Vietnamese Mansions Posted by Kandle Dart on Jan 18, 2022 in Architecture, Art, Culture, Travel, Vocabulary
Since Vietnam reformed its economic policy and direction in the 1990s, its economic has growth and has been described as a miracle. The economic boom has created many money-making business opportunities for a lot of enterprising people. As a result, a whole new “red bourgeois” class was born over the past twenty years with a group of nouveau riche (super rich individuals).
In Vietnamese, nhà tỷ phú means a billionaire, nhà triệu phú means a millionaire, and the term đại gia is used to indicate a rich person in general.
With so much cash available while labor and raw materials are still cheap, new housing construction has popped up everywhere like mushrooms from the big cities to the countryside. Tử bắc vô nam (from north to south), especially in large cities like Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Ninh Bình, Thanh Hóa, Đà Nẵng, and Sài Gòn, some notable unique buildings are worth mentioning. These luxury villas and mansions with unique architecture and interior design were all recently built within the last ten years, at outrageous costs in comparison to an average Vietnamese income.
The Vietnamese word for villas/mansions is biệt thự, castle is lâu đài, and palace is cung điện. I’ll use these Vietnamese words extensively in this blog. Let’s visit some interesting houses.
CUNG ĐIỆN THÀNH THẮNG (THANH THANG PALACE)
“Cung điện Thành Thắng” situated in Ninh Bình city, built in 2016 and completed in 2019 by the businessman Mr. Đỗ Văn Tiến. The construction site was around 3.6 acres on an approximately 7 acres lot. The building has 5 floors, around 27,000 sq ft of living space, with its height equivalent to eleven storeys. The cost was in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
With this mega size, it’s the biggest and tallest private home in Vietnam at the time of completion, as well as in Southeast Asia. It appears to me that Cung điện Thành Thắng’s architecture and design emulate the European Rococo style.
What you see in the below YouTube video is a brief tour of the Cung điện Thành Thắng.
As you can see from the video, cung điện Thành Thắng is quite flamboyant, very ornamental with intricate woodwork from walls to ceilings. According to the YouTube narrator, cái đèn trùm (the chandelier) in the house is gold plated and imported from Iran.
BIỆT THỰ GHÉP GỐM (MOSAIC VILLA)
This luxury biệt thự is quite impressive because it’s known for the extensive design using gốm (pottery, ceramic) mosaic. Completed in 2017, the owner, who owns Quang Minh Mosaic in Bát Tràng village, Gia Lâm county, Hà Nôi, used over 2.5 million pieces of gốm in his home’s mosaic design. It’s recognized as the largest biệt thự ghép gốm in Vietnam. For centuries, Bát Tràng has been known for its pottery industry. If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, do make a trip to Bát Tràng to see how the artisans here make pottery.
Below is the YouTube video about this biệt thự ghép gốm.
There are many more large biệt thự in Vietnam these days. Most of them seem modeled after Western architectural styles than Asian styles. Land has become outrageously expensive. Of course, only the super rich đại gia could afford to build these large, luxury houses.
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