A uniquely odd architectural work in the Central Highlands
city of Da Lat , has been shortlisted by the Chinese People’s Daily as
one of the world’s ten most bizarre buildings.
French travel guide Hachette has also highlighted the “Crazy House” as a not-to-be missed hotel stay on any trip to Vietnam .
The house, occupying nearly 1,600 sq.m on Huynh Thuc Khang Street , was
completed in 1990 as a personal project by architect Dang Viet Nga. The
controversial building once dismissed as “crazy” has now become a
regular feature on tourist visits to the city.
The free-form undulating structure is quite unlike anything else in Da
Lat, let alone Vietnam . The house is constructed on a numerous levels
with a naturalistic theme interpreted through concrete curves, twists
and bends, giving it the appearance of an out-grown tree.
The interior is equally unorthodox, with almost every surface twisting,
curving and running fluidly along the internal corridors, stairwells
Mismatched windows give the impression of a fairytale house straight
from Little Red Riding Hood, while stone tigers, bears, eagles,
kangaroos and pheasants decorate the environs adding to the surreal
The building has been dogged by controversy since conception with
arguments centering on the structure’s insufficient architectural
integrity, ad-hoc character and lack of formal aesthetic.
Nga shrugs off criticism, “Many people have criticised me, even my
colleagues. I don’t blame those whose don’t understand me.” Instead she
believes that the controversial character of the house has won her more
“When they first saw the house, people would exclaim that it was a
“crazy house”! So that’s how it got its name, and now, it’s one of Da
Lat’s leading tourist attractions,” Nga says.
Nga is more concerned with conveying history and myth through the
structural and decorative styling of the house rather than conforming
to strict architectural rules. The house for her is interconnected by
“a cobweb, which can be conceived as a bridge linking reality and the
spiritual world, linking the self and the infinite universe,” she says.
Visitors have been responded to Nga’s creation, one French visitor
noted in the guest book: “Thanks for showing me the meaning of life.
The fairy tale house took me back to my childhood, to when things were
pure and natural.”
The Lam Dong Provincial People’s Committee has designated the house as
a serious architectural work and its owner, Nga, has had the
architectural plans and style of the house copyrighted, becoming the
first of its kind to receive such recognition in the province. With the
new certificate from the city administration, she now can expand and
plans to build another house in 2010.
The nine other buildings selected by China’s People’s Daily include the
Forest Spiral – Hunder swasser Building in Germany, the Ideal Palace in
France, the Basket Building, the Public Library building and the upside
down Wonderworks in the US, and the Cubic houses in the