Da Nang puts breaks on massive river tower

By Thanh Nien Staff, Thanh Nien News

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A sketch of the Marina Lighthouse, a hotel complex that was slated for construction in the central city of Danang's Han River. Photo: Nguyen Tu A sketch of the Marina Lighthouse, a hotel complex that was slated for construction in the central city of Danang's Han River. Photo: Nguyen Tu


The Chief of Da Nang's Communist Party Unit has ordered local authorities to suspend a plan to build a tower on the famous Han River following widespread concerns about the project's potential impact.
The authorities were told to seek a better location for the Marina Lighthouse Tower, Tran Tho told Thanh Nien.
Backed by the DHC Group, the building was set to be located some 30 meters from the shore near a major cruise port, which is also being funded by DHC. It was planned to consist of at least 25 floors and reach between 75 and 100 meters into the sky.
The tower was set to include a hotel, restaurant, observation deck and a helipad.
The project was approved “in principle” by the municipal authorities who had reviewed a tentative design that resembled a blooming flower.
If built, the structure is to have a 400-square-meter base and a 700-square-meter main body.
The authorities ordered the city’s construction department to collaborate with the local architectural association and the investor to solicit opinions on the plan from related agencies. A report of their findings is expected before January 15.
However, since the project was announced architects and urban planners have voiced major concerns about the tower.
Architect Huynh Toa, a former city planner and vice chairman of the Da Nang Architect's Association, said the proposed design would upset the river’s flow no matter what mitigation efforts are taken before construction begins.
He said the tower and its support structures will split the flow of the river in "five or seven" different directions.
A “very important” thing, according to the architect, is that the Han River serves as the main drainage outlet for the city of Da Nang.
Given that the city is grappling with record flooding, he wondered how it could approve such a project.
Architect Ngo Viet Nam, another former urban planner for Da Nang, said past projects that encroached into rivers and oceans revealed how poorly considered projects could cause “serious” problems like erosion and traffic accidents.
Meanwhile, Architect Hoang Quang Huy, chairman of the city’s urban planning association, said it took the city 25 years to clear tens of thousands of shacks and other buildings, including government offices, along the banks of the Han River.
The aim of that effort was to render it as beautiful and clear as it now appears, he said.
Thanks to the clean-up effort, nothing obstructs the view of the Son Tra Mountain, “the treasure” and “the beauty” of Da Nang, he said.
“There's no reason” to license the project at this time, Huy said before adding the he feared it would completely obstruct the Rong (Dragon) Bridge, which has become a proud, internationally renowned landmark.
If the Marina tower were licensed, it would be “unfair” to people who had been relocated from the riversides, according to the expert.
Many experts have also dismissed the project as unnecessary, even though it is meant to serve as a defining, iconic structure for the rapidly growing city.
Sculptor Pham Van Hang, a designer of the Rong Bridge which won several international design awards, said “the lighthouse” will just break up the view of Da Nang.
“Da Nang does not need such a lighthouse,” said architect Hoang Dao Kinh, an expert in the city's heritages and restoration.
The city, which has almost no remarkable gardens and parks but the Museum of Cham Sculpture (which dates back to the French colonial era), needs to work on developing its cultural appeal, he said.

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