Mai Hung Trung is a Paris-based architect, urban designer graduated with honour from ENSA Paris-Malaquais and Leibniz Universitat Hanover. His works focus on devising urban renewal strategies for post-industrial contexts and defining modern vernacular architecture ranging from rural villages in Vietnam to European shrinking cities. In 2020, He founded aleier M32 and Hanoi ad hoc. Trung is laureat of Europan 16, Europan 15, World Architectural Festival 2018.
The cities have always been the spiritual reflection of time. In ancient times, the city’s center was configured to carry political, cultural ideologies and foundational democracy which are fundamental aspects defining the society. In modern times, our culture, civilization, and built environment are facing another challenge on a global scale which is climate change and the degradation of nature. Hence, beyond creating solely a space for commercial, communal activities, restoring the urban ecology system in the city’s center is a defining feature that promotes nature-centric urbanization, and harmonious cohabitation between humans, nature, and other species. The relocation of the bus station presents an opportunity to reclaim the city’s center as a living and dynamic system that favors and stimulates socio-cultural networks of all kinds. As a philosopher, Clément Rosset said ”anti-nature is nature anti, a way of defining a thing by its natural opposite: the city posited as the opposite of nature. The city, hence, would be anti-artificial; it must then recover and once again find life, nature, animals, greenery, purity, calmness”. San Dona is a middle-sized city defined by a mono-centric structure: the core city is dominated by a transport hub which is surrounded by a semi-ring peri-urban system including the residential, industrial fabric and peri-urban agricultural areas. At the urban scale, the project aims to investigate an alternative way of configuring the city by integrating the agroecological system into the existing urban fabric. By reversing the conventional structure and introducing again to the city’s center the notion of productivity and living features through an acupuncture network of small-scale agricultural gardens, and micro forests. Furthermore, the urban agroecological application is critical to limit cities’ impact on climate change, mitigates and reduces ecological degradation, increases the resilience and productivity of the city center.