13.-17.05.2024 in Hà Nội , Vietnam

The ReBuMat Symposium took place in mid-May in Hanoi and featured a diverse program. More than 50 building sector stakeholder from Vietnam, Cambodia and Germany participated in different events that included ideation workshops, a field trip, presentations, panel discussions and a hands-on straw bale construction workshop.

Visit to Hoà Bình: Innovative Earth Brick Houses

The project week began with an insightful visit to Hoà Bình, a province west of Hanoi. The ReBuMat team was joined by colleagues from the Vietnamese Green Building Council and Habitat for Humanity. ReBuMat project partner Prof. Dr. Tuan Nguyen (Hanoi University of Civil Engineering) has led the development and implementation of two residential construction projects in Hoà Bình that use compressed earth bricks from locally available raw materials. The group learned about the brick production process and spoke to the residents to better understand their lived experience in their innovative houses. Habitat for Humanity is now considering to replicate the technology in their housing projects.

The day also included a visit to the Vietnam Ethnic Groups Village, located in the Dong Mo tourist area in Son Tay Village, a suburb of Hanoi. This tour through the small neighborhoods provided an overview of different traditional and vernacular residential houses, which are built using traditional and sustainable materials such as bamboo, straw, and timber.

Main Symposium Day at HUCE

The main symposium day brought together more than 50 building sector stakeholders to discuss and learn about current developments and ideate possible futures for the sustainable building and building material sector in Vietnam. The day involved presentations, panel discussions and an ideation workshop (click here for the full agenda).

The Symposium featured presentations by industry actors and ReBuMat partners, including Prof. Dr. Dirk Schwede (TH Lübeck), AProf. Dr. Tuan Nguyen (HUCE), Dr. Simon Schmidt (Fraunhofer IPB), AProf. Dr. Bao Bui (TDTU), Arden Linh (Vietnam Green Building Council). The presentations were followed by interesting Q&A’s and panel discussions on bio-based, and circular materials respectively. The presentation slides can be found in the Rebumat Symposium Hanoi 2024 Proceedings.

In the afternoon, the day ended with a workshop guided by Dr. Ravi Jayaweera and assisted by Bao Tran Ho from the ReBuMat team. The participants of the symposium were invited to discuss challenges for the transition towards sustainable materials in Vietnam’s building sector and develop ideas, strategies and sketch out possible collaborations. The group discussions focused on the themes cultural change, collaboration and technical improvement, cost and finance, education and knowledge, and policy and regulation. The results will be further developed by the team for the second ReBuMat Symposium in Germany and will inform future project proposals.

Visit of the Vietnam Institute for Building Materials (VIBM)

The team was invited to the ReBuMat partner VIBM (Vietnam Institute for Building Materials) to meet its new President, Dr Quang Hiep Nguyen and learn about recent developments at the institute. Gifts and official invitations for the next conference at the end of the year were presented. The visit also included an interesting tour of the institute’s laboratories to gain a deeper insight into their work and equipment.

Straw Bale Construction Workshop in Hà Nam

For the remainder of the week the participants traveled to Ha Nam, where HUCE develops its new campus in the south of Hanoi. Instructed by Virko Kade, the participants were able to experience and support the experimental construction of the first straw bale house in Vietnam in a hands-on workshop. This allowed the participants not only to understand the details of straw bale construction but also to work together and lend a hand. A supporting contractor had prepared the foundation and supported the construction during the week. To monitor the long-term quality and moisture of the house, the Fraunhofer IBP team installed measurement instruments on the straw bales.

The contractor will finish the remaining work, including the roofing and plastering under the guidance of Virko Kade. The team and participants would like to take this opportunity to thank Virko Kade for his detailed guidance and for sharing his rich experience.

Demonstration of the Straw Bale House

The week ended with a demonstration of the straw bale house to the HUCE leadership. The director and vice director of Hanoi University of Civil Engineering (HUCE), together with the symposium participants and students of HUCE, were present to see the results. The participants were able to get an impression of the straw bale house. In his closing words, Prof Schwede highlighted that the use of bio-based materials such as straw can address a range of sustainability challenges, including the reduction of emissions in the material production process while using locally available agricultural by-products that might otherwise be burnt.

All pictures are officially provided by ReBuMat team, the VIBM and the HUCE (2024).