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Traditional Architecture

Folk architecture of ethnic minorities

Talking about traditional architecture in Lam Dong, first of all it is mentioned that the terms of ancient architecture, preserving much age-old worth, is the architecture of Co Ho, Ma, Chu Ru, Raglai, M’Nong, Stieng residents- the native tribes that have lived in this land for ages.

If you only have a look at the simple cottage roofs, even very simply of the houses of the native ethnic minorities in Lam Dong, you will find it hard to recognize much more notational values behind the unostentatious looks of those simple architectural works. However, one of the worthy heritages of the traditional culture among Lam Dong natives is the art of folk architecture whose special character is unostentatious, quiet to find out a pattern for its habitat.

Community formality of the villages in Lam Dong:

Like the other ethnic minorities in Truong Son- Tay Nguyen, the native tribes in Lam Dong have not known, even had no knowledge of work “ planning “ , but after viewing the arrangement of their villages, it is said that they tried to hold it in order to be the most reasonable for their habitat and economic-cultural activities.

For a long time, Lam Dong ethnic minorities have lived in group along each village (bon by Co Ho, Ma, Stieng, M’Nong; palei by Raglai; play by Chu Ru). Each village always combines with an identified territorial area. The border of each village is established by the limit “landmarks” which are the elements of terrain, firmly existing in the time like a current of a stream, a jungle, a range of mountain, and sometimes only a foot of an ancient tree or a big block of stone. Thank to that natural boundaries, it formed very natural shapes of the villages of the ethnic minorities. Many researchers based on the disposition of houses and roads, paths in the villages to identify it with the other shape or another shape (square, circle, rectangle, oval, fishbone…).The fact that it is hard to identify the shape of the villages clearly. Here, it is particularly that the “acquiescence following nature”, maximum try exploits the elements of terrain to serve their life. Having been coincided with some geometrical shapes or conventions just concentrates on coincidentally, not on purpose.

The extent of the villages of the ethnic minorities in Lam Dong is very different. One of the standards is easy to recognize the “stature” here is the number of the ridge of roofs (usually long ridge of roofs). There is a bon including some ridge of roofs, even just an only corner. In case of B’Su bon (Da Teh District) just has a long semi-detached house. B’Lach B bon located in Loc Bac (Loc Lam District) just has four long short ridge of roofs, next B’Lach A bon is a little more “ crowded” with six long ones and four short ones. In contrast, there is a few bon or plây have tens of roofs, popularly from 15 to 20 of roofs.

On the other hand, the stability of the ethnic minorities’ villages here is not high. Apart from Sre group farming wet rice paddies (the name of this group- Sre means that “rice field” or “farmers”) hardly settles, others relying on cultivating mountain fields (mir) are “shifting cultivation” combines with “nomadic” as “a way of life”. For cultivated place not being further from their residence, they must move “bon” to a new location near their new mountain field. Thus, almost the villages in this area are “young”, rarely there are any villages reach to a century (meanwhile, not any Vietnamese villages in the Plain of the Southern Part have “age” to be numbered by hundreds of years).

Long stilt houses- a popular kind of typical architecture among native ethnic minorities:

According to written documentary sources from lately decades of last century and early this century by missionaries, commanders and French researchers, it can be recognized that the ancestors of native ethnic minorities used to live in two kinds of houses usually named “the floor” and “the ground houses” by Vietnamese people, and up to now this buildings has been basely remained. If it needs to be filled up, it can say that the buildings of the floor is less to be found than ones of …, especially in suburbs, in the sides of roads or at some intermixed settlements with Vietnamese. In the relation of two these kinds, which kinds is typical?

Mainly difference between two “these types” is only showed by location of living space of architectural character above the ground surface. The definition of “the floor” means that type of a house whose living space (floor) is higher and of course must be located on a certain space above the ground surface. The floorage is usually vacant or used for shutting up the livestock, keeping woods or producing tools, but strongly not a living space for people (an unusual and popular exception in some areas, the childbirth of pregnant woman happens at the space underneath the floor). From that, the definition of “the ground house” identifies the architectural character with living space located on the ground directly, thus, somewhere people also call it “the bungalow”. Although the ground house has been known in the architectural hoard of the ethnic minorities in Lam Dong for ages and being more and more predominating in their architectural picture, its typical advantage is to get over the disadvantage of humid climate conditions, uneven terrain (hill slope, versant) and against the destruction of dangerous animals.

In the language of ethnic minorities, no word is synonymous with a kind of “the ground house” or “the bungalow”, only a word means “house” in common. Up to now the definition of “the ground house” is “hìu trệt” in Cơ Ho or Mạ Language. Absolutely, this term includes a component of Cơ Ho- Mạ language (hìu) and the other component of Vietnamese language (trệt). This taken-expression phenomenon is the evidence that proves the type of ground house not to be typical for traditional architecture of ethnic minorities. Furthermore, one more thing is that now almost the “the bungalows” is not in their category of “traditional houses”, it is just Vietnamese houses, even built by joining Vietnamese builders. These situations should be known as the expression of cultural exchange and contact.

In Lam Dong ethic minorities, it is vital to emphasize a realizable character of the architecture of stilt houses that height of the floor surface above the ground surface is usually insignificant, popularly from 50 to 80 cm, even only from 20 to 30cm, a typical regional character between the piled houses of ethnic minorities in this area and the same architectural characters of ethnic minorities in the Northern Central Highlands, where the popular height of the surface floor is usually from 1.2m to 1.5m, even to 2m in some places.

Beside the interrelation between the living space (the floor surface) above the ground, among the traditional architecture of Lam Dong ethnic minorities, also has another interrelation of its architectural size and length.

