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The “Crazy House“ in Vietnam: remarkable artwork that surpasses people’s imagination

David Goran

Hằng Nga guesthouse, popularly known as the “Crazy House”, is an unconventional hotel in Vietnam that looks like a fairy tale castle.

It’s a remarkable piece of artwork that entirely surpasses the limits of people’s imagination. The building is the brainchild of the architect Dang Viet Nga, a Vietnamese architect and daughter of Truong Chinh, a Vietnamese communist political leader, theoretician and the president of Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh.

Left - Entrance sign. Right - A cave-shaped stairway. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

Left – Entrance sign. Right – A cave-shaped stairway. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

She received a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Moscow and attributed the inspiration of her buildings’ design to the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and the natural environment surrounding the city of Da Lat. Originally built as a personal project by Dang Viet Nga, the Hang Nga Guesthouse opened in 1990 in Da Lat, Vietnam and gained immediate recognition for its unique architecture.

Designed by the eccentric Vietnamese architect and impressionist Dang Viet Nga. Photo Credit

Designed by the eccentric Vietnamese architect and impressionist Dang Viet Nga. Photo Credit

 

Dang Viet Nga built this unique structure entirely from personal and private funds. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

Dang Viet Nga built this unique structure entirely from personal and private funds. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

Nga’s design features odd and weird looking shapes, twist and turned tunnels, wooden carved furniture, split yet interconnected levels, branches and trunks. Rather than using standard architectural plans as blueprints, Nga used hand drawings and hired non-skilled artisans to build it.

It was designed to remind visitors of the integration of nature within a living, breathing environment. Photo Credit

It was designed to remind visitors of the integration of nature within a living, breathing environment. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

There are five levels and each of the ten guest rooms has a different animal theme and its own meaning. Examples include the tiger room (refers to the Chinese), the ant room (represents the Vietnamese), the eagle room (describes the American), each with decorations matching the theme.

The tiger room Photo Credit

The tiger room Photo Credit

The interiors of the buildings are eccentric and original. Furniture inside the rooms is handcrafted, and sometimes even built into the rooms themselves, to match the rooms’ nonlinear, organic shape.

Stairways and hallways inside the building are designed to resemble tunnels and caves while both the exterior and the interior of the guesthouse are created and decorated with curvy organic forms and very few right angles.

The guesthouse’s exterior is decorated with twisting organic forms. Photo Credit

The guesthouse’s exterior is decorated with curvy organic forms. Photo Credit

In 2009, the guesthouse was listed as one of the world’s ten most “bizarre” buildings in the “Chinese People's Daily“. Photo Credit

In 2009, the guesthouse was listed as one of the world’s ten most “bizarre” buildings in the “Chinese People’s Daily“. Photo Credit

 

A work still in progress... Photo Credit

A work still in progress… Photo Credit

Regarded as a “museum” of dreams, childhood and abnormality, the “Crazy House“ is a work in progress and has been expanding since its beginning in 1990. Nga has a plan to add up more constructions and finally complete the guesthouse by 2020.

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