Year-End Issue 2016

Magazine / Nov - Dec 2016

Year-End Issue 2016

What is the architecture of happiness? This issue, we look at Vietnamese architect Hoang Thuc Hao’s project, the National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, and his treatise on the subject. He explains architectural form as a geometric juxtaposition of circle and square, representing man-made and natural, and suggests that the balance between the two is a pathway to elevating the human spirit. Like many architects who build intuitively, Hoang has come around to examining what his work says, literally and metaphorically.

In this state of reflection he has scripted a treatise on an “Architecture of Happiness” which explicates the core tenet of his work: human well-being. In recent decades, Vietnam has seen a degradation in the quality of life of many of its citizens. This is clearly a timely discussion. It reminds us of the importance of design as an instrument of ethics and a means to a better world.

The essay is co-authored with Dr Quang Minh Nguyen. Together, they take on a slippery subject. Happiness, to summarise, is the result of an egalitarian outlook. The generosity of the architect is echoed in his architecture, which is foremost about understanding human needs, often invoking heritage and nature, community and culture.

At FuturArc we are proud to have championed the work and ideas of this activist-architect. And we hope to continue to report on his journey. At age 45, he is far from done yet.

Other notables in this issue are the interview with Chitra Vishwanath, a pioneering advocate for sustainable design in India; two projects from China that examine the importance of socio-ecologic space in urban settings; and—at the other end of the scale—a microlibrary in Indonesia that elevates an existing public space with a small but exquisite structure.

Happy reading.

To read the complete article, get your hardcopy at our online shop/newsstands/major bookstores; subscribe to FuturArc or download the FuturArc App to read the issues!