The fact that up to now it can be observed long houses which sometimes reach to tens of meters in Lam Dong ethnic minorities. In B’Su bon (Đạ Tẻh) still has a house 54m in length. That do not mention a situation, according to some French in this area in the beginning of the century, also has many houses hundreds of meters in length. In contrast, in the villages here, also have many very short houses whose length is about from 3 to 4 meters. Therefore, among the researchers, the definition of “long house”, “short house” is quite popular. These are not completely exact because they are based on feeling without being defined closely as a scientific terminology. From how many meters can be called “long house” and contrary to that? Absolutely, nobody can give a standard to define that. Like similar situations of the other natives in South-East Asian Area, the definition of “long house” (hìu rọt in Cơ Ho language; prông in Chu Ru language) is used to define the architectural character including many nuclear families to reside together; and in contrast, “short houses” are the architectural character only including the residence of a small family. Thus, long or short houses in a situation which we are considering not is measured by an usual measure of length but “measured” by family institution among these ethnic people above, means big family institution (extended family) and nuclear family of small-sized family (nuclear family). . As a result, this problem is a different term of traditional culture of ethnic minorities. Here, it is resulted from the consequence of the research about the family institution of ethnic people on Lam Dong, form of extended family is the typical institution for married regulations and traditional families among these ethnic people; kind of long houses is typical formation for traditional architecture of ethnic people whom we are considering.

Generally, in term of the shape, the typical architectural character of Lam Dong ethnic minorities is kind of houses still called long stilt houses by its owner; despite the fact that, nowadays, these similar architectures are more and more a little to be seen in the villages of ethnic minorities.

Typical characters of the shape and structural engineering of architectural type of long stilt houses:

Like the folk architecture of native ethnic minorities in the area, in term of structural engineering of traditional houses of Lam Dong ethnic people, a typical character is architectural characters having a structural frame-pile whose two main elements are piles and beams. A uniqueness of this structure is mainly used the vertical structure. At first, people put two rows of piles (jo rong) up to parallel each other along each pair. The space of each paralleled vertical pile pair is usually from 1.5 to 2m. On each top of the pile is availably a grab (kat). Next, they put up vertical beams (jo rong de) on the top of pile and finally set horizontal beams (dra) on it. The position of dra usually has a certain distance above intersection of pile and vertical beam so it is hard to make an association of trusses in the frame-pile structure of Vietnamese houses. Besides that, in the components of this frame-pile structure, it is necessary to talk about the role of beams (horizontal- bia, vertical- rpas). In spite of fitting in the body of piles by using grabs to combine with ties (k’năp), vertical and horizontal beams of floor mainly help ensure the stability, fixation for the whole of the architectural character, too. Therefore, the structure of the floor (rum) of the traditional structure of ethnic minorities in this area is cemented strongly with a frame of house. Pillars of house also play a role of piles. A structure of suspending floor is also typical character in the folk architecture of Truong Son- Tay Nguyen ethnic minorities in common.

The second typical character of in term of structural engineering is its frame-pile structure and frame roofing unconnected with each other into a unified whole like the frame of Vietnamese traditional house. Generally, the frame roofing is jointed after making a frame-pile. There are several situations, both the whole of roof is “manufactured” independently, then carried to “put” up the frame-pile. The frame of roof is made of two main component is rơ kang like “artificial truss” or “rafter” on the roof of Vietnamese house, but less rather than (10-15cm for each), sidings - “purlins” is put along the vertical of the roof with a distance from 10 to 15 centimeters for each pile and a bunch of cottages or leaves of calamus on the top (ja).

Basically, type of roof (rơ kom) of Lam Dong is two-roof type (two tilted roofs, one of its side is a rectangular and together form a sharp angle along the rooftree line). Furthermore, the second of gable (kơ lik) is roofed by cottages instead of stuccoing walls. There are many situations in Mạ people, their roofs are not flat roofs but rather curved roofs. In addition to that, types of this roof closely let down on the ground surface, almost obscured the walls. All the roof looks like hangars for airplanes. Having some situations, both two side of gable (lean-tos) are also a structure of “rounding” type, like one-fourth of hemisphere (called the arch) “taken” into the main roof, which makes the overall shape of both the roofs like a “huge” shell of a turtle. This type roof can be compared to all types of the turtle shell roofs often see in the people of Giẻ- Triêng, Bru- Vân Kiều or Tà Ôi. Apart from the group of Mạ Bù Nông ( Be River), in the 1940s, 1950s, J.Dournes also found a phenomenon of a house made its attic on both two gables and two tops of roof are added a couple of “horns”- very nearly with the roof type of Thai floors. Another interesting coincidence is the style of “horns” decoration- a phenomenon is often to be found in many native groups in Southeast Asian Area (in Thai people- Northwest Vietnam, this style is called khau kút), is still observed on two tops of roof in some areas such as Mạ. On the top of Protestant church at Lát town (Lac Duong), this decoration is a couple of real horns. The phenomenon of curved roofs and the “horns” decoration are the evidences that can be not denied about the relation of cultural exchange and contact between Mạ ancestors and others groups in Southeast Area since prehistoric time. . Because the function of bearing and certainty of stability of Thuong house belong to the roof frame so in the architectural character of this type, walls (poner- Cơ Ho, nir- Mạ) only take a responsibility for separating spaces of outside and interior of house. Here, walls are made from sparsely knitted wattles picked up from trunks of crushed bamboo trees, put up by vertical along outer egde of the floor and linked to the roof. The door (m’nung) has two types, one is sculpted along the vertical of a house (often deviating in one side) and the other is sculpted along the horizontal (front of house). Remarkably, in the main doors (m’pồng me) often has an arched structure, like the entrance of caves of primitive people. It is necessary to think more about this affair, because the traditional architecture of ethnic minorities in this area has hardly windows, and its interior of house is not separated each “room”, thus, when strangers come in, they will usually feel like coming a cave.

In front of doors of the floors always has a small floor garden without having lean-tos (called m’prap). The area of this “garden” is usually 1x2m. Its height is the same as the floor level. Combining m’prap with the ground is a wood staircase (n’tung). According to Ia.V.Trexnov, “garden-floor” structure above is a popular phenomenon of folk architecture in Southeast Asia.

Material used in tectonics of houses among Lam Dong ethnic minorities is available resources in local residency, mainly exploited from forests. Material choices basely reply on the function of each part of house such as woods for components taken a role of bearing like frame house, floor frame; bamboo for parts not require high bearing like roof-frame, walls; cottages, calamus leaves for roofing; all types of forestall cords for linking all parts together. Type of woods which residents often choose to build their houses are pine trees, chestnuts… generally, main materials are used in primitive forms (directly) or processed sketchily.

