Beautiful Vietnam
HCM City wavers in preserving French villas
  • By Quoc Anh | | April 29, 2016 04:22 AM

Many old houses and villas in HCM City have been demolished or have been left to deteriorate while the city authorities lacks comprehensive management regulations or support policies for the owners.


A deteriorating villa in HCM City

The villas are preserved if they are museums or state-owned houses. However, a large number of them are private properties that have not been taken care of properly. Some villas are too dilapidated that they are no longer inhabitable.

The 500 square-metre villa on 138 Chau Van Liem Street is converted into a parking house. Ngo Thanh Hien, the owner, said her family had tried to renovate the villa but because of cumbersome administrative procedures and huge costs, they abandoned the place. "It was too damaged. Three generations lived there but now I have to sell it," she said.

Nguyen Truong Luu, chairman of the HCM City Association of Architects, said the villas had not been classified or added to the preservation list. The authorities also do not have management regulations or support policies to help owners preserve their houses. “People are demolishing the villas,” Luu said.

Director of Moc Lam Architect Company Tran Ngoc Lam said in order to successfully preserve old villas, they must take into account many factors such as their historical and architectural values as well as their roles within the surrounding environment. He went on to say the old villas were evidence of the city's development and would bring in huge profit if preserved and showcased in a right way.

Nguyen An Tuan, deputy director of the Architect Research Centre under the Department of Planning and Architecture, also said as the villas were often located in prime locations in the city centre, they had high commercial and service potential, high-rises were replacing the old villas due to the cost of the land. District 1 and 3 once had 500 villas but this figure has plunged to just 228.

"Not only have most of the villas on Hai Ba Trung Street been replaced with modern architecture, even their surrounding buildings have changed. And it has had a huge impact on the city landscape, the uniformity in height and the architectural form is broken," Tuan said.

Nguyen Thi Hau, deputy head of the city's Institute for Development Studies, said they were facing difficulties as few people have knowledge about renovating French villas, not to mention that preserving and renovation cost money.

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