Local experts and architects have expressed concern over the design of a subway project in Hanoi, with one of the aboveground entrances and exits to be located near the capital’s iconic Hoan Kiem Lake.
As a national relic, Hoan Kiem, commonly known as Ho Guom or Sword Lake, has its surrounding areas strictly protected, so any kind of construction to be developed there should be carefully considered, according to local architects.
The government does not ban, but restricts construction near the lake, and all projects must limit their impact on the historical site as much as possible.
Despite this, a subway entrance and exit is proposed right next to the lake as part of Terminal C9 of the urban railway project No. 2 being developed in the Vietnamese capital.
In its first phase, the 11.5km project will run through five districts, Tu Liem, Tay Ho, Cau Giay, Ba Dinh and Hoan Kiem, with three aboveground terminals and seven underground ones.
The underground Terminal C9 is designed with four entrance and exit sections on the surface.
The first is located on the premises of the EVN Hanoi, and the second, in the headquarters of the EVN Northern Power Corp on Tran Nguyen Han Street.
The third entrance/exit is situated next to Hoan Kiem Lake and the last one is behind the Ba Kieu Temple, on the bank of the lake.
This map shows the four proposed entrance/exit sections for Terminal C9.
According to local experts, the planned locations for the first and second entrance/exit sections of Terminal C9 are acceptable, but the remaining ones are not.
While the third section may affect Hoan Kiem Lake, the location of the fourth entrance/exit should also be considered as all construction is banned in the area immediately surrounding the Ba Kieu Temple.
“I believe there should be no big construction around Hoan Kiem Lake,” architect Ngo Doan Duc, former deputy chairman of the Vietnam Association of Architects, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Duc said the subway entrance/exit will affect the architectural beauty, as well as the open space of the lake.
“The subway entrance must be located where it is most convenient for passengers, but at the same time leave no impact on Hoan Kiem Lake,” he concluded.
The project developer may seek help from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to approve the fourth entrance/exit built behind the Ba Kieu Temple, said Luu Xuan Hung, deputy head of the management board of the Hanoi urban railway project.
“Construction is prohibited near the temple but the subway project is meant for public use, so we may be able to build the entrance with approval from the ministry,” Hung said.
Hung also added that Hanoi’s leaders are scheduled to meet with the culture ministry officials next week to discuss the locations for the third and fourth entrance/exit sections of Terminal C9.