Century-old Saigon villa stuck in conservation quandary

By Duy Tran   May 28, 2017 | 03:39 pm GMT+7
The owner has been told she must retain its original colonial features rather than knock it down to build a new property.

The villa, built in 1921 on what is now 137 No Trang Long Street, Binh Thanh District, is covered in weeds and could collapse at any time.


The 443-square meter villa has been in limbo for around a year as city authorities consider it a heritage building due to its age and colonial style. This means its original structure has to be preserved and the owner is not allowed to knock it down to build a new house.


Toppled timbers inside the house. A woman from the neighboring Binh Duong Province bought it in June and was having it pulled down before authorities stopped her.


A neighbor said the house has become a home for stray cats. “The owners just come once in a while to have a look while the authorities are just ignoring it.” 


Early this month, she sent a petition to the city’s construction department asking for permission to demolish the rest of the house, but no approval was given.


Some reliefs from the house were sold at an antique market in the city before authorities stepped in.


The house has been mentioned in historical records as one of the most beautiful villas of the former Saigon.

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