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VietNamNews

Landmark restoration provokes fury in Huế

Update: January, 12/2017 - 08:00
Old glory: A closer look of the pavilion’s rooftop before restoration work. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu
Viet Nam News

THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — Anger broke out on social networks when it was discovered that an iconic building in the former imperial capital city of Huế had been changed completely while being restored.

Following online opposition to the change, experts have expressed concerns over the authenticity of the building after its restoration.

On Monday, Phan Duy Đăng, a resident of Huế, posted a picture of Quốc Học Pavilion in its final stages of restoration on his Facebook account, in which the pavilion has been painted bright yellow, different from its original earth  yellow colour.

Đăng’s photo spread across the network and many around the country shared the photo to express their concern over the lack of authenticity of a Huế landmark and their anger over careless restoration work.

“I must speak up over this. The heritage items are common legacy and we shouldn’t allow anyone to destroy them,” said Đăng.

Dr Trần Đình Hằng, director of the Việt Nam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies in Huế said the impact of careless restoration were not just the change in colour, but the architectural patterns on the pavilion.

“They cleaned the original patterns off the building and this is unacceptable. No restoration method uses hammers and metal chisels on complicated concrete patterns, which happened here,” he said.

Dr Trần Đức Anh Sơn, a researcher working in Đà Nẵng’s Institute for Socio-economic Development, said on his Facebook page that restoration work on a heritage item differed from house repairing, in which authenticity of the item should be the top priority.

The constructors said the colour would fade after sunny days and had no worries over the authenticity. They also explained that no one knows the exact original colour of the building because only black and white photos of it could be found.

But Hằng refuted this, saying he owns a collection of colourful photos of the building in earth yellow. He said experts and the public should be consulted over restoration work.

Nguyễn Cẩn, director of the Huế Controlling Centre for Parks and Urban Flora System and head of the pavilion’s restoration project, told local media that consultation work had been done with the local department of culture and sports and the Huế Monument Conservation Centre, a body which has been blamed for changing many old buildings in Huế.

The Việt Nam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies in Huế requested authorities of Huế City to answer to researchers and the public over the case.

The pavilion was built in 1920 on the southern bank of the Hương River and opposite to the old Quốc Học High School’s memorial of Vietnamese and French soldiers who died in World War II. Recently, the pavilion’s foundation needed reinforcement to it would not collapse. — VNS

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