ClockThursday, 15/06/2023 16:14

Solution harmonizing with heritage sought

TTH.VN - The ideas for designing a pedestrian bridge over Hộ thành hào (Citadel Protection Dike) connecting Thượng thành (Upper Citadel) have just been announced by the Hue Monuments Conservation Center. What many people are interested in is whether or not the idea of building a bridge is feasible and affects the heritage.

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 The design idea by author Nguyen Dinh Anh scooped the voting award

Many zealous ideas

The contest "Idea for designing a pedestrian bridge over Hộ thành hào (Citadel Protection Dike) connecting Thượng thành (Upper Citadel)" is organized by Hue Monuments Conservation Center to seek unique and creative ideas from designers and architects. It creates an architectural work suitable for the heritage space and solves the urban traffic jam at Cửa Ngăn (the gate of Hue Imperial City located south to the left of the flagpole), ensuring safety and convenience for visitors, and creating an architecture unique and appealing to tourists.

This is the first step to implement Conclusion No. 47/TB-UBND dated February 15, 2023, by Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Van Phuong on assigning Hue Monuments Conservation Center to chair and coordinate with the Hue City People's Committee and relevant agencies and units to research and propose the plans for site clearance and investment in expanding the route connecting traffic for pedestrians from Nguyen Hoang Bus Station to Tran Huy Lieu Street and the bridge over the river and Thượng thành to enter Đại Nội (Royal Palace).

After a month of launching, the contest received 64 options from 59 authors and groups of authors with many unique ideas, showing their zeal and love for the heritage, desiring to create the highlight but limiting the impact on the heritage space.

Mr. Nguyen Van Cao, Chairman of Thua Thien Hue Construction Association, member of the jury said, “In a short time, 64 options are no small efforts. All ideas desire to offer the best options. Many excellent ideas are researched from routes, materials, methods, Law on Cultural Heritage... to provide a suitable and feasible option. Good ideas but conflicting with the heritage, affecting the heritage are not selected.”

Conservation and development

Mr. Hoang Viet Trung, Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center, said that as a tourist attraction, the traffic in Đại Nội (Royal Palace) area remains inadequate. The space to access heritage is very limited. The rising number of vehicles in traffic leads to congestion, affecting tourism activities as tourists have to travel concurrently with a huge number of vehicles on narrow paths.

In the short run, the number of tourists to Hue is expected to be over 5 million. If there is no synchronous solution, there will be conflicts, which will adversely affect the image of Hue tourism. Therefore, it is needed to seek solutions for tourists to access the heritage conveniently and safely.

According to Mr. Nguyen Van Cao, 5-7 years back, the authorities researched and sought many solutions to traffic congestion in Cửa Ngăn with many options: traffic separation, tourists traveling by motor vehicle, building a bridge, and so on, but they were impossible.

"Any plan must be for the convenience of tourists, serve the local people, and mustn’t affect the heritage," Mr. Cao emphasized.

An architect living in Thành Nội (Inner Citadel) expressed, “The people here have long been dead miserable. Every time I pick up my children across Cửa Ngăn, traffic jams frequently happen because of the growing number of cars. Hue’s idea of building this bridge is broadly welcomed because architecture also serves people."

Journalist Pham Huu Thu, a Thành Nội citizen said, “We live in the heritage, but we can't do whatever we want, and it's the people's disadvantage. This work, if done, is extremely humane. First of all, it improves traffic for people and tourists. The problem is that the provincial leaders have the idea and strictly follow the provisions of the Law on Cultural Heritage."

Prudent and scientific

From this contest, what many people give attention to is whether or not building a pedestrian bridge over Hộ thành hào connecting Thượng thành will affect the heritage. Some voice concern that building a bridge at this location will violate the convention of heritage protection. Historically, the German City of Dresden was removed from the world heritage list in 2009 when the construction of a bridge over the Elbe River was carried out in defiance of UNESCO’s previous disagreement.

The position to build the bridge is in area 1 of the monument. According to the Law on Cultural Heritage, this area must be preserved in its original state and space. In special cases where it is necessary to build the work directly serving the monument, the approval of the competent authorities that recognized the monument must be obtained. For the Complex of Hue Monuments, it is necessary to obtain the approval of the Prime Minister (special national monument) and UNESCO (world heritage).

Before organizing the contest, Hue Monuments Conservation Center carefully studied similar cases in the world. “In fact, millennial heritage works are faced with real-life requirements that need adaptive solutions. Many countries such as China, Singapore, Malaysia, and France have adopted walking approaches to access and not affected the heritage. The Law on Cultural Heritage clearly states that the works to protect and promote heritage values can be carried out, but they must be correctly carried out," said Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Center Hoang Viet Trung.

From this contest, the organizing board will select the most feasible ideas in line with the regulations on heritage conservation; at the same time, synthesize and make statistics of all reviews, including comments on social networks, to report to the competent authorities. The restoration, conservation, and construction related to the heritage are very strictly regulated and carried out in a sequence with the approval of the competent authorities. Translating the idea into traffic work to put into use must go through many processes and be agreed upon by the management levels, UNESCO as well as the social community.

Mr. Hoang Viet Trung said, “From idea to reality is a long story with a lot of methodical, scientific, and prudent processes. Through this story, we would also like to send a message about the practical issues of the people's daily life to the authorities in charge of heritage management, UNESCO included. UNESCO is not a rigid but very humane organization for people. We suggest, but if the approval is not gained, the work won’t be carried out. We look forward to getting suggestions from the social community.”     

The story of resolving the conflict between addressing development needs and preserving heritage has never been a breeze. Even this contest for ideas is also difficult. However, this is the first step in seeking the optimal solution to the traffic problem at Cửa Ngăn in accordance with the procedures stipulated.

Story and photo: Cat An
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