This choice is objective, saves money for the resident tectonics, suitable for their economic conditions. A remarkable detail is that although rock and especially soil are available things in this area, they are completely not included of folk architecture of ethnic minorities. This raised a theory about the origin of Thuong people in Truong Son- Central Highlands is their ancestors migrated naturally to this forestall and mountainous area from an island or a coast.

Making all different parts as well as linking them together among traditional architectural characters, residents here have already come to the creating grab technique combines with using ties. Up to now, professional worker teams and specialized tools have not appeared yet in these groups. It is still knives, axes…tools used for clearing and cultivating are also used for cutting woods, carving piles,… Making houses is considered as a common work for all of the villages. The division of labour in this aspect is just looming in a term of gender, ages and somewhat is clever level of each person in particular. Heavy works require high labour intensity (cutting trees, carrying woods, carving beams, putting up pile…) to belong strong guys. Cutting the cottages, taking forestalls cords, cooking and serving… is works of women; and for decorative details are works of handy men.

Using spaces in traditional architecture of ethnic groups:

Some researchers had a certain attention to this term of traditional architecture before; but they just stopped at “living space” of those architectural characters.

In term of the vertical, it can be divided living space of long floors among ethnic groups into three parts: one is from the ground to the floor; another is from the floor to the halfway of roof (corresponding with the outer edge of the roof) and the other is a space of arched roof.

The lowest space (called the underneath of the floor) is a space using for human. In some areas, a phenomenon of pregnant women giving a birth in the underneath of the floor or in the small huts made near house prove this; because of the concept of native residents in Southeast Asian areas, women is not allowed to give a birth in house, but must or to be in a temporary hut, and can take their children to house when an abstinent period is out of. In this space, in the case of the high floor, it can be observed going on and out of livestock and poultry (mainly chickens, pigs), firewood and some logs.

The space of interior of traditional architectures can be divided into two “independent” spaces with each other, in spite of having no visible boundaries between them. The space from the floor surface to the upper of walls is used for daily activities such as sleeping, resting, preparing for meals (cooking) and eating, giving a reception, worshipping, knitting and sewing… Although the interior of the long floor is not divided into separated each “room” for these functions, the fact that it still exists through convention of the owners of architectural characters. In this space, it can be observed a few small hangers suspended on the fire or along the walls to preserve foods, or hang up and take away somewhat items.

The highest space (correspond with arched roof part) is a “sacred” space- where is residency of God. Like many others ethnic minorities in Central Highlands, in house of Lam Dong people it has no altars, incenses pots and “corresponding equipment” like in Vietnamese. “Nao” is also considered as the altars but the fact that it is a concept defined desiccated rice flowers, beams of leaves or beams of tassels spited from bamboo tubes on the roof upper the back wall or on the top of pile. In this roofing part, it can be also seen animal bones. Despite having no particular “planning”, it can be known that Yàng Hìu- the God of house, also “dwelling” in this space.

In term of the horizontal, the interior space in traditional architecture of ethnic groups in Lam Dong is definitely distinguished from the space of outside interior house. The outside space of this traditional architecture usually has no association with particular campus, surrounding by fences like Vietnamese, Cham people, even no shadow of big tree, but is hardly completely empty, the interior is “sacred” space.

The space of the interior is a big “room” having no zone. This “big room” is divided into three main parts:

1.A part for common activities- a place of worship, giving a reception, cooking and also sleeping for unmarried adolescents and male guests; another part for couples and their children; the other for unmarried young women and female guests. In the floor near the back walls this is a row of alcohol jars, upper the walls is gongs and can be some other musical instruments (drums, trumpets…)

2. The corresponded backward roof is “nao”- the place for God of house

3. In the middle of floor of this part it is a mha tơm (shared kitchen)- a place where take play all important rituals (worship, give a reception) as well as being a place for recreation of extended family. At night, by this fire, the elder people often tell their children about legends and all stories they know. This is place where they guide the youth to producing experiences, knitting skills or making crossbows, shooting archery… This part also leads to the main door (m’poongfme) of the house.

The place for couples is conventionalized by their lying at night. “Territory” of these “nuclear families” is arranged in parallel and adjacently in order, from the lying of host couples (pô hìu); next, others couples are arranged by deputy relations and generation. The other of the house is a shared kitchen, where prepares meals for all family. A part of floor along near the walls is an empty space through the length of the house, connected to two doors in both two gables. It can be considered as “the corridor” for the movement in the interior. Top of the corridor is a row of suspended hangers (one is suspended on the walls, the rest is hung up the frame roof)- a place for putting clothe baskets, archery and crossbows or sticks to dig holes and many trivial things. Closely the anterior wall it is a place where to set firewood.

Later, because nuclear families tend to separate into independent economic cells, it can be observed a row of kitchens along in one side of the house, corresponding with the middle of sleeping place of couples and “the corridor”. Each kitchen (mha) corresponds with a nuclear family (therefore, a number of private kitchens equal a number of nuclear families).

In former ethnic groups in Lam Dong had no phenomenon of “the primary house”, “the second house”. Apart from architectural characters above, it often has more a “dam” (barn)- a place for storing common foods for all extended family and later it is a few hìu kòi, an amount of which is nearly with a number of kitchens in that house.

Therefore, the space of the interior of traditional houses of Lam Dong native ethnic minorities defined its multiple and collective function by itself. This special function can be found in traditional houses of some other ethnic groups in the Demilitarized Zone- Central Highlands. A communal house (rông) is to be found in some another ethnic groups, also take a responsibility for these function above.

Outer-inner decoration and appliances- tools in traditional houses of Lam Dong ethnic minorities:

Overall, traditional houses of Lam Dong ethnic minorities are very simple. Here, demand for “go in or go out” place dominates others aesthetic needs. Furthermore, because of “shifts in cultivation, nomadic” life style, quite often changing accommodation, architectural characters here are more or less “unsettled” functions (often maintained about from 10 to 15 years); therefore, its owners have a little attention to “make up” for their houses. However, it can be recognized some certain decorative… in the inner and outer of these architectural character types.

