Symposium-Urban Renovation in Asia II
Date： 17, Dec. 2005 (Sat) 13:00-17:00
Place: Large/medium meeting rooms, '80 Building, Ichigaya Campus of
"Hochiminh, Cholon - Buildings in Chinatown"
Tran Khang, Professor, School of Architecture of Hochiminh city-Vietnam
The report focused on the formation history of Cholon, a Chinatown
located in southern Vietnam.
For long periods, Vietnam is one of the safest land for Chinese emigrants.
Many Chinese had been immigrated into Vietnam escaping from political
evolution, flagging economy, etc.
Because Vietnam is a neighbor of China, emigration to Vietnam is not
so difficult for Chinese. In addition, monsoon affect the season of
emigration; from November to April when the wind is typically north-east,
emigrants to Vietnam increased. Chinese merchants went to Vietnam at
that season, and back to China during April to November when the southwestern
The year of 1679 marked the important step of the Chinese emigration
to the South Vietnam. Tchen Tchang Tchuoan and Yang Yen Ti, the military
officers loyal to the Ming dynasty, led 3000 soldiers and their relatives
with 50 warboats to Danang. They were permitted by Lord Nguyen phuc
Tan who wished to avoid diplomatic problem with Qing dynasty, to be
settled in the far-off South land in South Vietnam. In 1698, Load Nguen
established Giadinh Province and occupied the South Vietnam. The Minhhuong
village was established in the place of present Cholon. Minhhuong village
was developed very fast and in the 1770's, the village became the great
market with more than 10.000 inhabitants. And in the beginning of the
19th century, Cholon became one of the largest commercial centers of
the South-East Asia. In 1859, French colonized the South Vietnam. The
number of Chinese was continuously increasing and in 1940, the Chinese
population in the South Vietnam was estimated to be 380.000.
Cholon is located in the area encircled by Geneal Beilly St. in the
east side, Charles Thompson St. in the north side, waterway in the
west, and Tau Hu Canal in the south. Many waterways were flowing in
the city, where boats were navigating. The townscape of Cholon was
composed by the shophouses and colorful Chinese temples. Shophouses
were built contiguously between streets and back roads. Their width
was often ranged between 4 and 5 meters. The depth of the house was
at least two to three times of the width. In the early 19th Century,
one-storey shophouses began to be built. They were built of wood or
in brick, and the roof was tiled. The fire protection law established
in 1865, prohibited thatch, wood and bamboo to prevent fire, and shanties
were demolished. Bricks and tiles, roof tiles were commonly used instead.
In the main street, one-storey and two-storey shophouses were built.
In later years, two-storied shouphouses became representative. Traditionally,
the two-storey shophouses provided the business and stock spaces on
the ground floor and the living spaces on the upper storey. Three storey
shophouses were built in the years after the First World War. The front
facade of the shophouse was built in Chinese traditional styles or
in the Western architectural styles.
The architecture of Cholon's shophouse is very creative and worth to
be one of the architectural characteristics of the cultural heritage
of Hochiminh city. But regretfully, till now there is no effective
program of conservation for architecture in Cholon. And in reality,
many shophouses of value were demolished. This is a great loss of the
cultural heritage of Hochiminh city. When this loss will be recognized
and stopped? Nobody knows.
the my tho port]
[Fig.2 the bird-eye
photo of the old senter of cholon]
the map of saigon cholon]
the two-story houses]
windows flanking a sentral door]
Singapore River-Renovation of Life Line
National University of Singapore
Heng Chye Kiang (王 才強)
The waterfront renovation was realized in Singapore in relatively early
period comparing to other Asian countries.
The report focused on the process of conservation and renovation project
during the recent 20 years.
Singapore had functioned as a trading core since the 14th century.
The excavation of Suez Canal in 1869 reduced the distance between European
countries and Asia. Singapore began to serve more important roles as
a trading center of Eastern and Western countries.
Singapore rapidly developed during the period between the 1850's to
the middle of the 20th century. Along with the growth of the city,
rivers were more and more actively utilized, and the pollution of the
river became one of the critical problems around the 1950. Though reports
of river pollution were often found in that period, river cleaning,
and dikes' renovation were not implemented because of the lack of resource.
Houses, hog farms, farming plants, food stalls were lined along the
river, and wastewater, discharged water, table waste, etc. were thrown
into the river. The water pollution was growing worse and worse.
