location: Houston, TX
area: — SF
status: In Progress

Mai Gia Thon was developed to address a growing need of the Vietnamese community in Houston. Many of the older Vietnamese immigrants are not fully assimilated to the western way-of-life. They have grown more isolated from society in their own homes. The goal of Mai Gia Thon is to build a community for older Vietnamese with shared cultural values and a support system for their well-beings. The villagers are encouraged to get out and interact with their neighbors. The main activity of the inhabitants is walking. The master plan of Mai Gia Thon centers around a network of pedestrian walkways that connects communal spaces together: Vegetable gardens, sunken plazas and a wide promenade are all designed to promote an outdoor “village” life style that is healthy, physically and emotionally.

The site for Mai Gia Thon is next to the one of Brays Bayou drainage tributary. Much of the site is in the 500-year flood plain. The goals of the development is to build in a sustainable way that would help mitigate the flooding problems of Houston and reduce the energy consumption for the complexes. Vegetable gardens and plazas are sunken to retain water during heavy rains to mitigate flooding. Promenade is lowered to increase the capacity of the bayou. Using the Texas “dog-trot structure as a precedent, living structures are designed with operable windows to capture prevailing wind to reduce energy consumption and promote open air living that is familiar to the Vietnamese way of life.