Shifts in Vietnam’s social and cultural fabric alongside the rapid growth of its urban centres such as Ho Chi Minh City have been explored by two RMIT researchers.
Archie Pizzini and Hoanh Tran are PhD candidates in RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design.
Residing in Ho Chi Minh City, they also run local firm HTA+Pizzini Architects, with their research occurring within the context of their professional partnership.
Pizzini’s work, Observation & Negotiation at the Cultural Shoreline: Vietnam, Rasquachismo and an Architectural Practice, results from his practices of photography and architecture.
The dissertation examines the Vietnamese context where a local culture of individual enterprise is being quickly displaced by a system of large multinational entities operating at global scale.
His research highlights the notion of “Rasquachismo” – an approach to architecture that is found in Vietnam and other developing countries around the world.
“Rasquachismo is a Hispanic term that means the ability to make whatever you need out of whatever you have,” Pizzini said.
“It’s a very interesting way of approaching design because its opening premise is that the solution is already there in the context, and all you have to do is find it.
“So in that sense it’s very sustainable.”
Tran’s research is entitled In Transit: A Shifting Approach toward Design and Preservation in Rapidly Changing Ho Chi Minh City.
It focuses on the relationship between history and design, and on the adaptation of western architectural design in Vietnam.
He argues for an approach that maintains the accumulative nature of Ho Chi Minh City and of existing urban and social fabrics, while also introducing new design concepts.
Their works are currently on exhibit in Ho Chi Minh City’s Galerie Quynh, a contemporary art gallery the pair designed in 2013.
RMIT Professor of Architectural Design Sand Helsel kicked off the exhibit by announcing that both candidates had successfully defended their theses.
“This is a celebration of the work that was produced as a result of their PhD,” Helsel said.
“It’s the end of three-and-a-half years of work.”
In addition to the presentations made by Pizzini and Tran, a number of other PhD candidates presented their work as part of a Practice Research Symposium run by RMIT in Ho Chi Minh City.