An easy thing to recognize the outside of the interior is structures of the main door (mpoong me). These doors are often “arched” as soon as creating frame roof. After covering cottages, people also crop it to be a really arched shape. In some other Mạ areas, on two tops of roof, it is added a decorative detail shaped “V”, like “a couple of horns”. Decorative ….is observed in traditional houses of many other ethnic groups in Southeast Asian area. Besides that, in some Cơ Ho regions, it can be seen pestle- mortar….at the pile of the ground floor. Similar decorative form is also observed in the middle of the shaft granary in some Mạ houses.

Generally, “a list” of appliances in Lam Dong ethnic groups is quite a little. It can be divided into a few groups:

1. Appliances combining with religious activities and reception such as ché, gongs and some other musical instrument (drums, trumpet…). This is a group of appliance belongs to common property of all members of extended family and considered as the most value property by native residents; its quantity is also a main “standard” to identify to be rich or poor, topping or inferior in community.

2.Personal appliances such as loincloths, dresses, shirts, fabrics, needles and threads, jewelry… is often hung up hooking places, or put in the suspended baskets or hung up on the hangers along the walls.

3.Cooking and eating appliances such as pots, bags of rice, bucket of holding water, kinds of ceramics….

4. Producing and hunting appliances such as bow-crossbow, fishing-tackle, beams, stick to dig holes…(often pinned up on the front roof of the house or suspended on the hanger along the walls). Clearly, appliances of ethnic groups in Lam Dong are very simple for quantity, poor for category and quality. Their ancestral pedigree also has a little difference from the other native ethnic groups in the Demilitarized Zone- Central Highlands. On the other hand, the difference of daily appliances between all families in the same village and all others in whole area is a little- the important evidence to be sure about an unclear picture of social division in these ethnic groups. Another word, the difference of property among all families is just relatively at the level of rich-poor division but not reflects class division.

The long floor is as especially social regime:

Through the presented things above, it can be imaged a main function covered all of the structural architecture in the form of the long house- the function of “material cover” includes a especially social regime- a regime of extended family.

Of course, for many centuries, residents of ethnic minorities have been residing together along the principle of neighboring relation in residential unit called “bon”. However, this kind of residing together has not eliminated the trace of more ancient assembling form yet- a form of assembling people relies on consanguinity. Up to now, in each village of Lam Dong ethnic minorities, it has been recognized the residing together form along “nao” (relative clan)- families having consanguineous relations with each other usually build house near together in order to differ from the others in another “nao” ( bon= nao); even, not long ago, in some area of “bon” there is only one “nao” (bon= nao).

Each “nao” is a set of a few big families (extended families) and each extended family live together under the long roof (). As a result, one “nao” equals one “”; and even there is a case that one “nao” is only a “” (nao= ). Here appears a relation between regime of extended family and architectural kind of long house. Generally under the roof, it is a set of small families (or nuclear family) belongs to 3- 4 generations having blood-relations with each other. Head of each “” is a pô hìu (head of the family). Pô hìu is a leader of totally activities of all members in the long floor, from making milpa, hunting, maintaining all activities in house…to worshipping the God.

He is also a presider for family meetings in some cases seeing that it is necessary, as well as a deputy of extended family in the “outside” affairs. Relations among members of a “” are completely equal. Apart from some belongings, the majority of others property in the floor belong to common ownership of whole extended family. The clearest express in this relation is all members working together on the plots of milpa of extended family and the appearance of a common granary (đam) as well as a shared kitchen. Thus, the regime of extended family found a certain support- unifying economic base. Clearly, “” is also a perfectly social regime in terms of traditional society of Lam Dong ethnic minorities. For that reason, this regime used to take a role of an independent self-governing unit (each bon= one “nao”- one…) in a near past.

Sense of private property of nuclear families begins forming with social change in Lam Dong ethnic minorities. A new arisen phenomenon in the hìu rọt society- all small families of this architectural character tend to separate independent economic cells. The most visible manifestation of this phenomenon is an appearance of private kitchens and granaries. However, there are many similarities between them: pô hìu, a common daily space with only one main kitchen (mha tơm) and some public properties (…, gongs, musical instrument…). It can be considered that this form above is a transition in the process turning the long floor into “the short floor”.

The long floor is not only to be seen in Lam Dong ethnic minorities, this phenomenon is also found in the majorities of ethnic minorities in the Demilitarized Zone- Central Highlands with different clear or unclear levels. Widely, the form of the long floor existed in many native ethnic groups in Southeast Asian area. As a result, we have one more evidences to prove of cultural exchange and contact relations of ancestors of present native ethnic groups in this large area of the world. According to available documentary resources, recent tens of centuries, between Vietnamese ethnic minorities and the others ethnic groups in Southeast Asian Area hardly have correlation. Thus, this correlation above of their traditional culture can be explained by “meetings” or “household contacts” between their ancestors since prehistoric time.

Relating custom and tradition to traditional houses of Lam Dong native residents:

Formerly, researchers only found out houses through its “material cover”, so they passed an important term of architecture in common and folk architecture in particular. Meanwhile, custom and tradition relate to the contributing process and using house is very important, even more than its cover. In many cases, definitely “immaterial” conceptions affect directly “destiny”, “life” of architectural character. For Vietnamese, in many cases of the control by “positive direction”, “negative direction” or “unsuitable for age” to the owners, people are ready to “register a death” for architectural things (sometimes just to be finished) in order to build another architecture to be “suitable” for their “fate”. Traditional house surveys of native ethnic groups must concentrate especially on this term. Cơ Ho people, Mạ people often claim that the creation of the house belongs to the merit of Ndu God- the supreme God of their genealogy of Gods, who taught people to do everything, including of making a house, building a door. Each house has also a God of caring and controlling called Yàng hìu. According to their conception, Yàng hìu can bless heath and lucky everything, especially not lack of food for all members under the roof. Having difference from the other ethnic groups in the area, Lam Dong ethnic minorities making their houses mainly “follow the nature”, are not too particular about following any stable direction or not. The location is mainly based on particular landscape of a place making house, which is convenient for movement, not to be hidden from view by obstacles. For Cơ Ho people in particular, their house exposure often avoids the direction of the sunset- which means “the death direction” according to the conception of many ethnic groups in Central Highlands (their graveyard is often set up in the west of the village).

