A Youth Centre with an Expiry Date: the Chapel
Architect: a21 studio, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt, Vietnam
Location: Binh Chanh, Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt, Vietnam
The youth centre known as The Chapel, located in Ho Chi Minh City, has taken this name from its purist white aesthetic. What’s more, the prospectively short lifespan of the building plays an important role.
The lease for the 10 X 20-metre lot in a newer area on the outskirts of the city is valid for only ten years. For this easy-to-disassemble construction, the architects used steel profiles, wood and furniture left over from former building projects. The youth centre required as light a construction as possible. For one thing, the available profiles were quite slim. For another, a lighter building meant that the dimensions of the foundation could be kept to a minimum. The frameworks of the walls and roof consist of paired, conjoined rectangular hollow profiles measuring 40 X 80 mm. The reinforcements measure 40 X 40 mm. Because these were not enough to hold up the span of the roof, the architects placed an additional tree-like support of 90 X 90-mm steel profile just off-centre in the space. The interior wall and ceiling surfaces consist of white-painted steel sheeting; the floor is made of wooden planks. Colour is provided by the centre’s visitors and the cheerful fabric hangings at the entrance, under the linear skylight and in the service hatch between the kitchen and the main space.