Nguyễn Thái Thạch


Farming Architects as Architects

VAC is the abbreviation of the Vietnamese phrase Vườn-Ao-Chuồng, it stands for integrated production systems comprising three components: horticulture, aquaculture & animal husbandry.


VAC systems, therefore, effectively use all the available land, air, water and solar energy resources, and also effectively recycle by-products and waste. While the VAC owners, play the most important and decisive role, their neighbours though sharing of information and experiences can influence the owners’ decision.


Farming Architects is re-designing the VAC system to be implemented in an urban area. The aim is not only to produce a effective use of natural resources but also favourite experimentation in using different types of plants and animal.

The knowledge gain with the VAC experimentation will be shared among the neighbour’s users, creating a know-how, which is not written on books but is the result of independent exploration.


VAC How do it work

The core feature for the design of VAC is the Aquaponics, it is a system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.


Excretions from the fish being raised accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. The water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by Nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrites and subsequently into Nitrates. Plants utilize those nutrients, and the water is then recirculate back to the aquaculture system.

Aquaponics in the VAC systems do not discharge water, but instead recirculate and reuse water very effectively. The system relies on the relationship between the animals and the plants to maintain a stable aquatic environment that experience a minimum of fluctuation in ambient nutrient and oxygen levels.

The system is designed with energy conservation in mind, using renewable energy (solar panel) and a reduced number of pumps by letting the water flow downwards as much as possible.


Structure Language

VAC uses a language deriving from the use of its main materials: wooden beans.

This technique gives the freedom to create a flexible and adaptable structure that can be easily implemented to all the different sites.

The structure also works as a space organizer where different feature, from lighting to planted box can be easily implemented giving a wide range of customization to suit people needs.

This customization capability fit well with the cultural aspect of Vietnamese people: “do it yourself” approach.

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