Team Representative: Mai Hung Trung (FR) – architect
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
I started working on this project by myself just after quitting my job.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
The main challenge of the project is to reinvent the ZAE model in the remoted rural areas. A context without context, which has a lot of constraints while being a free land lookalike. The countryside, which is supposed to be a place dedicated to preserving the cultural DNA, is experiencing fundamental transformations in order to cope with effects of technologies, social movements, global warming and environmental engagement. Applying "function on-demand" in order to optimize the spatial productivity in time dimension. The project seeks a better interaction between urban and rural zones, and a vision of the territory as an organic system, dynamic and flexible. I developed a method of punctual manipulation through a territorial backbone, using agricultural interventions to blend economic with leisure, social activities. The productivity unintendedly become a by-product of an ecological oriented design.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
To deal with a multiple site is to handle with different contextualized issues while you only have one generic tool. So you must find the intersection between them in order to define a logic for a series of intervention. We had to investage the edges, interfaces between the ZAEs and their surrounding rural fabrics. Hence, the project attempted to force the generic to the finite urban forms. The countryside, by definition, is a non-constraint space in term of spatial resource comparing to the densely urbanized agglomeration. Creating or using rural space productively is therefore an act of anticipating the harmful impact of the predictable urban sprawl. It's the result of a sustainable-oriented development and thrifty mindset.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
I have been always intrigued by the informality of the ruralism, the unpredictable mutation of the countryside, the forgotten hinterland and its intangible impact on future built environment. One of my projects "⟪" investigated the mutation of Hanoian urban-village situating at the junction between rural and urban environment. The report of Rem Koolhaas on the countryside is so far the guideline for all of my experimentations on this field. While the reflexion of programs and events of Bernard Tschumi gives me possibility and freedom to define architectural configurations, the beauty of rawness and simplicity of Lacaton&Vassal become one of the ingredients to define form.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
Phasing strategy and compensation mechanisms are a headache yet crucial part of every long-term projet. However, the correlation between time and function has been always considered as one of the fundamental strategies in most of my projects. With agripuncture, I proposed a methodology of negociation between different stakeholders and local community in order optimize the function of space.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
It's my first time winning Europan and there are more positive results while searching my name on Google now. I also founded my own office atelier and started my practice based in France but our actual projects are in different part of the world, outside of l’Hexagone. We are currently working remotely on projects in Portugal, Germany, Korea and Vietnam. The covid-19 seems to have a significant impact on my career path so far.
Office: Mai Hung Trung / atelier M32
Functions: Architecture, urbanism
Average age of the associates: 29 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
My main interest focus on the rurbanisation phenomenon in Southeast Asia and European hinterland. The project &Lang, which seeks for reinvent Vietnamese craft villages cluster, was shorlisted for Futture Project of the year at World Architecture Festival 2018 and brought to TEDxHanoi 2018. I have been also recipient of ASA award (of Architectural Siamese Association), Bangkok, Thailand in 2015 and 2018.