HCMC seeks to conserve pre-1975 villas

By Le Nam   October 6, 2019 | 02:15 am PT
HCMC seeks to conserve pre-1975 villas
A villa built from colonial time in the center of HCMC's District 3. Photo by VnExpress/Son Hoa.
HCMC is set to announce policies for the conservation of old villas to safeguard its architectural heritage and stop unauthorized demolitions.

The People’s Committee instructed the Department of Construction Management to keep an eye on the city’s nearly 900 villas built before reunification in 1975, and ensure they are not demolished or altered.

The Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies has categorized 65 villas into two categories for conservation. The first tier consists of 16 buildings with defining architectural values, which are to be preserved exactly as their original forms.

One of the most prominent villas in this category is at 110-112 Vo Van Tan Street.

The century-old French-style building was sold to a private date company at $35 million in 2015.

The beauty and architectural sophistication of the 2,820 sq.m villa at the corner of Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street have stood the test of time.

Experts say its architectural and historical values match those of buildings like the Saigon Opera House, Ho Chi Minh City People's Court and Museum of Fine Art.

Other buildings in the first tier include one at 33 Le Quy Don, which houses a restaurant called Gao; 60 Vo Van Tan, which serves as the head office of travel company Hoa Binh; and 124 Cach Mang Thang Tam, which used to be the Colette Junior High School.

The second tier consists of the remaining 49 villas, and due to their significant cultural, historical, and architectural values, the conservation policy is to retain their architectural structure.

There have been several recent demolitions of old buildings.

There used to be 1,300 pre-1975 villas in the city, mainly on streets such as Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Le Quy Don in Districts 1 and 3, but they are steadily disappearing.

Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, which used to have 53 of them, now has only 24 left.

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