Page 1

Thien Nguyen

Architecture / Landscape / Urban Design Portfolio 2011-16

My hope is that this document will impart on you an expression of my interest, process, and devotion to real and imagine spaces, issues, and the different fields within the industry. This document has been condensed to make it more manageable and useful. Rather than having multiple foci through each projects, the aim was to comprise this document into three sections that are chronologically sorted and fitted within each genre of exploration and learning. The first is the confrontation with fundamental and principle, then followed by the formation of urban thinking and strategy, and lastly the negotiation of professional practice in relevant works.

Contact: C: (912)224-7638 E: W: Address: 31 Oliver St. Apt 4C New York City, NY USA 10038

Expertise Urban design / Green infrastructure / Masterplanning Thien Nguyen is an architectural and urban designer with experience in streetscape design, green infrastructure, master planning and campus planning. His work is focused on environmental stewardship, tactical urbanism and urban transportation systems.

SKILLS Programs: Autocad, GIS, Rhino, Sketch-up, V-ray, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Unity3D, experience with scripting languages: HTML, CSS, JAVA, Video Animation and Editing (After Effects, Premiere, etc...) Proficient model maker in a variety of fabrication tools, methods and materials Langauges: English / Vietnamese

Education: Harvard Graduate School of Design / Cambridge, MA Master of Architecture Urban Design 2015 Rhode Island School of Design / Providence, RI Bachelor of Architecture 2013 Bachelor of Fine Arts 2012

EXPERIENCE AECOM - Urban Designer (June 2015 - present) My work with the Landscape and Urban Design studio was a range of different projects types from conceptual competitions to projects that were under construction. I assisted in a number of projects through all stages of design, and was the project captain for three large scale urban proposals. These tasks included conceptualizing ideas and management of tasks, to creating a cohesive message across AECOM’s large and diverse business lines. Interned for Sasaki Associates, 2013 Urban and campus design studio + planning Preparing project proposals, planning reports, and masterplan schematic designs Design Consultant for Pari Riahi Architects Inc, 2011-2013 Partnered in a number of landscape and interior design competitions worldwide Interned for Form Tomorrow, Utah 2011 Form Tomorrow is a non-profit organization committed to helping local communities to achieve better urban planning for the future and the preservation of their natural environment. The first project was a study of dispersed camping and for safe alternatives proposal in the ecologically sensitive and flood prone Zion Canyon corridor. The second project created much needed existing and propose a future zoning maps for the town of Virgin, Utah based on intensive public input, meetings, and interviews. Manual Representation TA + Digital Representation TA, Rhode Island School of Design, 2010-2012 Assisting students to expand on the technical and creative quality of drawing and drafting as a mean of construction and representations of ideas and concepts

References Gonzalo Cruz / Principle at AECOM NYC Landscape and Urban Design Studio E: #: 212-377-8498 Brandon Cappellari /Technical Leader at AECOM NYC Landscape and Urban Design Studio E: #: 212-377-8492 Susan Bemis / Urban Planner at AECOM NYC Landscape and Urban Design Studio E: #: 212-377-8436 Jorge Silvetti / Professor of Harvard GSD + Principle at Machado Silvetti E: #: 617-426-7070

-Table of ContentsDate



Section 1

Fundamentals and Principles



Home-Less Depot



Digital Construct





A School Along The Charles River



The Pinwheel and New Mill



Providence Musing knowledge District



Future Islands



Narrative cites

Bank Building

Section 2

Urban Design Thinking and Strategy



Mapping The Margins



P.S. Palimpsest



Industrial Renewal Precedents






String & Stitch - Together & Again



Chamame, Museo Del territorio guarani

Section 3

Relevant Work Experiences



Milwaukee Lakefront Plaza, Milwaukee, WI.



Cleveland Front Plaza



New Meadowlands



Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency



Chicago West Side Resiliency



Southwest Brooklyn [Ongoing]


Fundamentals and Principles

Fundamentals and Principles

Things That Move

Methods and Process -


of Designs

[Home]less [Depot]action works to produce temporary and mobile architecture by using ready-mades and materials from Home Depot with minimal need for constructions. Issues of permanence, architecture, and homelessness are use as metaphorical construct to produce an object lying between the realm of avocation and utility, such as when a shopping cart is transformed into a home.


