In his words
"Sometimes we just ask the question: how many green areas, how many big trees, can we give back to our earth when we design the building?"
He's been called Vietnam's Bamboo architect. But bamboo is just one of the low-cost, high strength materials Vo Trong Nghia uses to create sustainable, affordable buildings for modern cities.
He has created giant halls solely using the natural building material -- "the steel of the 21st century," he's called it -- but is equally at home creating low cost housing that resists natural disasters from traditional, prefabricated materials.
It's Nghia's mission to inject more green spaces into the urban landscape. In his home city, Ho Chi Minh City, there is that one square meter of greenery per person (compared to Hong Kong's 50m2 per person, for example.) Nghia's projects -- such as his plantpot-like House for Trees -- find creative ways to reintroduce wildlife.
The Master: Why I chose Vo Trong Nghia
"It's actually hard to believe that there was a time in the '70s that people thought cutting down trees in cities was a way to get a modern city," says internationally heralded architect David Adjaye.
"Lots of people place trees around you, but he incorporates it into the DNA of the architecture. If you strip the nature out of his architecture, you strip the architecture."
Daniel Libeskind, the architect behind The World Trade Center ground zero master plan, adds his praise: "I was very impressed by the notion to use local materials, in a modest way, but at the same time to create really bold architectural statements."