Sword Lake in Hanoi - Vietnam
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|Author(s)||Duy Phan Do|
|World Heritage||if applicable,enter the year of listing|
Why is this case relevant?
- Mentioning about Hanoi-the capital city, the most place that comes to their mind is Sword Lake, a symbol and iconic landscape of the capital in particular and of the country in general.
- Sword Lake is a natural freshwater lake, located in the center of the capital city, which connects the Old Quarter with the French Quarter built more than a century ago. Sword Lake is like the heart of the capital with many historical, cultural, landscape and ecological values. Around the lake is a walking street and growing a variety of flowers and plants.
- Sword Lake used to be called Green Water Lake since the water has a special green color that is rarely seen in other lakes. The name Sword Lake (or Lake of the Restored Sword) appeared at the beginning of the 15th century, associated with the legend of King Le Returned the sword to the turtle at the first period of the nation. So, Sword Lake has a very important historical meaning.
- In the process of development and urbanization, Sword Lake has changed. The rise of some buildings had a negative impact on the landscape as well as the historical value of the lake.
Which idea of ‘design with nature’ guides the design concept of this site?
- Sword Lake is now situated inside a complex of monuments such as Turtle Tower in the middle of the lake, Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower in the surroundings, making a colorful natural landscape picture.
- Located right next to Sword Lake is the old quarter - which was recognized as a national cultural monument. Sword Lake with the water and a variety of vegetation system is also home to the rare giant turtles. From the map, you can see that the study area includes the water surface, the surrounding green space, and walking street, along with the historical and cultural monuments in this landscape complex.
- The purpose of the study is to figure out a strategy and solution to improve the quality of landscape however to preserve the historical and cultural values of Sword Lake.
Which challenges is this landscape facing?
- About the opportunities and the current values that the lake has.
- First, Sword Lake has a great historical value associated with the stages of country formation. Along with the hundreds of years old monuments that are still preserved.
- Second is the value of the landscape. This is a natural lake with a system of trees and gardens with a variety of plants. Some of them are the very old trees. Along with the old architecture from the previous century.
- About the location, The lake is located in the heart of the capital, in the north, it is the old town quarter that was built in the 18th century, and The French Quarter in the South that was built in the 19th century by French people. In addition, the area around the lake that can be reached by foot is a great number of attractions, shopping, and restaurants. These show that the lake has many opportunities to become a green walking area, a historical and cultural complex of the city.
- However, in the process of development and urbanization, this symbol is facing great challenges.
- The first is the rise of new buildings that lack of architectural and landscape management. This leads to the lack of harmony of these new buildings with the existing landscape. The streets around the lake were partly built in the 17th-18th centuries with old architecture like red tile roofs and wooden windows. The rest was built during the French Colonial Era in the 19th century with the works of French architecture. However, due to the lack of management, the new buildings that are mostly administrative buildings and offices often have modern or combining architecture that is unsuitable for the surrounding landscape as well as the history of the area.
- Second is the traffic challenge. Because the lake is located in the center of the city, where many main roads intersect, the roads around the lake are always overloaded, especially in rush hours leading to traffic jams, smoke pollution, noise. This has a negative impact on the landscape here.
- Another challenge in this area is the lack of open spaces for communities, meeting points, area for children, and other social activities. Because of the large volume of traffic, the access of people to the lake space is also more difficult. In addition, many public areas are occupied by parking lots, shops or other business purposes that undermine the beauty of the area. I think With a place of many historical and cultural values, the sword lake should be a green area for culture and community rather than a traffic island.
What would be your strategy for improvement?
In order to make positive changes to this heritage area, my overall idea is to create a sword lake as A Historical-Cultural-Comunity Park.
- At present, the lake is playing a role as an Administrative, Shopping, Recreation center; the main traffic axis; a Golden estate that has a lot of economic value. These things are gradually losing the beauty as well as the historical and landscape values of this area. So to create a sword lake as a cultural and historical park for the community, my strategy is:
- Instead of becoming an administrative and shopping center, the area should be designed to be a historical and cultural center. Along with the existing monuments, combined with the buildings with functions as museums and art galleries, create a cultural complex around the lake. This will preserve the traditional values of this heritage area.
- To reduce the negative impact of traffic, the roads around the Lake should be transformed into the walking area, and create more open spaces for community activities. This area has a lot of advantages to becoming a walking area. If this is done, it will not only bring positive effects to the landscape of the lake but also make it a more attractive destination for people as well as tourists
- The visualization of some ideas for improving the landscape around the lake.
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