Our mission in this project is to design a pavilion that serves as an information and pastoral center for parishioners and visitors to the St. Joseph Cathedral. The main functionalities include a reception area, a bookstore, and a gift shop. Having said that, being in such a symbolic location, this project requires us to pay more attention to other aspects.
A dialogue betaween the old and the new is inevitable, together with the religious spirit of the building. Furthermore, the dual characteristic of classical Catholicism needs to be amplified in this otherwise purely functional project, while refusing to repeat its inherent symbols. With this approach, a system of opposing, dichotomous pairs was studied and established: high-low, big-small, solid-hollow, main-supplementary, yin-yang, complete-incomplete, fixed-fluid, heavy-light, visible-hidden, materialistic-ethereal creating special bonds between the new structure and the existing architectural ensemble in the vicinity
This system is materialized by conventional architecture solutions (mainly glass and steel, with the existing vegetation, mostly retained, interwoven in the new structure with varied and shrink basilica form). The idea is to create a large “shade” by weaving a long canopy with the existing vegetation, minimizing the physical appearance of the architectural structure, promoting the “negative” and “give wat” to maximize the existence of the “positive”, which is the St. Joseph Cathedral itself.
The connection between the structure and the surrounding is very easy to identify, but the actual architecture vernacular itself is not as clear-cut, showing the Asian view of “harmonious yin and yang” (congruous duality), in which the “yin” elements of the structure contain a glimpse of the “yang”, carefully calibrated through the design of the building’s outer shell, at the same time act as a solution to resolve the conflicting objectives of minimizing the domination of the building volume, while satisfying service space requirements.
The prototype is simple, ambiguous, and polymorphic, part otherworldly, and partly inspired by traditional northern architecture. It is embodied by many elements, for example, the long building structure, or the large canopy, emphasizing linear continuity, at the same time promoting the structure in all of its fluid imperfections.
In a project of such historical context and value, besides meeting the requirements, through the design proposals, We would also like to express my conservation research point of view and treatment perspectives towards landscape and heritage building of immeasurable value.
Architects: Le Studio Architects (LSA); Area: 235m2l Year: 2018; Photographs: Hoang Le; Lead Architect: Le Minh Hoang; Design Team: Le Minh Hoang, Pham Van Dung; Other Participant: Tran Anh Duc; Country: Viet Nam; Website: www.lestudio.com.vn.