In the process of constructing house, ethnic residents in this region must be followed some formalities from choosing materials, lands as well as through building house process.

To have materials for making house, firstly, they must go into the forest to choose suitable forest trees for each part of the house, not absolutely use withered trees. Some people explain that these trees are holed and easy to be decayed by worms. It is obvious that this matter also relates to the religion, because here its architectures do not strictly require a “long-life” work. Will withered trees not bring proliferation for its owners- which they always desire and wish? Furthermore, when they are on the way to take woods and hear the voice of deer, they must come back because it is a bad luck.

To choose lands for building house, beside the search for places where are high and dry, nearby the water supply, not far from their cultivated places, they have to “ask” the Gods’ opinion. The “asking” way is: before the sunset, on the satisfying plot, they set seven grains of rice, seven pieces of coal and one cup of fulfilled water, and then take a basket to cover up those things. Next morning, if those things are still full and not be removed out of its position, it means to be “approved the plan” by Yàng. In the case of lack of one of those or its position is removed – which prove not to be agree with the constructing house in this place by Gods, they need to find another location and continue asking new places. The form of similar “ fortune-telling for choosing lands” can be seen in Rắc Lây, Chu Ru people, like Ba Na, Cờ Tu, Vân Kiều residents- who speak the same official language with them in the northern Central Highland and along the Demilitarized Zone, and further, in Tày

- Thai residents of the Northwestern Vietnam. According to a few Mạ elder people, before a making house day, if the owner dreams a good luck, or not dream, the start of construction can be carried out following expectation. In the contrary case, if the owner dreams a bad luck, the breaking ground must be delayed.

When the new house is completed, the owner carries out an inaugural ceremony. Everybody in the village come to congratulate and share happiness with the owner. An important formality is that applying blood of pigs or chickens to the pile of the floor for driving evil or ghost spirits out, raising the life of architectural character and tying on the pile among branches and bunches of ….leaves. After that celebration, the hosts forbid strange guests to come in their house within three days.

In the process of using the house, Lam Dong native ethnic residents also follow some certain principles. Formerly, pregnant women are not allowed to give a birth in the house. They have to bear in a temporary hut near the house. Later, they are allowed to bear in the house, near the fire. After bearing, within seven days, pregnant women are not let to go out and the other people are forbidden to go in the house because they are supposed to bring bad lucks, illness and diseases for the child. To the eighth day- when hold a celebration to name the child who is carried in his mother’s arms to the space of front floor ground and people in the village come to cheer their new member. Cơ Ho people absolutely do not let the outsiders bear in their house. For Mạ people, dependently giving birth in the house of the other can be accepted, but after bearing, it is a must to make ceremonial offerings of chickens and alcohol thank to the host and drive bad lucks out the house.

In the wedding of Cơ Ho, Mạ, the brides or bridegrooms want to “come in” the husband house ( for Mạ people) or the wife house(for Cơ Ho people), they have to be through a “washing feet” formality. In the front of the door, a piece of iron and a cup of water are already put. The bride or the groom has to ram his or her feet down that piece of iron and wash their feet by that cup of water (in order to drive out all bad things) before stepping over the threshold to come in the house. That piece of iron is kept to be a memory proves the loyalty.

Like many other ethnic groups in the area, ethnic minorities in Lam Dong do not let take the corpse of “sudden deaths” to their house, it must be put the outside of the ground, even out of the village. To “normal” deaths, the corpse is allowed to “leave in temporary shelter prior to burial within one week. The death is laid in the middle of the house, head turning to the back wall, feet turning to the main door. When it is time to take the coffin out of the house, it is vital not to take it through the daily door, but people have to break the back wall to take it out, then building the back wall again. After the funeral, all attendants must seek streams to take bath, clean their clothes and then come home. All members of the family also take all clothes, furniture of the house to clean. The lying of the recent decedent is thoroughly cleaned. All the attendants of the funeral are not allowed to get in house immediately. They must sit in the front of the house to be “cleansed the miasma”. People are ready to prepare boiled water mixing chicken blood in bamboo tubes and use leaf to sprinkle seven times on each other in order to pray all good lucks back. About seven days from that, members of family is not allowed to go to the forest or the fields. To the eighth day, after taking a similar “cleansing ceremony”, they have to be allowed to work.

Thus, the typical character of the traditional architecture of Lam Dong ethnic minorities is simple, practical, harmonious, adapted to their living environment and economic-social conditions. A typical product of this folk architecture is these long floors (hìu rọt) made from available materials in this place, has the curved frame roof or shape of turtle shell, are places for “residence” of extended family regimes. The other hand, the traditional house of these ethnic groups is just a “cultural complex”, including of maintaining many different terms of culture of ethnic groups, reflecting the level of economic-social development and spiritual life of the owners of those architectural characters honestly. Thank to the traditional architecture of ethnic minorities, it can be observed many similarities in both the shape- structural engineering and social aspect, between their long floors and these architectural characters of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, and many others in Southeast Asian area in common. It can be considered as evidence proving the cultural-historical relations between ancestors of ethnic minorities in this region and others in the same area.

Now, there is a part of ethnic resident lives in many modern houses with luxury facilities, but which do not mean the total denial of the traditional architecture. On the other hand, in the Central Highland modern architecture, these long floors of the native ethnic groups here still take its preserving stand, at least its basely typical characters still loom in these advanced architectures but charming identity of ethnic minorities.

Some another architectural types of Lam Dong ethnic minorities:

Beside kind of house above, in Lam Dong ethnic minorities, there is also some another architectures such as granary (đam), the floor, huts on the milpa in order to protect their crops, avoid the animal destruction (rnú, kop), sepulchral house (kút). Generally, these tectonic architectural characters is made by the same “architectural principles” with house, but its scale is smaller, more simple materials, larger temporary (apart from often having permanent granary and high floor); therefore, they are not typical for folk architecture in this region.

