New buildings seek harmony with old
HCM CITY — Harmonising new buildings with old ones is a key requirement for the planned makeover of the city centre in HCM City.
|Ben Thanh Market, an iconic old building in HCM City, is now surrounded by a number of new high rises. Harmonising new buidings and old ones is at the core of the city's urban planning. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
The area, comprising of Districts 1, 3, and Binh Thanh, and parts of District 4 spreads over 930 ha and has many iconic old buildings like Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sai Gon Post Office, City Hall, and Opera House.
The plan is also having 100 high-rise buildings, modern traffic infrastructure, and other requirements for an increasing population and commerce.
"[But] the new buildings must be in harmony with old ones, that is the common wisdom for any construction," Ho Quang Toan, deputy director of the city Department of Planning and Architecture, said.
Rules would be drafted for the preservation of each of the old buildings, he promised.
For preserving French-style villas, the department has categorised them into three levels of conservation. Those situated in schools and hospitals would remain unchanged.
Level two will apply to villas with outstanding architecture but situated in areas meant for construction of new buildings. It will see portions altered to fit the new buildings.
Villas in level three will be demolished if necessary.
Changes to structures near landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral will be allowed where they will have no impact on the old buildings. But the changed structures should have a similar paint to those used in adjacent buildings or be light coloured.
If an iconic building needs to be repaired, the work must ensure the original remains unchanged and be done in consultation with the approval of architects and historians.
The construction of additional roofs on the front of old buildings will have to be carefully considered, and they should never be at a level higher than that of the building.
The city also plans to build boat, bus, and metro stations, to ease traffic and make it flow smoother in the centre.
Toan said infrastructure would be in place to handle traffic when the 100 new buildings come up.
The central part would be divided into five sections with different functions and urban standards.
A 212.2-ha portion of District 1 bifurcated by Le Duan Street will serve as the city's cultural and historical centre.
The remaining 92.3ha, will serve as a financial and commercial centre.
The other three sections will function as residential areas and have a population of around 150,400.
The population in Districts 1, 3, and 4 will be limited, with more persuaded to move to Binh Thanh.
A model of the re-planned centre is on display for residents to offer opinions. — VNS