Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright), the country’s first independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education broke ground today on the site of its permanent campus in Saigon High Tech Park in District 9. Carrying forward the legacy of its namesake, Senator William Fulbright, the university aspires to serve Vietnamese society through innovative teaching programs and impactful research aimed at supporting Vietnam’s continued development.
The ceremony kicks off the construction of the 15-hectare flagship campus at the Saigon High Tech Park in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City. The campus is designed by SHoP Architect, who in 2017 won an international competition ahead of more than a dozen other accomplished global firms to establish a master plan for this project. The first development phase for the flagship campus is to be completed by 2022 and to provide a new home for our students.
“We at Fulbright are excited to see the efforts of planning, fundraising and negotiation merge into this realization. The university has always made a priority of providing competencies-based, experiential learning opportunities for our students. This flagship campus affords us opportunities for growth in these areas through innovative, newer technologies and flexible learning spaces,” said Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam.
The academic and student life buildings and central lawn form the nucleus of the campus in phase 1, from which Fulbright will expand in subsequent phases. The main gateway building located at the head of the lawn will house a distinctive amphitheater located at center of the space, as well as the student center and library.
From the central campus, Fulbright comes to life with a rich mix of programming set off by select plantings and water features. A network of pedestrian streets, or allées, extend out from the lawn and main building. At the end of each pathway are focal-point buildings designed to host iconic programs such as galleries, theaters or a gymnasium.
The convergence of two major allées forms a wedge-shaped dormitory with student dining on the ground floor. These irregular geometries ensure a sense of active learning and discovery, provide meaningful landmarks and encouraging a natural, intuitive system of wayfinding.
Water features play an important role in the landscaping of the Fulbright campus. Rain is a key aspect of life in Ho Chi Minh City and water management is critical to the resiliency of the campus and the project’s goals of environmental stewardship.
The Fulbright buildings celebrate this key feature of the local environment, integrating drainage and water reclamation into visible design elements throughout the campus and the landscape.
Finally, the design of the campus plan is optimized to support innovations in pedagogy and to promote both academic and societal goals, supporting cultural continuity and inspiring meaningful change.
The campus is designed as a primary teaching tool in and of itself—a leading example of sustainable planning and engineering practices that acts as a model for responsible growth both locally and internationally. SHoP is benchmarking the project against other comparable global institutions and seeking LEED and LOTUS accreditation.
“We are thrilled to break ground on this world-class university. The opportunity to collaborate with the Fulbright team to develop the university’s programs and spaces at the same time is both an honor and an exciting challenge, and we look forward to creating a beautifully crafted and modern campus that serves its students through innovative teaching programs,” said Gregg Pasquarelli, a Founding Principal at SHoP Architects.
“The flagship campus will be transformative for Fulbright, but more importantly, it will allow Fulbright to tie to the greater community here at Saigon High Tech Park. This groundbreaking is a chance for us to celebrate the campus’ beginnings and the changes it will bring to our future students’ success,” said Dam Bich Thuy.