Architecture of Vietnamese residents in Lam Dong:

At the beginning of this century, with all exploiting colonial programs of French colonialists

The first Vietnamese residents started appearing in Lam Dong. However, up to the middle of this century, a number of them are not too large and they mainly reside in villages, towns. From since 1975, a rearrangement of population and labour all over the nation, especially the movement for the construction of new economy, which leads to the significant growth of mechanical population in this part of residents. After a few centuries, they are the majority of residents in Lam Dong. Traditional houses of this residential part have two main types: a type of houses on street and villas of urban residents and the other of traditional houses of suburban residents.

Although the origin of Vietnamese residents in Lam Dong is quite various, has a section from Hong River plateau, another from some provinces of Central, but generally, their houses are quite unified and have no differences from the houses of people who are the same ethnic groups with them in the northern and central of the nation. It can be said that it is a Vietnamese house type, “a design”, they bring here from their homeland.

The typical character of this architectural type is that a bungalow has frame-pile structure. A frame-pile structure is created by trusses with three linking components: horizontal truss- vertical beam - pile and then vertical links by vertical beams. Each Vietnamese house often has a number of compartments (3 or 5) and two auxiliary lean-tos. The roof has the shape of two tilted planes “cut” each other along the mainline of the roof and extra two auxiliary roof- leant-tos to cover section of two gables. However, overall, the scale of “these duplicates” is often smaller than “its originals”- these houses in homeland.

The materials used for these houses were mainly bamboo, woods, grass, leaves before; but recently a replacement for these short-lived materials above by bricks, tiles, iron roofing or cement. Because aesthetic demand and linking engineering of all sections in a house require high cleverness, labor division of building house process in Vietnamese people is quite clear- almost taken on by males, even the phases of making a design,…are undertaken by professional or amateur builder unions.

Traditional architecture of the other ethnic residents in Lam Dong (Hoa, Tay, Nung, Giay)

Since Geneva Convention (July, 1954), a part of ethnic minorities from mountainous provinces in the northern of the nation has moved to reside in Lam Dong. On the new land, because of intermixable living with Vietnamese people, this part of residents basely construct houses following the type of Vietnamese house themselves. Today, it is almost not to base on the shape of house to guess the ethnic elements of the owners of those architectural characters.

Contemporary architecture in Lam Dong

Lam Dong planning and architecture before 1954:

In the end of nineteenth century- the beginning of twentieth century, French colonials have conducted exploiting colonial programs with a large scale. Lam Dong is an essential strategic position and abundant, various natural resources, especially the strong points of planting industrial trees and cool climate with tropical character of Da Lat region, taken an especial attention by French colonials. With the growth of coffee, tea, rubber plantations on the highland, a system of traffic-way is set up and Da Lat tourist area- resort is established step by step. The first and second world war interrupted French dignitaries, officials and solider with their holidays in homeland also is an element contributes to urge the demonstration on planning and architecture of colonial government. Especially, during the years of the Second World War (1939-1945), with the intrigue of turning Da Lat into the capital of Indochina- a long-lasting entrenched base before the spread of Japanese militarists, Decoux Governor-General led to this mountainous highland town from a small town to a city having a significant scale.

Thus, before 1954 the planning and architecture in Lam Dong closely combined with economic, politic, touring and resorting demands of French colonials. This just stipulates for typical characters of the planning and architecture of the towns, communities in Lam Dong, including of many effective elements up to now.

The period of 1893-1914:

Because of many different causes (economic, politic, exploring survey) only since the World War I, the colonial government has just had a concentration on planning and architectural term in Lam Dong.

One of the most significant marks is the form of the first towns in Dong Nai Thuong such as Da Lat, B’Lao, Djiring, Dran, Cau Dat. At the year of 1899, Djiring took a role of a province of Dong Nai Thuong. However, generally, before the First World War, these town, or township, also had a small scale, a sparse population, is formed spontaneously, lack of overall planning.

In 1906, after making a decision to choose Da Lat for the location of French resort in Indochina, Champoudry Major- a pharmacist and used to be an advisor of Paris Council, delineated a planning sketch and subdivided into plots in Da Lat, including of public and administrative centers, commercial area, the station, post offices as well as street scale (20m for main roads, 16m and 12m for the second-class and third-class roads).

Apart from really unperfected or “too ideal” points, Champoudry sketch is delineated basic characters of planning in Da Lat, including of many points remained up to now (markets, stations, main traffic roads…). But, in term of constructive architecture, there was no significant works. Officers, inns, post officers, “Cay Market”…are still made of woods sketchily with eight or ten Vietnamese cottages. At night, the dangerous animals still threaten human livings.

The period of 1914-1939:

The First World War broke off (1914), in order to encourage maximum talents, material resources for serving that world, French colonial government must ease off former arbitrary policies, give opportunity for French, Chinese, Vietnamese businessman and investors to do their business intensively on highland. The other hand, because of war situation, the way to Europe for holidays of French officials, solider were “trapped”, some people take a rest in Da Lat and some areas in highland. Da Lat was “overloading” at that time because its infrastructure can not supply for this huge demand.

After the end of the First World War, French colonials began the second exploiting colonial program in much more bigger scale than one in many previous years. A transportation system connected Da Lat with Sai Gon, Central Highlands and the Central Coast is completed step by step. Quantity and quality of industrial tree plantations increase rapidly. Because of big demand for workers, the mechanics population growth in towns, townships is quite large in Dong Nai Thuong. This is a context of a new developing period of many different aspects of towns in Lam Dong, including of planning and architecture.