Digital Construct - Collaborative Project Thien Nguyen/Scotty Carrol/Bradley Jordan de Vries From the outset, our group was attracted to the gallery’s two protruding V-shaped walls and the potential they held for an architectural intervention that was multidimensional. Focusing on the gallery’s absence of functional elements, such as seating and tables, we developed a system that would contain these components as well as divide the gallery into intimate spaces and a common gathering area. The formal exercise was focused on experimentation with materiality, and how to engage the space by creating different programs and allowing the project to have multiple uses and lives. This desire manifested in a project which had many different ways of configuration, as one entity or multiple, and one that would be seamless and continuous from one moment to the next. The continuous surfaces allow the program to shift and move, and spaces to be inverted along the intervention’s edges, allowing exterior and interior to blend and blur.

Things That Are Fixed 7-12

The second floor of the bank building is a beautiful space that has been overlooked. Gone are the gold of eras past. The building is a memory to another time. She is now draped with young ambition and talent. She is still grand and regal, her walls are solid and thick, and her dress decorated with elaborate moldings and plaster works. She opens up to the sky so that one can feel the warm light on sunny days, grey and blues passing through with the rain, and the loneliness of a cold night. Over the years people may have forgotten her, but her grace still shines beneath the sawdust and mean machineries about her. She doesn’t need much now to be restored to her former glory. Though her role has changed, perhaps she just needs a stage to sing her song to enchant her subjects again.

13-16 Elementary

School Program on the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This urban campus ties the existing fabric of the city to the water by bridging over the present highway and traffic congestions and becomes another nodal point of gathering and crossing along the Charles River. Programs are delineated by verticality, scales of structure, materiality, and raised pathways, but ultimately it is the reunion of city, landscape, and water that is most celebrated.


This project envisions the transformation of a mill building’s life from one of production into a lively junction for the surrounding communities. The existing building at 91 Hartford Street in Olneyville is incredibly spacious, light, and airy, yet its gridded skeletal structure poses an obstacle and a solution. By using the ubiquitous courtyard housing typology as a precedent, a modular system had to be devised to celebrate the openness of the original building and transition the spaces into private homes. All the housing units are grouped around a courtyard with each unit facing an opening by creating an alternating pinwheel pattern. Every 4 units form an interior block which creates a cross intersection that is structural. This cross intersection also supplies the units with utilities, leaving the courtyard side free for personal modifications, and circulation. With each unit being at least 400 ft², it is comfortably suited for one, and therefore by aggregating two or more units to form an array of different housing typologies, it is possible to create a diverse neighborhood.


Musing About a City – Providence’s Fourth District Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Caitlin Weisman Our project creates a new district for Providence (Knowledge district) that not only reconnects the existing fabric of downtown, Jewelry district and the East side, but can also exist as a separate entity. At the urban scale, our urban strategy follows two existing grains – one that stretches from I-95 and connects to Friendship Street, and the other that continues the grain of downtown (Dorrance, Orange and Peck Street). Both axes meet at a civic core along the waterfront, anchored by three towers that represent the three districts – the unification of the new city fabric and the old. A pedestrian bridge utilizes the old piers and connects the new core to the East side. At the block scale, larger urban blocks allow the creation of independent interior blocks. Buildings meet the hard street edge in contrast to the porous flexible pedestrian only interior corridors within each block. These interior blocks expand to create moments of rest, mitigating the scale difference between urban and individual scale by overlapping the spaces of both. On the East side, the existing building scale is maintained. At the building scale, light and views of the activities inside each building guide the public from the busy street edge up onto podiums or down through terraced landscapes. One moves from the street edge towards gathering spaces, which open up to light and views, and culminates at the waterfront.


Future Islands attempts to imitate the city through the isolation of its typologies and topographies. The basic topologies of cities are defined and rearranged to fabricate to create a new visions of the city as fantastical, mysterious, and dreamlike places. An attempt was made through a series of drawings and models that playfully imitated and created cities that ranges from physical impossibility and theoretically flawed to imaginative restructuring of real urban fabric.


