Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Hanoi Architecture - also unique

One of our tour companions is a well-travelled architect.  He remarked that he had never seen any place like Hanoi in terms of architecture.  According to our tour guide, the houses all had narrow frontage due to a law that limited lot sizes. Even if the owner had money, he could only build up, resulting in tall, narrow buildings.  If his neighbour did not have enough money to build on his entire lot, the rich owner could ask him to sell some footage so he could build a wider house - this was evident in our drive through town and on our way to Halong Bay.

This shot from the rooftop of our hotel captured the mishmash of buildings that made up Hanoi.

A renovated shop beside what looked like a row of French colonial style houses that are wider than normal, probably built before the establishment of standard lot sizes.

This is an original 17th century house in the old quarter

The pink house here had likely added footage from its neighbour

The house on the left is standard size, the yellow one in the middle had clearly bought some frontage from the house on the right that seemed to be narrower than the standard sized house on the left.

Another example - the two houses in the middle had clearly bought from neighbours on either side.

This shows two houses sharing an entrance corridor

Would you call this a green roof??  or a house with a plant-loving owner...

In complete contrast is this traditional community hall from the 17th century - there are community halls in every neighbourhood.  This one has some elaborate wall carvings in the internal courtyard.

Communal hall sitting area

A restored traditional house on Mah May Street
An internal courtyard was typical of traditional houses - it really brightened the living area

Second floor of traditional house
The restoration of traditional houses here was a joint project with the French government - definitely worthwhile aid to preserve at least parts of the historic quarter in Hanoi for future generations.  

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