pedestrianised central courtyard. Above the shop houses a new ground level is established for the shopping arcade. Escalators and lifts connect the shopping arcade to the ground level. Here a series of internal GREEN courts and external terraces and activities provide a rooftop walk connecting the different retail units. At one end of the complex a 14 storey apartment building sits above the arcade overlooking the river.
Inverted Programming
The brief for the project called for 35,000m2 of retail shopping as well as an additional 20,000m2 for 148 fourstorey shophouses. In fact, the client had presold over 100 shophouses without any architectural plans and insisted that this part of the program be on ground level. Due to the restricted site area this
necessitated placing the retail shopping center of the fourth floor on top of the shop houses. Sectional and Structural Relationships An important part of the design was resolving the sectional and structural
relationships between the shophouses and the retail shopping mall. The shophouses, as small functional
structures, are short span structures with a Cambodia standard 2.90m floor to floor height. The retail shopping mall is based on a large span structure with a 4.50m floor to floor height. To complicate matters further the shophouses are based on an orthogonal grid while the retail shopping center is more curvilinear in (it’s) plan form(s).
Landscape Distribution
The typical Asian shophouse features a commercial shop on the ground floor and living quarters for the family above. The commercial value earned from the sales of these units was significant and the client was interested in having as many of these units as possible. The design opportunity was to find a way
to make a shopping arcade that starts on the fourth floor function successfully. Our solution was based on a series of ‘ground’ floors created by garden spaces. The traditional ground floor is organized around a series of interior shopping streets and a large central garden/event space. The second ground, on the fourth floor, is defined by a series of gardens created in the residual spaces left open as the curvilinear form of the arcade meanders back and forth across the top of the shophouses. A third ground is established for the urban resort which is placed on top of the shopping arcade.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Kingdom of Cambodia