The Narrative Cities are explorations into urban systems that are stretched and morph by narratives into absurdities. Drawn on gridded paper, the cities navigate between the rational of order, systematic complexity, and intricacies of life. Each contains a story about its formation, function, and ideology. They were inspired from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, and by my stay in Italy.



Home-less Depot

Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Scotty Carrol/Bradley Jordan de Vries


digital construct


Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Scotty Carrol/Bradley Jordan de Vries



Bank building









Campus on the Charles River




Mill building diagram


Aerial drawing/site map/axon of vertical opening


Unfolded 3rd floor plan


Long and short sections


Exploded axonometric of one apartment system


Perspective of interior courtyard

Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Caitlin Weisman





Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Caitlin Weisman




Interior courtyard perspectives/section

Collaborative Project: Thien Nguyen/Caitlin Weisman


Working site model evolution


An apartment view


Future Islands





Narrative cities





Urban Design Thinking and Strategy


Urban Design Thinking & Strategy-

39-40 Mapping The Margins

This project explore the relationship of being homeless in New York and the support of public infrastructure to mitigate its effect. It overlays data sets to reveal an aspect of society that is often ignored but is deeply a part of the urban fabric.

43-54 P.S. Palimpsest

By rethinking and adjusting programs, temporality opens up new spheres of urban space to create new typologies for diversity and use. This exercise of maximizing use was done through a series of land banking and redevelopment on public land and infrastructure, and the collision between institution and housing.

55-62 Industrial Renewal Precedents

These studies are based on successful model of post industrial site renovation into valued cultural programs. The study was done in anticipation of the impending China’s post industrial transformation.

63-78 Shekou & The Pearl River Delta Region

China Merchant Group is among the top 4 largest and most profitable SEC in China. The shipping industry is being phased out of Shekou, and CMG see the sites as a new model for sustainability and equity.

79-88 String & Stitch - Together & Again

Muharraq is the old capital of Bahrain, and the sea was its lifeblood. The highways built in the 60s cut off its relationship to the water, but this new intervention see another type of public infrastructure bridging over this highway to reconnect the city to the sea.

89-100 Chamame, Museo Del territorio Guarani

The Guarani indigenous culture is in very facet of life near this northern region of Argentina, bordering Paraguay, and on the banks of the Parana River. Only until recently have people begun to celebrate and preserve its rich history. A museum along the river will give Guarani culture and artifacts a home.




P.S. Palimpsest

A New Typological Urbanity Thien Nguyen & Chen Ling Professor: Anita Berrizbeita

S1. Our previous research explored the overlapping social welfare network relating homelessness to a multiplicity of public systems and an infrastructural network that reconsidered its impact locally but also its contingency in the larger region. This marriage of these two researches and the revelation from our first site visit where we noticed that the agencies of the city often placed school playgrounds in residual spaces helped to focused us onto the networks of public school in New York and to analyze the residual spaces on their respective lot and ponder, what are the possibility of these residual playgrounds and how could they respond to the imminent issues and forces of the city. S2. This slide reveal how these campuses are interlock within networks of civic program, open spaces, and ownership of the city. It implies an existing overlapping densely populated scenario where the viability of maximizing residual spaces is not only a possibility but an opportunity. S3. Leaving the figuration open, we pieced together the existing networks of public school where the agency of the city and its agenda could aligned and a strategy of programs and forces could unite these sites into a campus that could affect the larger fabric of the city, allowing us to imagine a different definition of campus. S4. This catalog of public schools in proximity to the studio area of interest relates their configuration, dimension, and ownership to their adjacencies and allowed us to moved into a finer grain as we focused on 001 and 015 as prototype for an urban densification of the block. The color red denotes city owned properties with a school on its site. S5. Here we see 001 and 015 at street level, usually looking onto the residual playground and to imagine if these spaces could be fully built out based on their zoning F.A.R. and how a mixture of programs could multiply programmatic functions without the duplication of spaces and eliminating spatial redundancy that could encourage a richer urbanity. For a short example, all schools contain a cafeteria but what if we could reinvent this temporal program to also perform after hours as a way to serve the city’s food program. Because its traditional functionality usually ends after 2pm, what if this space could be reuse from 4-8 to provide meals to the needy afterward, and therefore would attempt to address one issue of the city while the school in return for sharing its territory with overlapping use would be compensated with an additional space or program. S6. This prototype of densification with overlapping use of public and private could produce a richer notion of the city owned spaces as multi-functional that are only differentiated by programmatic temporality and sovereignty, three issues which we tried to remediate within the chosen sites are housing, parking, and the improvement of the playground residue into a focused and intentional space.