Urban planning:

Since 1920, Da Lat became the second-class town and came in the urban renewal at the first time. Maurice Long Indochinese Governor- General himself consigned an overall renewal project to E.Hesbrard architect- who used to take part in restoring Salonique Ancient Town (Greece), take on. In 1923, E.Hesbrard project is completed, according to that, Da Lat would become a resort town on the highland for French in Indochina. It has a scale of about 30,000 hectare (east-west: 7km, south- north: 4,3km) for from 3,000 to 5000 people. A remarkable point of this project is a respectable attitude towards environmental landscape. Besides trying to keep the intactness of groves in the town, the planner of project also has a planning for a form of artificial lake system. Resort subdivions for French is centralized planning towards the northern Cam Ly stream (Tran Hung Dao, Quang Trung, Hoang Van Thu, Co Giang, Phan Chu Trinh, Huyen Tran Princess Streets today). However, the project also explored many disadvantages in the planning process. The fact that some years later, residential subdivisions for both French and Vietnamese did not supply for the demand enough because the restricted constructive area protecting managing farming was too big.

In 1993, Pineau architecture submitted a new project, according to that it is necessary to spread the area of lake surfaces and parks; the construction must be suitable for natural landscape and protect an overall view towards Lang Bian Mountain by a tectonic land in the northern of the town.

Architectural landscape:

The most remarkable point is an emphasis of surface water elements which combine with the other beautiful natural scenes to make a water-color painting, including of the tectonics of the Lake (Xuan Huong Lake today) in particular.

Rousselle architecture gave an opinion for the construction of a big lake in the center of the town basing on blocking the current of Cam Ly stream since 1900. In 1919, this idea is completed partially. In 1923, thank to blocking the second dam on the downstream, the lakes continued to be widen; made two close lakes. A large flood wiped dams out on March, 1932; and in 1935, a new dam was continued to be built- today is Ong Dao Bridge.

In a common picture of Da Lat, Xuan Huong Lake, located on the center of the town, emerging as the center of the overall water-color painting- an architectural landscape has a bold impression on someone just arrives to Da lat once time. Around the lake is plastic road echoing the sound of pine trees like “talking” with “bashful weeping willows near the lakes”. In the northeastern of the lake there was also Bich Cau Garden and the Flower Garden of the city with thousands of colorful roses. The northern of the lake was Cu Hill (today is a golf ground with 18 holes). The surface water became more and more romantic by pretty Thuy Ta, Thanh Thuy restaurants- where visitors can both taking a rest; sip the flavor of highland coffee, and enjoying a view of sky, landscape of the romantic city. The surface water got more and more sparkling, agitatedly, is an ideal meeting place for guys, also an undisturbed place for all people.

Because the lake bed was risen down quite rapidly, the northeastern of lake spent some “paddle on the hill” transforming. In 1985, a quite large-scale dredge was completed, but continued to be risen for 50 years later. In 1988, the city continued to invest in a large-scale renewal again so that Da lat “mirror” would be bright forever.

Architectural structure:

This period started to build “century works” “setting” up on the high points of the city. Many categories of those still exist to the present and continues to be a pride of Lam Dong- Da Lat architectural art, such as Governor-General’s Edifice (Edifice II, 1938), Bao Dai Private Palace (Edifice III, 1938), Djiring Ambassador’s Edifice (1936), Lanbian Hotel Palace (1922), Hotel de Parc, Decoux Housing Estate, Couvent des Oiseaux (ethnic high boarding-school now, 1935), Da Lat station (1938), Lycee Yersin ( Teaching College now, 1935).

Edifice I is an architectural community with an area of over 60 hectare. The main category is an one-cellar, one-ground floor, one-storey house with red tiled roof has European architecture-shaped at the end of nineteenth century. It is located on the green pine-forest. The entrance is a plastic road having two rows of immeasurably high white- trunk trees. In the middle of the road is a turning flower isle show the way to the main building. There is also some architectural works such as house for musketeers, servicemen and a garden system, shallow tank, path for walking around…create a perfect community architecture.

Edifice I and II are the private palaces having been influenced by European architectural renovating trend whose typical character is the liberation from strict symmetry of classical thinking, and moves to free cubes in the 20s, 30s of this century. These are two-storey architectural characters, plane roofs, balanced cubic lay-out but not well-matched, rigid. Therefore, the outer of both two edifices are not demonstrated on decorative details. The vertical is uneven flexibly in order to create different cubic pieces.

Arranging quite modern plane: the ground floor is used for officials and reception connected with the entrances and big frame steel glass windows to through the outside; the storey is used for daily activities of the family. The front of two edifices is also roofed to receive guests parking- a new solution is in order to raise the majesty and great size for the work. Edifice I also include an open-cast ground having been set a fountain, golden Venus Statue and its surrounding is enclosed by the clear walls having successively arches. Lycée Yersin includes Petit Lycée School (completed in 1927) and Grand Lycee School (completed in 1935). On June 28, 1935 Grand Lycee School was renamed Yersin High School.

This is a type of unique school architecture having one main three-storey lecture hall with a high steeple tiled slate roof up to the middle of the pine tree range, reflecting in Xuan Huong Lake. Although it is still under the influence of classic architecture school (simple plane lay-out, slope roof, curved in the bottom of the roof, roof light system), it overcame by “bending itself” along a soft curve embracing a space of large ground which is rustled by the sound of confiners.

The same axis with the main lecture hall, through a curved roofed corridor, this is an administrative area- a grey two-storey architectural character including through successively three roofs shaped U. This architectural character is designed along the classic style (tiled slate roofs, used panes of the sculpted roof, curved in the bottom of the roof,..). Having paralleled with those blocks is two another blocks (one three-storey building and one two-storey building for each block) having more simple structure and the outside decoration, both using for classrooms and for dormitory of students. Squaring those blocks is much smaller architectural character used for halls, laboratories…the way between the blocks is linked by rows of curved roofed corridors, coloring the charming appearance of the school.

Da Lat Station was inaugurated in 1938, unstopped the unique railway having cogwheels combined Da Lat with all parts of the nation through Cham Tower platform. This is a significant-scale architectural character not only in the 30s but also up to present. The classic architecture style had strongly impression on over the building by a well-matched lay-out among the architectural parts, in the immeasurably red tiled roofs, in the parts of curved roof, bended roof and the panes of sculpted roof with the splitting-stone wall built up to the window-sill. Catching the observer’s eye is three successively parallel rooftops throughout the top to the edge of the roof in the ground floor. Under the middle rooftop is a big word “Da Lat”. Corresponding with each rooftop is three windows with many small glass panes make a clear for the front of all the building. Squaring three rooftops along the horizontal of the construction is two vertical roofs along two sides and turn on the left edge of the roof. All the buildings make a connection with the up and down mountains of the highland. The space of the interior is sparkling bright by the colorful glass panes at the bottom of the roof.

