Vietnam recognizes colonial finance fortress as national monument

By Ngoc Thanh, Van Pham   August 27, 2016 | 06:00 am GMT+7

The magnificent mansion served both colonizers and liberators.

Hanoi served as the capital of a vast region known to French colonists as Indochina, encompassing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The desire to bring "civilization" to the agricultural colony in the Far East gave birth to a whole new style of architecture stemming from the combination of the exotic land and the romanticism of the French.

Photos by Hoang Duong

This is the headquarters of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located at 1 Ton That Dam Street, near the famous Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Photo by Hoang Duong

It used to be the Indochinas Department of Finances under French colony in Vietnam during the first half of 20th century and since the October 3, 1945 served as the headquarters of Vietnams Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo by Alistair Morrenger

It used to be the Indochina Department of Finance under the French during the first half of the 20th century. Since October 3, 1945, it has served as the headquarters of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo by Alistair Morrenger

The Indochina s Department of Finances.

Indochina 's Department of Finance.

The mansion was designed in 1924 by eminent architect and town planner Ernest Hebrard (1875-1933), head of then Hanois urban planning agency, had its first brick laid in 1925 and its last three years later. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The mansion was designed in 1924 by eminent architect and town planner Ernest Hebrard (1875-1933), head of then Hanoi’s urban planning agency. The first brick was laid in 1925 and the building was completed three years later. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Indochina architecture, distinguished by carved screens and the roof beams influenced by Oriental temple design, was employed through roof system, especially central roof with multi-storied roofs, covering windows and hall roof. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Indochinese architecture, distinguished by carved screens and roof beams influenced by Oriental temple designs, stood out with the dormers that covered windows, roofs and balconies. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Balcony roofs, the line of roof along the mansion, tower roof, chimney roof and triangular roofs on top of each building also part of the roof system. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The dormers were a key part of the building's intricate design. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The roof system plays a significant role in preventing rains, sun. Large roofed windows with outer glass and inner shutters and ventilating holes above the windows, close to the ceiling and at wall and floor intersection to ensure the best micro climate in no matter what happens outside. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

They also play a significant role in shielding the building from the rain and sun. Large windows protected by dormers with inner glass and outer shutters provided the best ventilation to ensure a comfortable climate whatever the weather. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The ventilating holes, room and balcony windows together width brick walls as thick as 80 centimeters act as the non-electric air-conditioning system to the whole mansion, preventing the humidity to penetrate through the walls. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Ventilation ducts and brick walls as thick as 80 centimeters were the air-conditioning units of that age, preventing humidity from penetrating the building. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Nearing its 100th year, the mansion is one of the rare examples of untouched French colonial era's architecture. On the afternoon of August 26, Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism officially recognized the mansion as a national monument.

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