Drawing For Progress and Development


In the next decade, Hanoi and its regions are on the way to becoming the next mega-city of Southeast Asia

Despite the economic growth and perspective of future development, the metropolitan city of Hanoi is suffering multiple issued; overpopulation due to urbanization, the disappearance of crafts villages due to de-urbanization, food security due to agricultural land speculation, environmental disaster due to a political lullaby and the lack of trust and human rights as a direct consequence of a political corruption.

The two main objectives of the project are: to preserve a reliable food resource to supply the urban market and keep developing the metropolitan. The project intends to cope with the inevitable growth of the Hanoi metropolis, as well as the preservation of soil and agricultural. From a political point of view, & Lang; Will be a hypothesis of spatial realization of a civil society platform. It consists mainly of three components:

The Armature: The series of interventions follows an arc by connecting the hearts of existing villages. By exploiting empty spaces in the villages, the project intends to reuse them as common places among the villagers. These are shared workshops, storage, collective work spaces, thus it will promote exchanges between these villages in terms of know-how, share of raw materials and strengthen rural identity while developing tourism.

The Archipelago: Underutilized land and land on which the State has carried out mono-functional projects will be redesigned as a mixed zone. This area will combine housing, utilities, shared infrastructure that support the cluster of villages, appropriate existing industrial shelters to transform into agro-food workshops, establish an export centre, a local market, an organic producer waste treatment centre Energy resources, resting places, agricultural, artisanal cooperatives, collective housing and tourist services.

The skeleton is a linear housing blocks which placed in the middle of agricultural lands. These bands of houses link the villages, They will welcome the residential growth of each village as well as the city of Hanoi. This device wants to restore proximity between producers and consumers, a tool to restore the notion of trust, common good.


Who influences you graphically?

My graphics were influenced by the tranh Đông Hồ,  which is the folk woodblock prints painting from an ancient village in the Northern part of Vietnam. I was not only seduced by the aesthetic value, but most importantly admired how it exist as a reflection of the philosophies and humanitarian desires of that time. Elements of everyday life are well integrated in the painting. Therefore, Đông Hồ paintings are a medium to express the social concern of craftsmen through subtle social, political, and cultural criticism. Freedom of expression used to exist in Vietnam.

What is your take on colour? 

One can easily be satisfied by black and white classical, minimalistic style graphics.

However, the mind-set of satisfying and being standard sometimes holds you back. Using colours to make a good composition is much more of a greater challenge. Colours and the interaction between them creates a far richer and more expressive composition when compared to the monochromatic.

Colour itself is a marker of the influences of time and other art movements onto architecture. Peter Cook used only primary colours to make his signature but to also reflect the influence of Pop art into architecture. Architecture shouldn’t and cannot be exist as an isolated phenomenon. Colourful graphics are a type of collective memory of each period.

What defined the language of representation through which you choose to craft and reveal the proposal?

Two factors defined the language of representation.

Firstly, the project itself. Each project should have a different way of interpretation depending on its story telling. I chose hand drawing because it can be rough and delicate at the same time. And this kind of approach fits to the context and ambiance of my project focusing on the modernization process in rural area.

Secondly, my background. I lived for a long time in Vietnam both in within the rural and urban area. These experiences have become the most important substances which formed my way of observing and thinking by drawing.

What is the effect and purpose of the dialogues? 

The dialogues reflect the daily life concern of peoples in Vietnam.

Through the dialogues, readers can understand better how architecture (as physical elements) can affect social lives and interaction within the community. It demonstrated how design has the ability to shape people’s daily activities, their political point of view and bring back social values.

The purpose of the dialogues is to approach the political issues by an ironical way. People can read the project just like they are enjoying a comic book.

If you had one more month to work on the project how would you develop it? Are there any mediums you would want to experiment with?

I will focus more on the intermediate scale between territory and architecture, and make more models. The medium I would want to experiment with is woodblock print.


Trung Hung Mai is an Architect D.E based in Paris. Trung graduated from ENSA Paris Malaquais, departement : AAP ( Art, Architecture and Politics) and has experience of working in international offices across Europe to Asia, from Vietnam, Japan to Germany and France.

Focusing on themes as urbanisation  and vernacular architecture in Vietnam, his works will be exhibited in Hanoi this October, be part of the conference “Regards croisés sur les formes émergentes des densifications urbaines en Asie”