Peristyles 99, slim columns and places of modern meditation
studioMilou’s the Binh Dinh Conference Centre in Quy Nhon, with its sweeping staircase, reception and 1200-seat auditorium, was inaugurated last year in the coastal city in Bình Định province, central Vietnam. In less than a year, it’s become one of the city’s major institutions – not only for conferences and delegations, but for a public until now less familiar with fenceless government buildings accessible to all. Attracting families, people of all ages, youth, and visitors, the gardens surrounding the Centre house carefully replanted older trees and a café that extends into the gardens to create an increasingly popular community meeting point.
In terms of studioMilou’s architectural language, the Binh Dinh Conference Centre carries forth a reinterpretation of the peristyle, with slim columns found in variations in other of Jean Francois Milou’s work over the decades. Described by the architect as a ‘contemporary architectural pictogram,’ one of its earlier precursors in architect’s work is the award-winning 1993 archaeological Musee de Bougon (France), described by the French newspaper, Le monde, as “un portique ou l’on passe”.
Always inspired by classical forms, Jean Francois Milou has continued to explore this protective yet open typology, which he describes as, ‘inviting silence, reflection, and some distance yet clarity in views towards landscapes.’
Our images, captured by the studio’s photographer, Fernando Urquijo, show the cafeteria by night, integrated seamlessly into the endless horizontality of the peristyle surrounding the Conference Centre.
Of particular interest here is the context. The building overlooks a former American military airstrip, recalling a dark chapter in Vietnam’s history.
By working with timeless structures, the design anchors itself before and beyond the American War. It communicates through its contemporary monumentality with the equally monumental and spectacular mountainous backdrop, and the endless coastal line before it.