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Preserving “urban memory” needed for Hanoi: Experts

In Hanoi, it is possible to see more or less similarities in the way the space is built compared to many successful models in other countries.

Sustainable design, execution and operation of industrial heritage reconstruction projects in Vietnam is the way to preserve Hanoi's “urban memory”. Experts have given some ideas on transforming industrial facilities into creative cultural spaces in the capital city.

Pham Thuy Loan, representative of the Asian Industrial Heritage Conservation Network in Vietnam, member of Network for a Livable Hanoi:

In 2020, when conducting surveys and assessments of industrial facilities, the staff of the Network for a Livable Hanoi could not enter these factories to do their work. They could only do so with the accompaniment of environmental officials, which showed that the heritage value of industrial buildings is not well understood.

 Pham Thuy Loan, representative of the Asian Industrial Heritage Conservation Network in Vietnam

If we open the industrial facilities so that everyone can access them or take pictures and clips, the architectural and aesthetic value of these works will surely be a great surprise. Hanoi has 92 industrial establishments that need to be relocated.

Based on the results of the 2020 surveys, we can conclude that there are many opportunities in Hanoi associated with these industrial facilities by transforming them into public, cultural and creative spaces to serve the community.

When it comes to moving factories out of the city center, Hanoi should make a list of valuable architectural works to plan appropriate actions.

Hanoi faces great challenges in terms of population pressure, scarce land funds for public works and social facilities. Although there are good policies, we have not played well in the role of social supervision related to their implementation. Finally, we found that many works that had not yet been evaluated as the factory buildings have been demolished after vacating.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, Artistic Director of Heritage Space:

Reusing or transforming the space of industrial facilities into a new artistic and cultural complex is the aspiration of artists, individuals and organizations involved in independent creation.

Specifically, they are making efforts to organize activities, create connections and enhance cultural values in a context of limited resources.

 Nguyen Anh Tuan, Artistic Director of Heritage Space

"I had the opportunity to visit some models of reconversion of industrial facilities, old buildings into more valuable spaces, I realized that the first people who came here were artists, young people, poor students. They went to old and abandoned buildings, almost worthless, and then created a life here doing practical work such as painting, exhibition, crafts, among others.

Since then, they have made space gradually become more commercially valuable. These models have been successfully built in many countries around the world, including Germany, the UK, France, China.

In Hanoi, it is possible to see more or less similarities in the way the space is built compared to many successful models in other countries.

Architect Pham Trung Hieu, lecturer at Hanoi University of Architecture:

The reconstruction of industrial heritage is to restore the old structural layers of the city, to give back to the citizens of Hanoi the memory of a bygone era. A creative space that will not only serve the creators, but also be a place to awaken the sense of community through the process of interaction, observation at a glance, self-implementation.

This energy will blow a wind of creative thinking into social life. Hanoi needs a strong starting point for a cultural-creative space system to activate the inexhaustible inner resources of the city.