With a zone of R7 and an FAR of 4, the residual space fully built out potential is roughly 130,000 sqft, our agenda is to provide the school with a playground FAR of 1, cafeteria and facility to feed 1000 at 6000 sqft, circulation, open space ratio, civic spaces, and facilities at 40% of the remaining FAR leaving us with 65,000 sqft for residential units and at 350 sqft/units @ below market rates of $1,200 per units that’ll generate 190 units. This allows us to imagine how the densification of program could generate an incubator of urbanity that could play to promote simply exercise and active play, interrelated program and use, overlapping multifunctional spaces that starts to address issues such as New York’s housing crisis or supporting the city food program. This is the inclusion of the multitude of agencies and forces and direct that momentum into and its desire is not dictated by any one overriding force. S7. This spatial analysis and how they would start to inform the architectural framework that would really starts to inform spaces as in the case of 015 where the close proximity of three schools and a vacate city owned lot reveal an actual connective campus in real space and how we can rethink schools and how they could resonate on the fabric of the city. This diagram reveals how a new introduction of programs could function in a 24 hour day and reimagine their intensity and interaction with one another. S8. We started with a desire of multiple programs and move into site massing and strategy To try to create an architecture that affects and tie its surrounding and to operate as a gathering space for the city S9. After several study, we came to a conclusion that the architecture should be consider as movement and pauses through spaces that breaks away from the Cartesian of the grid and that this string of action could start from one end of the block that tie into a larger and existing network of parks where the similar sense of urban logic could be applied to amplify use and aesthetic. Limits were applied in regard to programmatic requirements, such as a third floor gym with full size basketball court or the space need of a school. S10. Here we can see that we have tried to maintain the school’s sovereignty, control, territory through a series of isolated vertical circulation that connects to the roof playground while the larger movement of the body could access different program from a wide range through landscape, ramps, stairs, and public spaces S11. We end with a rendering that proposes what this movement would feel like, while keeping in mind that the focus is on rather the larger effect of how an activated urban system could transform static spaces into a vibrant community.




















PERMANENCE & TEMPORALITY SHEKOU & THE PEARL RIVER DELTA REGION Urban Design & Planning Studies In: Obsolescence and Pathways to Redevelopment: The Shekou Industrial District in Shenzhen, China Professor: Peter Rowe Thien Nguyen & Orcun Tonyali

Site: Shekou, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China Coordinates: 22.476358, 113.889956

Shekou is an industrial shipping port city managed by China Merchant Group, one of the largest and most profitable State Owned Enterprises in China. The study area is a prime strategic location within the Pearl River Delta that can connect the hinterland to Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Currently, shipping is the only industry within Shekou but urban developments have already sprung up around the peninsula, as well as the explosive emergence of Shenzhen just to the east. Therefore within 20 years, Shekou will also undergo a radical transformation of urbanization, from shipping to a diversify dense urban center that looks to become a new model of city building in Asia that utilizes its locality, recourses, and human capital to build a sustainable and livable city.
















String & Stitch / Together & Again Socio-Environmental Responsive Design Professors: Balinda Tato Jose Luis Vallejo By: Thien Nguyen & Chen Ling

This project proposes what a more robust mass transit system could do for Bahrain, it’s possibility as a systemic urban strategy and how public spaces can be utilized and enhanced in this system. It’s motivation is to provide greater accessibility and efficiency, but its goal is to create a cohesion between the many urban fragments. Our investigation of Muharraq led us to create an architecture that would looped and solidified these fragments. This continuum in space is a bridge that would enhance the daily lives and experiences of Bahrain. It would also reform many lost connections such as the relationship between the sea and city. Bahrain is a small country located in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain means two seas and has a history that dates back to over 5000 years. Most of Bahrain’s urban areas are concentrated in the North, while desert covers the interior and south. Bahrain is an island and water plays a vital role in every aspects of its past and present. Land reclamation since the 1960s have changed the coastlines of Bahrain. Historic cores that once bordered the water are now landlocked.

