Saigon skyscraper investor submits museum repair plan

By Ha An   September 25, 2020 | 04:28 pm PT
Saigon skyscraper investor submits museum repair plan
HCMC Fine Arts Museum (R) stands next to a skyscraper construction, September 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The investor of a downtown skyscraper that has allegedly damaged the century-old HCMC Fine Arts Museum submitted repair plans to city authorities Friday.

The repair work will involve constructing a reinforced concrete foundation along the walls at the fence area, guard's house and showroom's warehouse, repairing damaged pillars to return them to the original designs and repaving the pavement on Le Thi Hong Gam Street, according to the proposal from the Saigon Glory Company, a member of the Bitexco Group that has invested in a commercial skyscraper bordering four central streets in District 1.

The construction unit will remove the museum’s iron gate and the fence section, a tilted wall in the showroom and repair the gate’s pillar with reinforced concrete. City officials have reportedly agreed to allow the investor to use the sidewalk on Le Thi Hong Gam Street while carrying out the repair project.

The repair proposal came after city authorities on Tuesday asked the municipal Department of Construction and related agencies to order the investor of the skyscraper to carry out urgent repairs to parts of fences, gates and floors of the museum and return them to their original design by October 8.

The city government has also required the investor to contact authorities to inspect and evaluate the quality of the three buildings of the museum to work out feasible solutions before November 19. The construction department has been asked to report remediation results to the administration before November 26.

The damage

Pillars on a balcony at the HCMC Fine Arts Museum has been damaged, September 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

Pillars on a balcony at the HCMC Fine Arts Museum has been damaged, September 17, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.

In March 2017, relief work on the first building of the museum fell off and was restored with assistance from the skyscraper contractor.

According to the investor's representative, following the incident, the unit has carried out more than 75 monitoring runs to track and fix the cracks in the first building of the museum under the supervision of the center for preserving and promoting cultural historical relics in HCMC.

"This was to ensure safety and aesthetic values of the city’s historic works," the representative said.

"The museum is not only a place to keep artifacts bearing cultural and historical value but also a significant architectural art relic of the city," the source said, adding that it was not possible to provide an estimate for the total repair cost.

Officially opened in 1992, the museum is housed in a villa built in 1929 for Hua Bon Hoa, a China-rooted businessman. With its U-shape and blend of eastern and western styles, the museum was the first building in Saigon to have elevators in the early 20th century.

Currently, more than 21,000 artifacts are on display at the museum, which attracts 200,000 visitors a year.

Located on a 3,500-square-meter plot in District 1's Le Thi Hong Gam Street, the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum has suffered a lot of damage in the last few years, especially the first of three buildings in the complex, the guardhouse, and fences.

According to the museum's managing board, the damage was caused by construction of the nearby commercial skyscraper, which began in 2012.

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