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[Photos] Hanoi's Stunning Koi-Inspired Cafe Has an Entire Ecosystem Inside It

Designed by a group of architects at Farming Architects, the "Koi Cafe" in Hanoi is not only an architectural gem but also a self-sustaining aquaculture and hydroponics eco-system. 

Renovated from a three-story house with a front yard, the cafe features a koi fish pond, an indoor waterfall and a rooftop vegetable garden. The red facade that resembles fish scales gives the building a traditional look akin to many Champa brick temples built in central and southern Vietnam dating from the 7th century.

The architects cite inspiration from urban agriculture and the mythology of the koi fish, a symbolic carp in Japanese culture. According to a Chinese mythology that is also very popular among Vietnamese, a carp will be able to transform into a dragon once it has leaped over the Dragon's Gate, which is a waterfall located on the Yellow River in Hunan Province, China. The myth resulted in the proverb 鲤鱼跳龙门 li yu tiao long men (the carp has leaped through the dragon's gate) as a metaphor for persistence, courage, and success.

The waterfall, fish pond, and vegetable patches on the rooftop function as the main organisms in the building's ecosystem. The waterfall helps to change water and create oxygen for the fish; wastes produced by the fish are transferred to the rooftop where they are transformed into nutrients for the vegetables; the vegetables help purify the pond's water and are also harvested to prepare dishes in the cafe.

Take a look at the building below: 

[Photos by Nguyen Thai Thach via ArchDaily]

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