One of the major issue within Bahrain is the fragmentation of its cities. This transpired within the demographic and built environment of the country. Only 46 percent of the country is Bahraini. Migrant workers account for 77% of the workforce while also doing 98% of the low paying jobs. The average wait time for the bus in Bahrain is 40 minutes. Making it impossible to get around by public transportation. Bahrain will need a mass transit infrastructure 4 times larger than today to adequately service the country. Promoting accessibility and alternative mobility are the keys to Bahrain’s future. We offer a vision of how an expanded mass transit infrastructure might change Bahrain, with lateral and vertical development that can sustain systemic growth and improve the urban context by making accessible public spaces and more vibrant communities. But the heart of our project connects Manama, the capital and Muharraq, the historic city into a necklace serviced by shuttles and a transport hub, and with stops at significant social, civic, and commercial areas. The architectural intervention that will link this connection is a bridge that spans from the historic city’s fabric, over a transit hub and highway, and into the sea. watch?v=Z7TJhFSwTtw

This new bridge serves several purposes. It is made of a lightweight wood and steel construction that allows for it to span great distances. It uses textile to provide climatic comfort, and sustainable technologies to power itself. It starts at the old Muharraq’s suoq which is accessible from the Pearl Trail, a cultural route with several important historic landmarks, and establishes a covered public space that can be used throughout the day as the new fish market or a gathering place at night. The Muharraq suoq also marked the border of the water in the past, since the suoq were usually situated to meet the ships and their goods. This relationship of the old city to the water has been lost due to land reclamation. The bridge continues over a road and becomes an elevated transit hub for below. Further along the bridge, it crosses over a highway built in the 1960s that further isolate the historic city from the water. The bridge continues all the way into the water and ending with a floating barge that welcomes people to interact with the sea. The end point stitches back the old fabric of the city to the sea, while jumping over several obstacles to be functional as a pedestrian path, transit hub, and public space.










Chamame, Museo Del territorio guarani Scenarios: The Parana River is the border between Argentina and Paraguay. Its river bank is fertile, lush, even romantic. The river has always been a life line of the region dating back to the indigenous Guarani tribes. The river brought the missionaries inlands, with them a force that forever changed the landscape and culture, and today the river provides 25% of Argentina’s electrical power need through the Itaipu Dam. The site of this project sits along the bank of the river, up a hill, and currently is a federal prison. But on the ground is an ancient ruin that once was a missionaries church. The ruins tell the pivotal point in history for the region and is a major link to the past that is both mysterious, magical, and contentious. A museum seems appropriate to bridge this gap to the past, to teach and preserve the indigenous culture flowing and scattered along the riverbank, and perhaps provides a direction of hope for the future.













Relevant Work Experiences

Relevant Work Experience at AECOM

105-112 Milwaukee Lakefront Plaza, Milwaukee, WI.

The Hanging Gardens of Milwaukee is first and foremost about connecting to the lakefront. Investing in this critical piece of infrastructure affords a strategic opportunity to provide park-like amenities and programming on day one. More than just a way to get from Point A to Point B, the Garden Loop draws people to and through the lakefront, serving as the ‘heart’ of a lakefront renaissance. The second phase capitalizes on this new vitality and accessibility, further enhancing park program, capacity, and cross-lakefront connections. The Hanging Gardens of Milwaukee will ultimately deliver a fullyconnected, all-seasons lakefront. -Eric Wright The Milwaukee Lakefront Plaza is an elevated landscape infrastructure that will bridge over the existing freeway, enhance the lakefront experience, and reinforce the iconic architectural history of Milwaukee. The bridge forms several loops within itself to elevate over the freeway, enabling dynamic views in very directions, and opportunities for floating gardens. The bridge and plaza from a technical aspect will utilize sustainable materials including local plants, and a sophisticated rainwater catch basin system.

