Planned hotel by Hoan Kiem Lake debated
Ha Noi authorities approved a plan to construct a new hotel in September at 22-32 Le Thai To Street, formerly home to the two-storey supermarket Intimex. The approval, however, has raised eyebrows among architectural specialists.
Tran Huy Anh, a member of Vietnam Association of Architects, said the association has submitted a document to Ha Noi’s People’s Committee on the architectural structure and aesthetic value of the hotel that is planned to be built.
Most members of the association agreed that the new building should function as a service, commercial centre and hotel; however, its architecture does not suit the architectural space and landscape surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, a special national site, they said.
They argued that the facade of the new hotel would not mesh well with the surrounding buildings, and that the size of the pillars and entrance are not standardised, especially the architectural details and colours, which evoke a sophisticated but strange artistic impression.
“The area surrounding Sword Lake is pretty sensitive and draws attention from authorities of all levels and specialists; therefore, the original architectural space and landscape of the special national site should be preserved,” Anh said.
According to Pham Sy Liem, former vice chairman of Ha Noi’s People’s Committee, the construction of a hotel by the lake is acceptable, but needs to take two main issues into consideration.
“Firstly, it should have two stories like the previous supermarket, or have three stories like the surrounding buildings, but must not be built higher because it might break the harmony of the landscape and make the area around the Sword Lake smaller,” Liem said.
“Another problem is how to prevent hotel construction from affecting traffic in the area, which is often crowded,” he added.
Bui Thi An, the National Assembly Deputy of Ha Noi, thinks a hotel shouldn’t be built on ‘golden land’ – an area demonstrating all the special features of the city.
“Ha Noi does not lack land so seriously that a hotel has to be built on limited space by the lake,” An said. “However, the plan can be taken into consideration if the building of the hotel can contribute to the city’s economy significantly.”
“Otherwise, I suggest the local authority reconsider this decision, because the city’s population is expected to be distributed equally instead of being focused densely in central Ha Noi,” she said.
An also suggested that a landmark to commemorate the thousand-year-old capital should be constructed rather than a modern hotel.