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Saigon art museum seeks help over subsidence

Thursday, September 17, 2020, 13:55 GMT+7
Saigon art museum seeks help over subsidence
A man rides a motorbike past a gate of the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts on Le Thi Hong Gam Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in this undated file photo. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre

The management board of the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts is calling for help as its buildings and facilities are subsiding due to the construction of nearby high-rise buildings.

The Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, located on Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1, is the city’s largest art museum.  

The museum spans three three-story buildings which house an extensive collection of Vietnamese sculptures, as well as oil, silk, and lacquer paintings.

The main building was constructed by French architect Rivera between 1929 and 1934 as a villa for the family of Chinese-Vietnamese businessman Hua Bon Hoa.

In recent years, cracks have been spreading across the walls of the museum’s buildings and perimeter. 

Other issues include tiles in some lobbies and its yard peeling, the museum gate on Le Thi Hong Gam Street no longer being able to open, and damage to several reliefs on the museum rooftop and frontage which cracked and fell to the ground in 2017.

According to the museum’s administrators, the subsidence began at the same time as the start of construction works on the basement of a high-rise project on Le Thi Hong Gam Street, which faces the museum.

Following reports filed by the museum, the city’s Department of Construction and inspection units stepped in to identify the cause of the damage.

However, the inspection team came to no conclusion on the exact cause of the subsidence as there were three high-rise buildings and one metro project under construction near the museum all taking place at the same time.

Eventually, the museum had to pay for repairs using funds from its own budget.

In a recent proposal to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, the municipal Department of Culture and Sports requested that the investors of the construction projects in the area take measures to fix, preserve, and repair the museum's damaged items.

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