Long An is a province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. Long An is situated in a strategic location in the Southern Key Economic Region of Vietnam. It serves as a bridge between Ho Chi Minh City in the north and 12 provinces in the Mekong Delta in the south. As province in the Mekong Delta area, Long An has always been known for its natural, untouched beauty, but it is also famous for a rich history of the Oc Eo culture.

“A Historical and Traditional Consideration towards a Contemporary Interpretation”

Inspired by the rural character of Long An and its historical tradition of single-story pitch roof houses with clay tiles and bricks, often organized around courtyards, forms the inspiration for the museum. The arts and crafts reflected in its structural built-up with a great attention to details and materiality is being reflected in this design vision. The roof geometry is sculpted to allow the right amount of light infiltrating to the subsequent museum and library areas. The sculpted roof unites both museum and library as well as the central courtyard providing a shaded area in hot summer days and protect visitors from rain. The material selection of the building celebrates a long tradition of Long An brick, roof tile and Concrete Architecture, which has been re-interpreted to form a new expression.

The Long An Museum and Library comprises a series of Indoor and outdoor museum exhibition spaces to display Long An Nature, History, Culture and various Thematic Galleries and Gardens. In support of the Public Museum area is the Service & Storage located. Each building program component is a standalone building situated around the central courtyard area. The function of the museum is not only to exhibit artefacts but invites people of the local communities to enjoy the protected courtyard outdoor garden areas.

The outdoor themed garden intertwines in a meaning full fashion, the thematic Historical, Nature, Cultural and Architectural Gardens with green, lush, and playful areas for people of all different ages. The Garden landscape design find its inspiration in the surrounding natural wetland conditions. Visitors can enjoy various outdoor program elements including archeology and military artefacts, local agricultural product display with adjacent stands to experience local food, growing agricultural crops, discovering the various wetland plant species, learn about traditional arts and crafts such as basket weaving, drum sealing, etc. with in addition expositions of art sculptures, music and various folk games for all ages. Also, Architectural traditional buildings are exhibited for visitors to experience ancient and communal houses. The Central courtyard area accommodates flexible programming to host live music concerts or cultural performances.

The library has an extensive selection of books and media rooms, as well as open- and enclosed reading rooms. The central spiral floor plates are wrapped around the book collection leading visitors through the library book collection in conjunction with reading spaces and multimedia spaces. The top floor hosts a themed library café where people can meet and talk about their most beloved books. The interior of the library is designed in close connection to the building exterior celebrating use of traditional materials, such as bricks, which are being applied on both floors and walls.

One of the key features of the project is the discovery path, which provides visitors with its own unique experience throughout the various areas. The path takes visitors through a sequence of museum exhibition spaces as well as an outdoor experience allowing people to enjoy the wide surroundings to Long An at the same time. The discovery path takes people from the ground floor courtyard gardens all the way above the roof with at the pinnacle a view deck platform where friends and loved ones can take pictures or selfies captivating lasting memories to the Long An Museum and Library.



Project Type: Museum and Library
Location: Long An, Vietnam
GFA: 7,800m2
Number of floors: 5
Status: Design Completed

Architecture Design: Van Aelst I Nguyen and Partners (VA.NG)
Architecture Design Team: Steve Van Aelst, Ngoc Tran Ho Thanh, Anna Reznik , Thien Le, Diego Linares, Khiem Huynh, Vi Pham Thuy Tuong, Tan Bui, Quoc Pham Thach, Ngo Trung Hai
Landscape Design: Omgeving (OMG)
Landscape Design Team: Steven Petit, Phuong Thuy, Ngoc Le, Quoc Thang Trinh, Huy Nguyen


steve van aelst