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Architecture College to Renovate Da Lat's Abandoned Franciscan Mission

Recently, the University of Architecture HCMC (UAHCMC) announced plans to renovate Da Lat’s abandoned Franciscan mission. Due to the popularity of the complex among locals and tourists, the building’s rehabilitation has stirred debate.

The Franciscan mission consists of the Benedict (Biển Đức) dormitory and Franciscaines School for Girls. The facility covers seven hectares and is located at 20 Hung Vuong Street, Ward 10. Between 1930 and 1940, architect Alexandre Leonard built the complex based on Paul Veysseyre’s design.

Since the buildings are over 80 years old, there are numerous structural deformations, and reconstruction is seen as inevitable.

According to Tuoi Tre, the structures have had many uses over the last 50 years. In 1969, it was the Việt Nữ School of Commerce; then, and then it belonged to the School of Advanced Cultural Training. Around 1980, Tân Phú High School used it as its campus. Before UAHCMC took over, 20 families were squatting in the dormitory. They have now been moved out.

Trương Duy Hùng, Vice Director of the Training Center under UAHCMC, told Thanh Nien that there are many damaged areas of the proprty.

Most of the roofing, for example, is on the verge of collapse, while many rooms are badly dilapidated. Hùng said in Vietnamese: “During the renovation process, we will only clean and repair damaged roofs. We only replace the materials only when there is a missing tile.”

The plan’s primary goal is to restore the buildings without disrupting their signature look, which mixes Vietnamese modernism with more European styles. Thus, the university will maintain five main areas, and will reportedly not demolish any of the main components.

The renovation is expected to last about a year.

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