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Architecture of Vietnam

Most ancient Vietnamese architecture was either built from wood and has not lasted or was built by the Chinese, most commonly in the form of tombs and other funerary monuments. Most of these monuments are simple in architectural form and are most well-known for the furnishings found in the tombs than are the tombs themselves. However, a couple of these wooden stupas (1300s) have survived and are housed in the But-Thap in the town of Bac Ninh (near Hanoi).

Under the Le Dynasty architecture began to develop more aggressively, however the greatest changes during this time were in urban planning, not in construction or design. The goals during this time were to incorporate religious monuments into the city plan and to make cities flow better from a visual and logistical standpoint. Unfortunately, none of these cities survive in full today.

Alteration in design and style took a great leap with the Palace of Hue (1800s). This building incorporated numerous traditional aspects and some Chinese elements while modernizing and was considered one of the finest structures in Vietnam before it was destroyed in 1968 during the Vietnam War.

Also during the 1800s the French had colonized the country and began building numerous French-styled buildings. Although many of these were destroyed later, numerous examples still exist in most large cities.

During the early 1900s traditional buildings were continued, most commonly in a style that was closely related to Chinese styles. However these, and many earlier works, were destroyed during the Vietnam War in the 1950s-1970s.

Since 1970 some more traditional appearing buildings have been built, but the modern movement, along with the technology from this and earlier movements has arrived in stronger force. Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are home to numerous modern building, constructed from concrete, glass, and other modern materials.

This page was last updated: July, 2012