The situation changed with the statement of the Prime Minister in February
1977, outlined as follows:
The way of living to clean water is to be searched; we need a solution
for the pollution of all rivers; our goal in future 10 years, will
be the river where we can even fish." The background of the shift
was the political top-down leadership typical in Singapore.
To realize the above decision, all ships were once removed from the
river. Moreover, general plan became necessary including improvement
of infrastructure, reuse of existing buildings and streets, etc.
Although the dikes were repaired, bridges were built, waterside areas
were improved, and water were cleaned, activities were lost instead.
The radical modernization of the area sacrificed "oriental mysterious
atmosphere" and "good old shophouses", and resulted
to the marked decline of the number of tourists. Then, various master
plans were prepared to revitalize the river.
Now I will outline an important speech of Deputy Prime Minister in
1984, concerning history and conservation.
Our history is short and heritages to be conserved are limited. Therefore,
we have to defend them against destruction by developers, government
and officials because they often wish to demolish unprofitable heritages.
Common historical recognition will serve to link people from various
places, so conservation of urban heritages will play an important role
for social continuity, identity and solidarity"
As seen above, conservation plan was based on the ideology, adding
to the financial aspect−the Deputy Prime Minister aimed to gather tourists
by renovating the physical structure to provide oriental mood.
Renovation plan designed several sightseeing districts (with each theme),
by reorganizing existing attractions into each characteristic zone.
Individual guidelines (including height restriction) were also prepared
for proceeding the renovation.
Currently, festivals, ceremonies, races like ragatta are periodically
held, inviting many inhabitants and tourists. In addition to the above
waterfront activities, the projects to activate the river are in process,
such as lighting plans, promenade deck construction, etc.
"World Heritage and Formation of Landscape-Waterside
of Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome and Itsukushima Shrine"
Associate Professor, School of Human Science and Environment, University
The report aimed to clarify the difficulties in the formation process
of urban landscape named as world heritage, focusing on a conflicting
relationship between conservation of waterscape and economic principle.
The important themes are "water and city", "size of
landscape", and "waterfront economy". From the viewpoint
of urban planning, water is difficult theme; because jurisdiction is
different between water and land, the continuity of landscape is inevitably
divided. The waterscape covers vast areas. In addition, waterfront
is important for economic land. Therefore, the conflict between conservation
and economy composes one of the major problems.
Now I will explain the relationship between core zone and buffer zone
in view of the world heritage. Core zone is literally a core of heritage
conservation; and surrounding areas are designated as a buffer zone.
Through case studies of world heritage, I will explain the relationship
between a heritage and a landscape. The first example is Itsukushima
Shinto Shrine, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996,
and conserved as wooden monument on the seashore. The shrine is vulnerable
to the flood damage because of its location. The core zone of Itsukushima
Shrine is the mountain side of the island, and the buffer zone is the
whole island. The souvenir shops and townhouses along the edge of the
mountain are not included in the core zone; however, the district will
be designated a Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings
in the core zone and compose continual landscape. The mainland across
the Itsukushima was traditional exclusive residential area. The developments
of apartment complex and factories prevent the continuity of the landscape.
This shows the confliction between the landscape and economy.
In the next example is Onomichi-city, which wishes to be registered
on the World Heritage List. This case shows new issues of historical
urban area. Because of aging of society, depopulation, and flagging
economy, vacant houses have increased. In addition, the characteristic
of Onomichi like "urban puzzle" with combination of various
land use, complicates the urban planning.
The third example is Atomic Bomb Dome. Various technologies have been
utilized to conserve this extremely fragile building. The core zone
is the dome, and the buffer zone is Peace Memorial Park and its surrounding
area including both banks of the river. The negative legacy of the
war, was initially conserved mainly based on subscription of citizens,
because the dome was not gathering attentions at that time. However,
the plan of Kenzo Tange presented for the competition on the Peace
Memorial Park began to attract lots of attention. The plan allowed
the dome to be inserted into the existing urban structure. To conserve
the landscape, restrictions on advertising displays or facade were
imposed on surrounding buildings. On the other hand, some people consider
that the consumption and architecture as symbols of economic recovery
will generate impressive contrast with the dome as a memory of war.
In any way, the registration on the World Heritage List will generate
various concepts of values, leading to so-called globalization of historical
Currently, there are over 50 sites in Japan waiting to be nominated
as heritage site. In this period of rush for the World Heritage List,
it will be required to understand the sites based on citizens' feelings
and history beyond the existing systems, and to link them to the original
Atomic Bomb Dome]