Matt Young Principal
Matt Young is Principal of GroupGSA in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Fringed by mountains and fed bay valley streams, it goes without saying that the beachside development we proposed at Vinh Hoi development was going to be special, it couldn’t help it. In some ways our job was to engage with the site and expose its potential without destroying what made it special in the first place, some would say we had to get out of the way – let the site be what it wanted to be. In many ways that is what we did.
Teaming up with a visionary developer GSA was able to propose outcomes that are a nothing like some of the more highly developed sites nearby or around in Vietnam in that it proposes to ‘touch the earth lightly’. The current masterplan is low density, 100% in tune with the site and a unique hospitality offering in Vietnam. The crystal- clear ocean waters of the site, the unique privacy (despite excellent accessibility) provide an opportunity to experience the best Vietnam has to offer in a highly individual manner. The topography of the site is to be celebrated and used, the hills themselves are as much design elements as the buildings, so too, the path of the sun, the water’s edge and the waterways and vegetation on the site.
As an urban proposal we also engaged with the local culture and micro economies, providing both residential and small business opportunities, rather than seeing these as a distraction from the more private resorts, they are seen for what they are, an opportunity for an authentic experience, to meet people living and working this land, this country. In turn this supports a more vibrant, if laid back, community and provides an ongoing connection to the site for all people.
The dominating feature of this proposal is the environment itself, caught in a natural ‘walled courtyard, Vinh Hoi is both accessible and a world apart. Whilst wanting to invite people in to experience this haven, we were extremely careful to strike a balance. Like the developer, like the local community we do believe this is a place worth revealing, worth being proud of and sharing with friends, however it must be done is such a way as that what makes it special is not just preserved, but so integral that it becomes the framework that makes a economically, culturally and environmentally sustainable community experience for many years to come, developing a symbiotic relationship between its various built and unbuilt elements, between visitor and local and between nature and humanity, that only reinforcing its best attributes long into the future.
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