Dome and curved walls of bamboo renew this open-air cafe

Trieu Chien
© Trieu Chien

We've seen a renaissance in bamboo architecture in recent years, as designers are pushing the material in innovative ways, both structurally as a new kind of "green steel," and aesthetically as well. Vietnam's Vo Trong Nghia Architects is one of these pioneers, having done a number of projects that feature bamboo in new and exciting ways.

The firm's latest project is a renovation of Nocenco Cafe, located on the top floor of a mid-rise building in Vinh, a city in central Vietnam. The scheme features a swooping profile for the roof, consisting of fluid shapes and surfaces made possible by the versatility of bamboo, which grows abundantly in this region.

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien
After considering brick and stone, the affordability, ease of transport, lightness, relative strength and durability made bamboo a prime candidate for the design scheme in the end, which also helped to reduce cost and construction time. In using bamboo, the firm has created a cavernous and chic space that crowns a building with an existing European-style facade, to create a new cultural icon for the city.

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Ten existing columns have been concealed with bamboo columns, in addition to four larger bamboo columns with beautiful curves, which serve to divide up the space visually. No additional structural supports were required in the design, and the layout allows for great views out over the city and its trees and buildings.

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

The cafe's new dome -- completely constructed out of bamboo -- has an opening at the top, permitting light to pass through and light up the shaded interior of the cafe. From the street level, pedestrians can look up and actually see this dome from below.

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

Trieu Chien© Trieu Chien

As seen in previous projects, bamboo is utilized as an adaptable and locally appropriate material that really elevates the design. In helping to rebuild this city once deeply affected by war, the architects' forward-looking scheme skillfully revitalizes and reinterprets an older, colonial-style building with an innovative, homegrown design built with this versatile material. To see more, visit Vo Trong Nghia Architects.

Dome and curved walls of bamboo renew this open-air cafe
Strong and lightweight bamboo features prominently in this beautiful renovation of a rooftop cafe.

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