Hanoi/ KTT CASE STUDY: Architectural presentation of the ideal and the real
*This narrative post is mainly based on the information collected in the “The Impact of ‘Informal’ Building Additions on Interior/Exterior Space in Hanoi’s Old Apartment Blocks (KTT)” in Conference: Architecture in the Fourth Dimension. Nov. 15 – 17, 2011.
KTT Nguyen Cong Tru is a 6-hectare KTT housing estate in Hai Ba Trung District first opened in 1963. In its original plan, there are 14 four-story apartment blocks, 4 two-story blocks, a kindergarten, a primary school and a food market to accommodate 4200 residents. Meanwhile, it had spacious tree-lined yards between buildings and a wine factory as the main working place was standing outside the periphery.
This ideal image of well-planned dream home broke down with the over-populated apartments since 1980s. The current number is 1292 households of 7000 people living there. In order to get larger living space, better living conditions or more residential units, local residents have achieved unofficial agreement within the neighbors for illegal extended structures and interior renovation.
As the example of the extended structures, between Block B1 and B2, the original public space has been heavily occupied by them at different levels. For extra living space, the original balconies have been turned into larger rooms with length of one to two meter or even more supported by the new self-built steel-frame structure. And part of the extensions came to have shopfronts similar to the old tube houses
And on the other hand, the inside renovation officially approved by the government happened at the same time(similar to the official interior division happened in Shanghai Lilong). In the case of Mr. Long’s unit in this KTT, it was almost doubled in the late 1990s from the original 16 meters to 30 meters. Through redesigning this partial circulation and partitions, Mr. Long even built an inner-courtyard as an open space for domestic activities with better ventilation within the unit.
All these detailed looks into the transformation of KTT, like the additional structures and the unit spatial arrangement shows a return to the traditional housing environment of the Ancient Quarter. The local architectural cultures reflecting human scales and everyday practices better have been integrated into the soviet housing system as the reality of the native housing.
- Dinh Quoc Phuong (2011). The Impact of ‘Informal’ Building Additions on Interior/Exterior Space in Hanoi’s Old Apartment Blocks (KTT). In Architecture in the Fourth Dimension, Nov. 15 – 17, 2011. Boston.
- Emmanuel Cerise and Kelly Shannon (2010). Informalization of Formal Housing / Formalization of Informal Housing. In Human Settlements: Formulations and [re]Calibrations (d’Auria, V., Ed., De Meulder, B., Ed., Shannon, S., Ed.). Amsterdam: SUN Academia. p.66-71.
- Labbé, D. (2014). Land Politics and Livelihoods on the Margins of Hanoi, 1920-2010. UBC Press.
- William S. Logan (2000). Hanoi: Biography of a City. Seattle: University of Washington Press