Language: Vietnamese and English
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Architect Cổ Văn Hậu was born in 1934 in Long An. He graduated from University of Architecture in Saigon in 1964.
He is known as an aficionado of spatial structure, geometric techniques, and architectural models’ execution. Mr. Cổ is also a teacher to many generations of architects in HCMC, with 42 years of teaching experience (1966 – 2008) and mentoring more than 4000 architects. An architect with many talents, he is also well-versed in piano, guitar, music composition, and painting (in the last two years). He shared his belief: “I teach with my whole heart. Whatever my students need help with, I will do my best to support them. For me, I will continue learning as long as I live. You need to do things with your heart, as you will reap what you sow.”
His passion for his work, for architecture and his activities with the Association of Architects in HCMC is still a top priority for him, He shared: “The city’s architecture has transformed greatly in its appearance, needs, materials, but has adopted a more externally focused orientation. Whenever a Vietnamese or traditional element is discussed, it is an easy subject for criticism and considered backward and rustic. Actually, within that pure Vietnamese element, there exist many distinct features – it is not like you are backward if you wear conical hat and live in a thatched house. The question is whether you know how to apply, combine, and place these elements in the right context. Then, we will able to further develop the beauty, elegance, and uniqueness of Vietnamese architecture. An attractive and modern architectural model, if placed in the wrong context with no regard to environmental aspects, will also turn into a sore point that brings no beauty. Moreover, in our architectural planning, from private homes to public construction, we tend to rival each other in size. Due to the superstition “The latter building must be taller than the former”, we tend to build buildings that are bigger, more grandiose than the ones before them. This is the reason why the face of urban architecture is collapsing. In planning, business values have been prioritized over landscape and living environment … We need to have a harmonious combination between a slot of land, the architecture built within it, and the space surrounding the land. As long as this combination is undervalued, we will still not be able to build a beautiful face for the city’s architecture.”