113-116 Cleveland Museum of Natural History Front Plaza

This project envision a nested landscape for the central courtyard and a multi-faceted forested front plaza. The design of both invokes a primitive landscape of local fauna and materials, with furnitures and planters shaping the sloping geometry. The central courtyard is the heart of the museum that connects all the exhibitions and provide a natural contemplative setting. The paving and circulating Motif resemble a large ancient dinosaur’s nest. Major consideration went into how the courtyard could be transform into an event space, and the management of water runoff through sustainable technologies. The Front Plaza incorporates undulating hills to create an engaging environment for children to learn and play. It creates a balance relationship between the museum’s new additions and the surrounding landscape.

117-118 New Meadowlands Integrating transportation, ecology, and development, the project transforms the Meadowlands basin to address a wide spectrum of risks while providing civic amenities and creating opportunities for new redevelopment. The Meadowpark is a large natural reserve made accessible to the public will offer flood protection. It connects and expands marshland restoration efforts by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, and makes them accessible. The Meadowband defines the edge of the Meadowpark, offering flood protection, connections between towns and wetland, and opportunities for towns to grow. The Meadowband consists of a street, Bus Rapid Transit line, and a series of public spaces, recreation zones, and access points to Meadowpark. The park and the band protect existing development areas. In order to be worthy of federal investment, it is imperative to use land more intensively. Within the larger framework of New Meadowlands, we have identified three pilot areas to host the first projects.

Project Captain

119-122 Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (BIG U Proposal) Much like in the winning competition project the Big U, the AECOM + BIG team want to build on the existing designs and the existing community support for them. At the same time, the team is aware that a closer look, new insights, or a different weighing of urban benefits, cost, feasibility and risk reduction can lead to different solutions. As illustrated on the following section, we’ve begun to conceptualize new efficiencies at all levels. The concepts represent very preliminary thinking that we hope to further develop as we move the project forward. We have taken a sample of a few sections to give you a general sense of our commitment to the entire project, including areas not visited during the competition process. - Joel Sonkin

123-132 Chicago West Side Resiliency, Chicago, IL. Urban designer for and urban scale green infrastructure resiliency proposal for the west side of Chicago. The project employs a network of various green infrastructure strategies to reduce flood risks in this vulnerable region of the city.

Southwest Brooklyn - Ongoing

Milwaukee Lakefront Plaza Competition






Typical Garden Loop Walkway Section The walkway portions of the Garden Loop feature a planted outer edge, wide circulation path, and interior bench-lined edge for rest and taking in views.

Vegetation Creeping Vines, Perennials, Native Shrubs Walkway Precast Concrete Hanging Garden Trellis High-Strength Stainless Steel Support and Frame, Stainless Steel Wire Mesh Handrail Stainless Steel Support Frame High Strength Structural Steel Walkway Skin Shaped Metal Paneling, High Performance Coating Walkway Underbelly Stainless Steel Paneling, Mirror Finish Support Column Interior, High Strength Structural Steel Exterior, Stainless Steel Cladding, Reflective Finish



11 10



1 8




The Garden Loop & Gateway Plaza


Clybourn Street Boulevard


North Meadow Gardens


Little Hill at South Lawn


South Meadow


The Couture


Milwaukee Art Museum


Discovery World


Festival Grounds


Cudahy Gardens


Lake Michigan








Cleveland Museum of Natural History Front Plaza





Milwaukee Lakefront Plaza Competition



Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (BIG U Proposal)

A Protected Edge We learned a lot from Sandy. Our local geography has become very vulnerable. Our charge is to protect the island from all the physical and emotional damage that a storm of this magnitude could create. We look at this set of engineering operations as opportunities. These investments for new infrastructures allow for not only for physical protection but a new set of public and environmental benefits that the southern tip of Manhattan much needs.





Chicago West Side Resiliency, Chicago, IL.











TN Nguyen 2016 Portfolio  

Portfolio for Architecture

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you