Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners has won the ideas competition HISTORICAL HANOI 2013 for the urban redevelopment of the old district of Hoan Kiem in Hanoi. The initiative and its results are evidence of a desire to redevelop the historical centre and its memory through a comparison with Western design culture, in contrast with the tendency towards tabula rasa and the uncontrolled urban development seen in most cities of Southeast Asia. The winning project focuses on the issue of pedestrianization and urban bioclimatic design, namely energy efficiency and urban and social sustainability. This latter approach is one that Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners has paid great attention to right from the start of the established collaboration with Renzo Piano, and it is also suitable for experimentation in the historical Italian cities.
HISTORICAL HANOI 2013. The competition (www.historical-hanoi2013.com), promoted as part of the memorandum of understanding between the Architects of Vietnam and the Order of Architects, Planners, Landscapers and Conservationists of the Province of Genoa, was set up with the goal of redeveloping the district of Hoan Kiem, the historical heart of the ancient market town dating back to the 11th century, negatively impacted today by a state chaos and deterioration. Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners's proposal, designed with the technical input of the Vietnamese firm Nguyen Dinh Thanh and winner among 52 entries, aims to reorganize the so-called “36 Streets of Trades” describing the conditions for a new functional structure capable of enhancing the urban hinge role of the area between the historical centre and the French quarter. The awards ceremony took place on 4 November in the presence of Nguyen Van Hai, director of Town Planning Services of Hanoi, Nguyen Tan Van, chairman of the Association of Architects of Vietnam, Lorenzo Angeloni, Ambassador of Italy to Hanoi, and Giorgio Parodi, formerly Chairman of the Order of Architects, Planners, Landscapers and Conservationists of the Province of Genoa. The entire initiative was conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture of Hanoi and the People's Committee of Hanoi, with the support of the National Council of Architects, Planners, Landscapers and Conservationists, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy.
Pedestrianization and bioclimatics. The project revises the organization of the urban fabric between Hoan Kiem lake, Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc square and the streets Dinh Tien Hoang and Hang Dao, focusing on two main themes: pedestrianization and urban bioclimatic design, namely energy efficiency and urban and social sustainability. “The choice to eliminate traffic was driven by the desire to redevelop the urban environment also from an energy point of view and the idea to establish in the heart of Hanoi an unexpected and highly valued ‘island of silence’, at the centre of which we have planned a square combining stone, water and light”, explains Massimo Alvisi. The new square, the physical and visual centrepiece of the project, has been designed as a place for socializing: within it a marble-covered platform half a metre high offers space for relaxing and observation, as well as transforming into a real urban stage during public events. The presence of 36 water jets and 36 light beams visible at night, in memory of the 36 trades that were practiced around the area, gives the entire setting a dynamic and energizing feel, capable of creating a bridge between the history of the place and the new appearance of the area. Specifically, the competition required a solution to do away with the clutter created by the proliferation of air conditioners on façades, electrical cables and shop signs. The project addresses this with a series of “energy boxes” placed on the roofs of the buildings which group the air conditioners together and at the same time are capable of producing energy through a photovoltaic panel system; the underground cabling of electrical systems; and the adaptation of the signage system through linguistic and colour coding that evokes the traditional features of the city's trade routes.
CREDITS - architects: Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners - technical support: Nguyen Dinh Thanh - schedule: 2013