Culture Culture

01/09/2021 - 14:47

Adaptive conservation of Chau Huong Vien

At the end of 2020, the People's Council of Thua Thien Hue Province approved the investment policy to restore Ung Binh relic in Chau Huong Vien with a budget of more than VND 10 billion. Currently, procedures for restoring this relic are being prepared by the Provincial History Museum.

After many years of abandonment, Chau Huong Vien relic is degraded and deserted

Adaptive conservation

According to the project of restoring and embellishing Chau Huong Vien relic, whose procedures for approval are being prepared by the Provincial History Museum, the main house, the outbuilding, the guarding screen, the yard, the fence, etc., will be restored, with an area of ​​about 300m2. The objective of the project is to preserve the original elements of the relic, renovate and adapt the works for new functions, as well as embellish the landscape and technical infrastructure to revive Chau Huong Vien.

According to Phan Thuan Y, the architect, the representative of Binh Duong Company (the consulting unit), although Chau Huong Vien relic is seriously degraded, the original elements of the work still remain, especially the wooden structures and the carved patterns on wood. Therefore, the consulting unit set the goal of preserving the original elements of Chau Huong Vien relic as much as possible, while at the same time, conserving and adapting the work for new functions. In addition to the space to worship the famous person Ung Binh, a stage will be built as a place to perform tunes of Hue Singing, Hue classical drama (tuong), reciting poems, etc.

Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports, said that the restoration and embellishment of the relic should try to keep the "spirit" of the work design as it was in the past, preserving the original elements of the relic as much as possible. Adaptive elements (performance stage) must be completely appropriate, without affecting or overpowering the old space of the relic.

The architect Phan Thuan Y informed that during the survey of wooden structures at Chau Huong Vien relic, she discovered traces of nails on the pillars to hang horizontal boards and couplets. Ms. Y suggested that the cultural industry should contact the family of the poet Ton Nu Hy Khuong, the daughter of Mr. Ung Binh, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, to mobilize the "repatriation" of these artifacts to decorate and recreate the old space to some extents.

Recreating the old space

In order to serve the conservation and promotion of the value of Ung Binh relic in Chau Huong Vien, the Provincial History Museum organized to collect comments from researchers and related agencies.

Mr. Le Viet Xuan, Vice Chairman of the Provincial Historic Science Association, noted that the conservation and promotion of the relic value should be based on a scientific basis and in line with reality. Therefore, the remaining original elements should be preserved, whereas the damaged ones which cannot be restored should be adaptively conserved in harmony with the original elements. Regarding the promotion method, the management unit needs to connect this relic with suitable tours by both road and waterway.

The poet Vo Que, Chairman of Hue Singing Club, expressed his joy: “The restoration of this relic is a joy for artists like us. Hopefully in the future, this will not only be a place to perform Hue Singing, but also a place for poetry clubs to alternately organize their activities."

Dr. Tran Dinh Hang, Director of the Sub-institute of Vietnam National Institute of  Culture and Arts Studies in Hue, suggested that after Chau Huong Vien relic was restored, the model of socializing management is the approach for reviving the relic.

In order to effectively promote the value of the relic after restoration, Mr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports, proposed the Provincial History Museum to develop a plan to exploit and promote its immediate and long-term value: “The restoration of Chau Huong Vien relic marks an important milestone in preserving and promoting both tangible and intangible cultural values associated with famous people who have made great contributions to the development of Hue poetry, Hue classical drama and Hue Singing. The restoration is the first step in "reviving" the relic, and the next step is to consider how to exploit this relic, such as organizing Hue Singing performances for tourism."

Therefore, according to Mr. Hai, besides restoring and embellishing the house, it is necessary to consider recreating the space inside and outside the relic, creating the landscape in connection with the Perfume River so that visitors can reach Chau Huong Vien relic using waterway.

Story and photo: Minh Hien