Long Thanh Airport lotus design criticised for high cost

The winning lotus design for Long Thanh International Airport Terminal has raised concerns that it may prove too costly to implement.


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Proposed Long Thanh Airport design

Tran Quang Chau, chairman of Vietnam Association on Aviation Science and Technology said the lotus-shaped terminal was chosen because the colour and layout used for each part are harmonious. In addition, people can clearly see that it is designed for large-scale airport and has traditional factors.

Lai Xuan Thanh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, said the decision was made after receiving public feedback in Hanoi, Da Nang, Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City and from associations such as the Vietnam Association of Architects and the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association.

26 experts from ministries, agencies and professional associations led by Director General of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam Dinh Viet Thang also formed an advisory team to vote on the designs. 59.09% of the attendants voted for the lotus design.

Despite the consensus, there are still concerns the design will mean costs will rise. Curved buildings often have more problems with installing equipment.

Moreover, the proposed lotus design is not completed and still need further revise so the cost is undecided. Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia estimated that Long Thanh Airport project would cost USD16bn.

Nguyen Thanh Trung, former director of Vietnam Airlines, said, “The airports in developed countries in both Europe and Asia have simple designs. Paying too much attention to the design will lead to unnecessary costs.”

Nguyen Quoc Thong, Vice President of the Vietnam Association of Architects, said it was clear that costs would be higher so suggested either trying to make the terminal look as much like a lotus as possible or make it stylised.

“The chosen design is trying to recreate a real lotus shape and that’s not wise. We’ll suggest a stylised design instead,” he said.

The design is not the only thing that can reflect cultural identity. Thong said the cultural identity of Vietnam can be introduced via the interior such as a small garden with typical trees in Vietnam inside the airport. Moreover, the huge domes will mean high electric bill so they must consider using sunlight, natural ventilation and reusing water.

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