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New Bridge Project Sparks Controversy Over 'Confusing' Indochina Design

Tran Hung Dao Bridge, an upcoming project across the Red River, has recently received mixed reviews around its Indochina-inspired design. 

According to Vietnam News, the future bridge is supposed to be a combination of contemporary culture and ancient beauty, starting from Tran Hung Dao Street (Hoan Kiem District) and linking Nguyen Van Linh Street (Long Bien District) with a total of six lanes for vehicles.

TEDI, the company behind the bridge’s design, wanted to encapsulate the idea of the flow of time, for the bridge is a link between the historical areas to the south of the Red River and the more recent ones in the north. The 5.5 kilometer-long bridge is also named after General Trần Hưng Đạo, one of the greatest military strategists in Vietnamese history. 

However, the current bridge design, titled “Xứ Đông Dương” (The Land of Indochina), has been badly criticized by many professional architects. Trần Huy Ánh, a standing commissioner of the Hanoi Association of Architects, told Tuoi Tre that while other new bridges across the Red River have 11 meters of clearance over the river, the Tran Hung Dao Bridge is very low, just 4.75 meters above the water, making it difficult for ships and rafts to pass through. 

In a statement sent to the Hanoi’s People Committee, the Vietnam Architects Association said that the bridge’s design does not resemble the Indochina style but a “forced imitation, lumping together elements of Middle Ages Europe.” The statement goes on to say that if the designers want to borrow from colonial architecture, they should only follow the core spirit of stability, poise and elegance. 

Responding to the critical opinions, Director Nguyễn Trúc Anh of the Hanoi Department of Planning and Architecture said that this design is not the final approved version, but only a possible option. In the near future, the city will consider organizing an exhibition and collecting comments from citizens to either improve the current design or submit new ones.

[Image via VnExpress]

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