Vietnamese architect Nguyễn Khiêm teaches a class at the University of Architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, in addition to practicing architecture at his own firm. In a recent classroom exercise at the university, he instructed the students to read and analyze a Vietnamese translation of a presentation I had put together to exhibit my ideas about Vietnamese modernist architecture from the mid-twentieth century. KTS Khiem has published two of the student responses so far on Facebook, and the responses are what I had always hoped for — an increasing awareness amongst Vietnamese of the tremendous accomplishment of the Vietnamese people in developing this modernist architecture on their own.
The first student response can be found at this link, in Vietnamese language: https://www.facebook.com/nkhiem/posts/pfbid02mx6yJAGwY4owd2dWLRT42URmYRVnS6khUC7VQRZaZzRSWtZNkwh7paWhhGAaHZhgl
I am especially gratified in this response that the student now realizes that the modernist architecture in Vietnam was not produced by foreign architects, and now sees that Vietnamese modernist architecture is stronger than global modernist architecture. The student was happily surprised that the Vietnamese people themselves had developed Vietnamese identity in their vernacular houses.
The second student response can be found at this link, in Vietnamese language: https://www.facebook.com/nkhiem/posts/pfbid0YSXGaUbFkkYeobS1axrCkTq5LXoUGvHykdph82XKUqc3XxNQYfJCAxFMWSkhUsWHl
This student was reacting to a statement the student had heard from many architects that "Vietnam has no characteristics of architecture”, and the student now realizes that Vietnamese modernist architecture, developed by Vietnamese themselves, is a much richer version of modernism than the global modernist architecture seen around the world, and therefore Vietnam does have its own characteristic architecture.
I am happy that the student questioned whether a foreign architect like myself could determine accurately Vietnamese identity in this modernist architecture. By visiting the buildings mentioned my book, the student came to the conclusion that I had adequately done so.