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Tropical Space receives 2022 Spotlight Award by Rice Design Alliance

Vietnam Architecture News - Feb 18, 2022 - 17:12   1665 views

Tropical Space receives  2022 Spotlight Award by Rice Design Alliance

Vietnamese architecture practice Tropical Space has been named as the recipient of the 2022 Spotlight Award by the Rice Design Alliance (RDA), a public program and outreach arm of Rice Architecture in Houston, Texas. 

The Spotlight Award "recognizes the work of exceptionally gifted national and international architects in the early stages of their professional career who have demonstrated design excellence and curiosity through their body of work."

Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon founded Ho Chi Minh city-based Tropical Space in 2011. The firm's project portfolio spans urban design, master planning, architecture, and landscape and interior design.

Tropical Space receives  2022 Spotlight Award by Rice Design Alliance

Cuckoo House in Da Nang, Vietnam. Image © Oki Hiroyuki

Although they are only in the 11th year of their career, the use of local materials, such as bricks, and the use of different craftsmanship techniques play a major role in creating the studio's own architectural language. 

The studio, which has a distinctive aesthetic language, has received the 2022 Spotlight Award this year for its inspiring stories and paying attention to local sustainability.

"This year’s Spotlight committee was unanimous in our enthusiasm about selecting Tropical Space in support of the work of Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngo," said RDA Executive Director Maria Nicanor. 

"Having followed their work for some time, we were most drawn towards their spatial responses to local conditions and their active thinking around mitigation of the effects of climate change through the use of sustainable, cost- and energy-efficient materials." 

"This is also the first time in RDA’s Spotlight history that a Vietnamese firm is recognized with the award, an important milestone of which I’m immensely proud, particularly for a city like Houston that owes so much to its Vietnamese community,” Nicanor added.

Tropical Space receives  2022 Spotlight Award by Rice Design Alliance

Long An House in Vietnam. Image © Oki Hiroyuki

Cuckoo House featuring large arched openings and brick structure in Da Nang, Vietnam completed in 2019, Long An House, a 300-square-metre house that looks like brick castle in Long An Province, Vietnam, Terra Cotta Studio built in 2016 in Vietnam are among best-known projects of the studio. 

Besides, a showroom, converted from an old house, to house Vietnam's traditional fish sauce and organic products, is another well-known project of the practice. 

"Architecture in tropical climates is always associated with rain, sunlight, and wind. Inhabitants in a tropical area tend to be open with the idea of bringing nature into their accommodation," said Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon. 

"We’ve tried to create the living capacity where humans staying inside could share the environmental responsibility, along with the surrounding community." 

"Through our work we’ve also delivered the inspiration of brickwork architecture through friendly, flexible, and adaptive design solutions in order to create values of architectural aesthetics and inspiring stories about local sustainability only by using that simple material,” added the architects. 

"Tropical Space is an intelligent, environmentally conscious, and locally rooted practice based in Vietnam. Projects such as Long An House, Organicare Showroom, and Terra Cotta Studio reveal innovations in typologies and material culture that upset accepted notions of what it means to design and work in dense contexts and humid environments. Tropical Space’s use of material, light, and scale quietly and carefully sets a precedence that cannot be ignored," said Deepa Ramaswamy, the Spotlight Award Committee Member.


Terra Cotta Studio in Vietnam by Tropical Space, 2016. Image © Oki Hiroyuki

The Spotlight Award was founded in 2009 under the leadership of Rice Architecture alumnus Lonnie Hoogeboom with the Harry K. and Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture John J. Casbarian, Rice Architecture Professor Carlos Jiménez, and University of Houston Professor of Architecture Rafael Longoria, who form the core of the selection committee together with RDA Executive Director Maria Nicanor and Rice Architecture Dean Igor Marjanović.

Every year, the Spotlight Award Committee, formed by architects, academics, and design practitioners, convenes to consider local, national, and international architects. This year the selection committee also included Maggie Tsang, Rice Architecture Wortham Fellow, and Deepa Ramaswamy, Assistant Professor, History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Houston, as part of the 2022 nomination process.

Tropical Space converted old house into an organicare showroom in Vietnam. Image © Quang Dam

The due will also be awarded with a monetary prize. The award is by invitation only and is celebrating over ten years of selecting young, unconventional, and thought-provoking architectural practices from around the globe.

Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon were going to give a lecture on February 23 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on the day of their award, but due to Covid measures, the event will be held virtually.

Top image: Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon. Image courtesy of Tropical Space.

> via Rice Design Alliance