École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Marseille-Luminy, Marseille-Luminy

Project idea

Hippo Farm is a 3-ha land located in Bien Hoa, one hour from the center of Ho Chi Minh City.
The project combines the equestrian passion of a PEIX familly, its interest in permaculture and the desire to create a space of relaxation and entertainment for the residents of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh).

We worked on 3 Principals axes:
1/ AXE 1 Less Impact on Nature
By recycling and using a natural material.
2/ AXE 2 Local
By inderstanding the context, climat and local now-how
3/ AXE 3 Create a communauty project
That was the most important Aim. We made 10 workshop, between the Mud architecture and the Garden technics.

Project description

In 2015, Catherine and Olivier, left Africa to settle in Vietnam with their 6 children. A return to the Origin for Catherine who is of Vietnamese parents. a country of Heart for Olivier. A french who knows vietnam from the past. Want to realize their dreams and create a ressourcful place for their 6 children practicing home schooling. The Peix are eager to see their project realized.

Hippo Farm is a 3-ha farm located in Bien Hoa, one hour from the center of Ho Chi Minh City.
The farm project combines the equestrian passion of a PEIX familly, its interest in permaculture and the desire to create a space of relaxation and entertainment for the residents of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh).

In September 2016, The Peix familly contact ellearchitecture studio.The ellearchitecture studio is french company created by Soumia MASMOUDI in 2011.
I am french-Algerian Architect. I focused my work on innovatives projects combining communauty-empowerment, ecology and economy around health and food security. On 3 last years, I work principally on permacultural projects.

When the owner choose to work with ellearchitecture.we were both convince to value the local now-how. Build a communauty project and be a posetive impact on the erea.

My group and I spent over a month analyzing the site of Hippo Farm and its surroundings. Neighbors already have local farming and livestock practices. They offered enormous human support and raw material. a nearby clay site and a waste recycling center. on the tourist side: a zoo and holestic center of health. some pagoda and a drill for the horse rides.

Hippo Farm includes an equestrian club, an animal farm, an organic vegetable garden, a rod and a lodge! All designed following permaculture principles.
The project was devide on differents phases. The first phase was to build an Ecolodge.
That the aim of this presentation.

Technical information

« I love this first impression. I keep in mind this moment for inspiration. We have this fresh and new look. once the head on the project,it is different ! »
I was excited to discover the site of Hippo Farm. I immediately fall under the spell. In addition to nature, the site is full of pententials. Existing buildings to recycle, micro climates to be upgraded, atmospheres to requalify. Well! the adventure seems starting!.

The most striking thing was the building that the owners wanted to destroy. A building on stilts on a pond. the building was designed 10 years ago. originally it was designed to host Vietnamese festevites as weddings. But it has not been used to this day. its complex form with concreet and its narrow passageways disturb enormously the owners.

what struck me most about this building is the presence of elements such as water ... it offered a poetic mirror effect and a very spetial microclimate. The concrete was a bit too much. but that seems not so problematic.

The program was in great coherence with the existing one:
-The main hall for the common areas
-Small spaces transform into bangualows.
-The narrow courtyard transforms into a beautiful wooden terrace.

For bungalows, we opt for sloping louvered walls for a larger volume effect and a better aeration.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems
( Wikipedia)

We worked on 3 Principals axes:
1/ AXE 1 Less Impact on Nature
2/ AXE 2 Local
3/ AXE 3 Create a communauty project

1/ AXE 1 : Less Impact on Nature
a/ Avoide destruction : In order not to destroy the existing bodyguard, it was maintained and grounded in earth according to the techniques of the cob. It is now serving as a basement wall. - The existing pond was integrated into the design for locally treating grey waters by using phyto-sanitation techniques, fish and shrimp farming to avoid the proliferation of mosquitoes.
- The owner want dry toilets, to reuse the compost as firtiliser for trees in Zone 5 ( Wild zone in permaculture).
b/ Recyclabality concept: all materials used are recyclabale, from the building material construction :
- Mud
- Wood selves
- Bamboo weaves pannel
To the interior design
- Wood dry toilettes
- Potery bath room sink

Energy and Waste Management

.Solar pannel : the ecologe work with electrical pannel. With minimum electrical connection for each bungalow (a charging socket and two led lamp)
.Cold water for the tropic bath, is take less water and energy
.Gray water is localy filtred and go directly to the existing tang where it is treated by phyto-plantes, fish and shrimps.

2/ AXE2 : local: existing human and material ressources
Local know-how and Local material :
.MUD : we used the mud from the site and the neiberhood factory of clay
.BAMBOO : a bamboo weaving from the village nearby.
PLANT AND WATER we used local plant for the phytoepuration. The rain water for the pond.

3/ Human ressources : Work with the communauty

Catherine and Olivier ( the owner) was not just mere clients ; they involve themselves into the conception of the project and drag with them their 6 children, parents and relatives. They discover permaculture and alternative construction techniques as my self also involve a multidisciplinary team of engineers, compost specialist, architect, urban designer, gardeners, who each implies a community of interest.
the locals are now part of the family Hippo farm:employers, suppliers, advisors and sustainable partners of the adventure.

The health and confort :
the design of the ecolodge was thought as a living antity with a skin that interacts with the outside; Breath and sweat and hear.
.air quality: volume and materials were strictly designed to maximize the fluidity of the air and to avoid any stagnation of moisture. the fresh air maintained by the mud at the bottom, the warm air evacuated by the shutters and the roof at the top. this composition ensures a continuous dynamic of the air.
.Micro climate and ambient temperature: within the ecolodge, we lose about 10 degrees of heat, during the warm and dry period, with the humidity of the pond and the freshness of the earthen concrete.
.Noise and Silence:
Hochiminh is a very bustling city. when leaving HCMC the first sense is that our hearing. we immediately realize the comfort of silence.
being in full natural area, Hippo Farm's ecolodge offers a beautiful sensorial setting of nature, its skin reveals the mood of the rain and the good weather. the show in nature mode is not to beat.


With calaboration:
Tiffany Talsma for Compostion part
Daniel Nguyen For Garden
Olivier Peix owner and Permaculturdesigner

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