HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

By Quynh Tran   September 22, 2020 | 03:33 pm GMT+7
HCMC Fine Arts Museum has subsided and developed cracks, paint is peeling off its walls, and its fences and gates are tilting.
HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

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

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

On Le Thi Hong Gam Street, the museum’s two gates are deflected and cannot be closed properly. The banner, put up by the museum, reads: "Warning, dangerous area, please do not come close."

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

The museum's fence, two meters high and 50 meter long, is "waving" and tilting outwards.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

A guardhouse is also damaged with cracks and sloughing walls.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Cracks on the main staircase. According to the museum, after construction of a commercial skyscraper began next door in 2012, three of its buildings have sunk and suffered cracks on walls and floors.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Inside the first building of the museum, there are many cracks to the walls, with two of them up to three meters long. Many of these have been sealed for further investigation. Some decorative patterns have peeled off and littered the ground.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

The base of a pillar in the museum with relief work cracked under the pressure of a subsiding building. In March 2017 relief work in the first building of the museum fell off and was restored with the assistance of the skyscraper contractor. After several years, the construction was resumed in late 2019, further affecting the museum badly.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Pillars on a balcony in a museum building that subsided. Coteccons, which is building the skyscraper, suggested installing support along the tilting walls, but this was rejected, according to museum director Tran Thanh Binh.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

A huge crack on the floor fixed with glue.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Covering three-floor buildings and housing around 21,000 artworks, the museum welcomes around 200,000 visitors per year. Entry costs VND30,000 ($1.29).

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Officially opened in 1992, the museum is housed in a villa built in 1929 for Hua Bon Hoa, a Sino-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.

HCMC museum’s century-old buildings face threat from skyscraper construction

Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports recently suggested the municipal People’s Committee ask the Department of Construction to work with the contractor and related parties to restore the museum’s fences, gates, and floors by October 8; and provide a solution to restore the three buildings and guardhouse by November 19.

 
 
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