Loc (Nathan) Nguyen

Loc (Nathan) Nguyen

San Francisco, CA, US

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Almost Grounded

By using the "Master Sections", almost grounded physically and figuratively dissolves the edge of Ho Chi Minh city with a sectional approach that aims to dynamically connect the city's horizontal and the vertical dimension with mixed programs and multiple ground levels, eventually make it not grounded but almost grounded.

Section and plan are similar in the representational convention, yet section is typically understood as the result of the plan. When applied in city planning, this conventional approach, instead of preventing the city from sprawling, creates vertical gated communities that promotes disconnection to each other and to the ground, which ultimately questions the compatibility of the master plan. This project explores the planning potential of a "Master Section" in response to the city's necessity for vertical expansion, densification, its complex multi-layered urban reality that cannot be resolved by a conventional master plan. 

The site locates in Ho Chi Minh City, a sprawled city, constantly calls for vertical expansion due to its vulnerability to climate change and rapid population growth. This project is a counterproposal to a city's proposed flood wall that fails to connect the protected and flooded region. The project proposes a flexible barrier that utilizes the section to link the two opposite sides and reconnect the vertical communities back to the ground level. 

The core concept is expressed through two master sections, which phases are developed according to the projection of sea-level rise. They work as a framework to plug in multiple programs with a different attitude to the water (above, at or below the changing water level), creating dynamic sectional conditions, together sculpting the new protected barrier's formation. 

Ground Master Section: focuses on ground activation. 

Vertical Master Section: is a vertical densification and relocation process of public programs that will be disappeared in the flooded region.

The mediator that connects these sectional zoning is the shophouses and the multilevel street layers they create. As an existing program, shophouses have already a sectional implication to its spatial organization. It is reinvented to preserve the sectional implication, allowing the units to interlace at multiple levels with spaces between for circulation in a high-density environment. 

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Status: School Project
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, VN