Revitalizing Mao Khe Mining Park

Located in the center of Mao Khe town and bound in an area of 3.3 hectares, Mao Khe Mining park constructed in the 90s of the last century has been badly deteriorated and has almost been closed down and abandoned for many years.

The five-ringed symbol of the Olympic Games representing human union, world continuity and integrity has given the designer inspiration to merge sport with culture and education in revitalizing the park. This is then realized from the perpective of turning obstacles into bridges. Specifically, obstacles (unsafe construction, 60-meter fence) were removed, making fragmented room for new architectural space; the void after removal was accommodated by a square that interconnects with surrounding courtyards. Walking paths were used to chain architectural and sculptural objects with the landscape of the entire park, and connect various directions, thus forming open redezvous for local residents to attend social, cultural activities, do physical exercises, play sports, relax, or pay respect to historical events.

This is how Mao Khe Mining park has been revived and returned to its nature for people and culture, with the mission: To provide a public place for daily life activities, improve quality of life, compensate the locals for economic, cultural and social disadvantages they have suffered.

Details of turning obstacles into bridges in the park:

- Big Laurel Wreath

The structure consists of three eccentric rings: two edge rings each with six alternate touchdown points, the middle ring elevated and tilted from top (narrow) to bottom (wide), the core surrounded by plants and flowers. At the top are old iron fences which resemble the leaves on branches bending into a Big Laurel Wreath, honoring the rebirth so that people can be closer to each other and more connected with nature.

- Memory Kite (Kitemory)

This multi-functional space is recycled from the nearly 30-year-old truss and mental roofing sheets of a previously damaged cinema, and reconstructed on the site of an old structure dismantled due to its abandonment for 25 years. The roof resembles a giant kite fully spread and loosely "tied up" by five touchdown points on the ground, creating a vast open space for exhibitions, performances, meetings, etc. They are on-site daily activities which constitute precious vivid films “being shown live” on this memory-filled playground on a regular basis.

- Toigetation 3

The public toilet area is like three sculptural blocks hidden under a shadowy cover of green trees and a framework system made of fence panels and old steel tubes. These three blocks are of different sizes and randomly placed in a manner that it can obscure the view from the outside and that no additional cover is needed; yet it still ensures the necessary privacy for users, and helps Toigetation 3 blend into the park landscape in a natural manner.

- Zigzag roof

Having the long-clung "parasites" removed and been returned to the original place for cultural and recreational activities, the zigzag roof serves as an interesting memory highlight in the central square and plays an important supporting role to festivities in place.

The open air theatre at Festival square

The park has been made green with 1.6 hectares of grass on the surface and double the number of shade trees with additional 200 being planted. Terrain-based ramps newly made (the park’s current elevation difference ranges from about 2m to 5m, depending on specific location) helps give easier access to people with disabilities and cyclists, and at the same time connects the neighborhood in the front - through the park - with that in the back.

A total of 1.4 hectares of granite has been paved, including walking paths, small yards with sports equipment installed, seating to rest, mining worker monument yard, and especially Festival square, a public place for the urban population, which can easily functions as an open-air theater when needed.

In Vietnam, the area for building squares only accounts for 0.004% of urban land size and the norm of square area per capita is very low, about 0.02m2. Therefore, the creation of such a square - an open-air theater in Mao Khe Mining park presents a scalable solution to contribute to alleviating this shortage.

By Location Mao Khe Town, QuangNinh Province, Vietnam
Area 3,3 ha
Year completed 2019