Green and Resilient Urban Futures Design Competition – Hanoi University of Civil Engineering

Revisioning and rehabilitating an abandoned university campus site


We joined the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering – Faculty of Architecture (HUCE FAP) and the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) in a collaboration to revitalise HUCE’s city campus using nature-based solutions.

An initial activity in this project was to convene a student design competition for revitalising a disused historical precinct on campus.

This project is supported under the Asian Development Bank's Green Cities project, and delivered by ICEM. The HUCE university campus is also a case study site for the Resilient Urban Centres and Surrounds Program.


HUCE moved to its current site in 1983. The design site – C4 – is an historical, but underutilised part of the campus; renovating it will be a meaningful contribution to the campus redevelopment process started in 1991.

Introductory sessions of the design competition explored the wider context of the project: a changing climate (projected increase in rainfall and temperature) across Viet Nam and challenges to urban water management in Hanoi (shrinking surface water, water quality issues, flooding and dwindling water levels in the Red River). The campus site itself is surrounded by multistorey apartments, that restrict air flow and adding to the heat island effect on campus.

What we’re doing

To promote green and sustainable urban development, HUCE FAP and ICEM organised a student design competition at HUCE’s city campus. The RUCaS team provided technical advice on inclusion in nature-based solutions at a workshop for students, and were also part of the judging panel. The RUCaS contribution looked especially to how architecture and design can advance outcomes that address of gender (in)equity and disability inclusion in urban renewal and design.

The competition is a unique opportunity for students to learn about sustainable urban design and environmental engineering approaches. They applied climate-sensitive solutions to respond to a brief that called for the creation of a green, sustainable, inclusive and climate-resilient learning hub that underscores HUCE FAP’s values: uniqueness, innovation and leadership.

Designs were asked to address several challenges affecting the site selected for the competition:

  • Flooding – The site is prone to ponding during rain events, reflecting its low-lying location and lack of drainage.
  • Heat – The buildings are not insulated and heat up during the day, and the hard surfaced courtyards are enclosed with limited ventilation.
  • Inclusion in access to buildings and movement around the site – The narrow alley limits access for people with disabilities, and compromises fire safety and vehicle access.
  • Structural integrity – The roof and outside shelters are deteriorating in places.
  • Natural lighting – The buildings need bright and comfortable spaces.

How it will help

The winning designs will be used as the basis for the planned site renovation, depending on final approval by HUCE.

The RUCaS program will build off these design ideas for the small site, working with HUCE’s Department of Architecture and Planning to consider upscale opportunities across the wider campus. This will be one of 8 case studies developed as part of the RUCaS program, demonstrating how nature-based solutions can be applied to create climate-resilient urban centres and surrounds.

The competition also helped nurture future champions of nature-based solutions. Green design, nature-based solutions and water sensitive urban design are not currently part of HUCE’s curriculum, but students recognised that applying these concepts in practice is an important skill.

“We learnt a lot regarding applying nature-based solutions and environmentally friendly methods in design. We will definitely apply these new concepts to our work in the future.”
“We highly appreciated the opportunity to attend this workshop. We have learn a lot from the faculty lecturers and international experts.”
“This is a good opportunity for us to apply what we have learnt so far to one actual project, especially the site within our university, where we are studying.”

What does a Water Sensitive City look like?

The CRCWSC has produced research, guidelines and
tools related to the following topics:

Integrated Urban Flood

Climate change


Economics and
business case

Flood resilience
Green Infrastructure
Urban heat