Lotus design for Hanoi's new largest theater not everyone's cup of tea

By Vi Vu   July 31, 2017 | 07:00 pm GMT+7
Lotus design for Hanoi's new largest theater not everyone's cup of tea
A still image shows the lotus design selected for Hanoi's new theater.

The lotus may be a symbol of Vietnam, but it might have outgrown its popularity when it comes to new building designs.

Hanoi has revealed the design for its largest theater – a six-story building with six giant lotus flowers rising up from a lake.

In a country where more than half of the population is online most of the day, the project has once again started a lot of chatter.

A common theme seems to be people asking if the spending is necessary, or if the money should be used for schools, hospitals and roads.

But this time, there’s a new debate that can be summed up in one word: “Again?”

The public appears to have had enough of lotus-inspired constructions.

The transport ministry has also chosen a lotus-themed design for Long Thanh Airport, a multi-billion dollar international airport in the southern province of Dong Nai that will be the largest in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City’s tallest skyscraper, Bitexco, also bears the image of a lotus bud.

And that's just to name but a few.

Members of the public say that the image is being “abused” and is getting “boring”, adding that designs that copy a real object are uncreative and dated.

Experts are also objecting to the latest idea.

Tran Nhat Khoi, a university lecturer in Hanoi, said designs are often based around a traditional icon, but "it does not have to be a lotus every time,” he told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

His colleague Khuat Tan Hung said the designers are applying a biomimetic design, which is not a good idea.

He said a successful design should be inspirational, like the Sydney Opera House.

The theater in Cau Giay District, originally named "Lotus", will cover four hectares (10 acres). The main auditorium is designed to hold 2,000 people, while the entire building will be able to host 25,000 guests.

Officials said construction is expected to be completed next year. The estimated cost has not been revealed.

The city hopes that the theater, together with four horse race tracks which will be started later this year, will bring in more tourists.

Hanoi aims to attract 4.3 million foreign visitors this year, up 7.5 percent from 2016.