takashi niwa architects designed ‘ark pavilion for pizza 4P’S’ restaurant in hai phong, vietnam as a symbolic monument to capture both the unique background and values of the city and restaurant; hai phong as a port and industrial city, and pizza 4P’S value of sustainable dining. hai phong is a logistics and industrial hub with the largest terminal port in northern vietnam. it is a port city at the mouth of the red river, about 100 km away from hanoi. the project is designed as a standalone building at the corner of a large newly built shopping mall. the building is perceived as an ark docked in a port, which is represented by the large shopping mall. it is an ark pavilion where the history and memories of the city are embraced and displayed to the diners and visitors.

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images by hiroyuki oki



the shopping mall adjacent to this project is a huge three-story building with a total floor area of about 160,000 square meters, visited by 200,000 people a day. the project is in a triangular site, the southeastern side of the mall. takashi niwa architects created dynamic transitions with varying spatial scales to sensibly guide the visitors into the dining space from the massive shopping mall. the access is designed as a three-dimensional landscape with the main entrance being located on the second floor. one approaches the restaurant by gently ascending to the flower garden. the visitors are then greeted by a tall atrium – 1.5 times higher than the typical mall’s ceiling height, creating a striking entrance to the restaurant.

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above the pair of pizza ovens that are located in the heart of the restaurant, the designers placed 9 north-facing skylights with varying sizes to provide soft and gentle natural light into the dining area. benjamin trees are planted next to every window, which will eventually grow taller to shade the building from intense tropical sunlight. the soft and filtered sunlight from the trees and sight of leaves swaying in the breeze give visitors a memorable dining experience. in the evening, lit-up trees emerge above the void, highlighting the massive vertical space.

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the city of hai phong, with its terminal port, has many industrial materials available. the space was realized by using these materials together with natural light. upon arrival, visitors are greeted with curtains made of light metal chains. the entrance and dining area are softly separated by these chain curtains and layers of creeper plants. the chains are also used on the façade, railings, and as supports for the creepers. they reflect the sunlight from the skylights and vertical slits, creating an ever-changing natural light.

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lighting fixtures are recycled from robust marine lighting found in the dockyard. each of them has a different shape, bringing uniqueness to the space and creating an emotional atmosphere. the terrazzo floor around the pizza ovens is embedded with a pattern made of diagonally cut brass rods at intervals of 50 cm. this pattern is also applied to the ovens, adding intricate details that evoke the industrial atmosphere of the city. the upper floor has three types of terrazzo with brass cutouts, which are embedded throughout the corridor, creating a subtle yet interesting walking experience.

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a brick feature wall behind the ovens acts as a textured backdrop to the dining area. local fire bricks are used and arranged in simple yet dynamic pattern. these patterns change depending on where one stands and direction of the light, like ripples in the ocean. the railings along the void are made of three different materials: steel plates, steel chains, and wooden members. these materials, selected from the city’s fabric, provide a visual and tactile experience drawing guests closer to where they are.

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project info:


name: ark pavilion for pizza 4P’S

designers: takashi niwa architects or takashi niwa, kyohei takahashi, nguyen van khuong, akash ganguly, lakshay jasoria, rhiddhit paul, jules seguineau, tran quang duc

client: 4P’S corporation

location: 10 vo nguyen giap street, hai phong city, vietnam

site area: 840 sqm (9041.68 sqft)

photography: hiroyuki oki


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: yasmina karam | designboom