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Saigon Seeks Foreign Expertise to Preserve Dinh Thuong Tho After Public Backlash

The building, located at 59-61 Ly Tu Trong Street, has long been listed for demolition to pave way for a renovation plan. 

The plan, however, received pushback from many city residents and architects. Back in 2018, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Architecture said that, since the building was not listed as a heritage building, it was technically not qualified for preservation. However, prolonged objections and petitions from the public did make an impact on the planning and architecture department's opinions. Now, the planning authority is suggesting that international experts should be hired to aid with the preservation process of the building, VnExpress reports.

Before announcing their proposal, the department held a meeting with local experts to gather opinions. According to the news source, few proved that they can provide the assistance needed to preserve the building. Therefore, the department suggests that international experts should be tasked with finding a direction for the building's preservation and coming up with a detailed plan. 

This doesn’t mean that demolition of the building is completely off the table, as one of the preservation options available includes building a replica, among other possibilities, such as maintaining the whole structure or only keeping the façade.

The building, which is currently the headquarters of the city’s Department of Information and Communications, was first built in 1875 and refurbished in 1881. The building was once the headquarters for the Office of the Direction of the Interior, an important locus of French colonial administration power.

[Photo via Soha]

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