Another colonial building in Ho Chi Minh City will get a facelift this year – this time it is the 130-year-old HCMC People’s Court.
The building, which was recognized as a national heritage site in 2012, is scheduled to be restored for the first time at the end of the year, according to Thai Van Tuan, a spokesperson for the court.
Tuan said all paperwork for the project has been finished, and the court is waiting for the result of the bidding process before officially starting the renovation.
The project is estimated to cost VND320 billion (US$14.67 million) and will take two years to finish.
During that time, the court will still operate as normal.
Cochinchina’s first chief architect, Marie-Alfred Foulhoux, designed the Palais de Justice, now the HCMC People’s Court at 131 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street in District 1, according to Tim Doling, a British author who has studied extensively about Vietnam’s history and tourism.
The Palais de Justice, now the HCMC People’s Court, in 1885. Photo credit: Historic Vietnam
Built in 1881-1885, this two-story neo-classical edifice incorporated exterior verandas to enhance ventilation and featured decorative work and statuary by Notre Dame Cathedral architect Jules Bourard, Doling wrote on his website Historic Vietnam.
In 1961 a rear extension was built to a clever design by Xa Loi Pagoda architect Do Ba Vinh which harmonized perfectly with the original, Doling said.
The building was among the three court buildings built by the French in Vietnam.
The one in Da Nang has been knocked down and re-built, while the ones in Hanoi and HCMC have been kept intact until today.
Tuan, the spokesperson, said the HCMC People’s Court still keeps its beauty after 130 years, but some parts need fixing, such as the fading walls and leaky old tile roof.
The HCMC government, in fact, sought for permission from higher authorities for the court’s restoration project in 2006.
But it was not until recently that the proposal was approved.
Tuan said the restoration project will be conducted very “thoroughly” so that the original design will not be affected, and historic value of the building will be retained.