The lay-out station follows symmetric principles, double-sided front and back o (west-east) and two similar laterals (north-south). In the eastern (the side border the railway) there is extra cement roofs along two edges of the roof to welcome guests, which raises more and more gentle and purified for the architectural character.

Langbian Palace Hotel is the considerable architectural category built earlier in Da Lat (started in 1916, completed in 1922). Like its name, this hotel shaped a luxurious and splendid palace near romantic Xuan Huong Lake. Modern architecture style is combined with the classic thinking by smoothly decorative surface with many decorative details above the windows, especially the bottom of the roof. The interior lay-out of the hotel is divided into two rows of room with a corridor in the middle. All bedrooms are decorated along the interior lay-out of west palaces having wood-burning fireplace and modern facilities. Beside bedrooms, there are also living rooms for luxurious meetings, reception, conferences. The hotel is more and more splendid by valuable chandeliers and many east-west famous paintings of the present and the past hanging on the walls.

After many using centuries, recently this hotel has been upgraded to Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel gains five-star standard- the highest level in the present hotel system in Da Lat.


In the term of architecture, this period also left a strong impression on the time by a kind of typical architecture of the highland city- architectural villa (villa)- pretty architectural character for residing for a household located on the middle of flower campus and pot plant. Villas are built in various shapes; almost each villa exposes a private appearance, a private beauty. Many villas are built in this period has still presented and kept attractive figure up to now along Tran Hung Dao, Quang Trung, Hung Vuong streets.

Basing on the area of diving into constructive plots, people divide villas into some certain kinds such as high-standard villas (over 1500 square meters), medium villas (under 1000 square meters) and private house (under 500 square meters). In term of the architecture style, the classic architectural thinking (“shape roofs, thick walls, sophisticated decoration in the vertical) has many “variation” originate from French different regions, also has been a strong impression on the architectural villa during this time.

Villas based on the Normandy school (the northwestern of France) are characterized by sets of big roof, “bended” the bottom of the roof, building walls to the windowsill; built by the bricks above and exposed sets of wooden frame. The villas based on the Bretagne school (the western of France) are characterized by sets of roof using lithographic tiles (ardoise) with the end-wall having higher border than the roof. The villas built along the Pays Basque school (the southwestern of France) are characterized by making the decoration of the end-wall be its architectural façade, emerging frame and the extended roof out of the wall. The villas built along the Savoir school (the southeastern of France) also has many similar characters like those above, but the upper floor is made of wood and large balcony.

Thus, from a small township in the previous time of the First World War, Da Lat really became a significant scale highland town, a considerable touring-resort center in Indochina at that time. In term of planning and architecture, the town owned a specific unique nuance with many schools of typical architecture of French architecture in particular and of European architecture in common. One of the respectable characters is the attitude of planners and town authorities found the importance of the landscape architecture, the necessity for combining the space of artificial architecture with the beautiful nature of the romantic mountainous and water land. Corresponding with fresh air and human respect in front of the nature, French architects broke the rules of planning in the chessboard of normal urban architecture, limited the leveling of constructive planes, mainly based on the contours, ensured the regulated backward space above the side street. There is nothing to argue when some people considered Da Lat as “a Paris sub-town”.

Beside Da Lat Town, the other towns in Dong Nai Thuong were also extended and had a considerable development. Djiring has taken a role of a province for many years. In 1936, Envoy Palace is built; the markets and residential area are widen in order to supply a demand for the population growth in the area. The other towns such as Dran (Don Duong), B’Lao (Bao Loc) is also extended for the scale, but in term of architecture still had a little considerable changes. Generally, the architectural picture of the rural areas is still temporary, empty with the great-sized architectural characters.

Period of 1940 – 1954

As mentioned above, during this period, the colonial government attempted to turn Da Lat into the capital of Indochina, a long-term basis for resistance to the Japanese fascists. On the other hand, the devastating war in Europe and France was occupied by Nazi Germany made the wave of Europeans staying in Dalat increase significantly.

In 1940, architect H. Mondet presented a pre-feasibility project of planning and developing Da Lat on a basis of limiting the extension of the residential area, but concentrating by increasing the land in the downtown area; the policy was maintaining the roads and the width of the inner roads (expansion was only for some curves and intersections).

Shortly after, a project of reorganizing new Dalat was carried out by the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture in Indochina, and architect J. Lagisquet was the leader of the design team. On April 27, 1943, the new plan was approved and issued by Governor Decoux (land transfer program of land use regulation was enclosed). According to that new plan, the city center is planned surrounding the Big Lake; the residential area is expanded to receive the population fivefold. Especially, to the Vietnamese people and their land can farm and ensure existence and food needs for the city.Quality of the city - garden (Cité-jardin) is began.

On this basis, Dalat entered a period of strong growth. The population increased rapidly: from 13,500 people in 1940 to 25,500 people in 1945.

About architecture, this is the period of increasing villas; and Decoux housing estate was formed, raising the total number of villas in the city up to 1000. In the Vietnamese community village in Ha Dong (1938), Nghe Tinh (1940) was also formed with home style, which made the picture of Dalat architectural more diversity. Along with population growth, the number of churches, temples also increased to meet the demand of the spiritual life of the people, such as the Cathedral, the Linh Quang Pagoda, Linh Son pagoda, which enriched the aspect of Da Lat architecture.

After 1945, the development of city architecture was stopped, except for the increase of some residential areas, temples, churches and schools. A number of small villages were also formed, such as Anh Sang commune (1952), Thai Phien (1955 )...

After a half century of formation and development, the architectural planning of Lam Dong had a thriving step. From the land of unwholesome environment, it became a domestic and foreign tourist attractive land, especially, the appearance of its “pearl” - Dalat. The planning and architecture of the city also contributed significantly to the great value of Da Lat, in which architectural European schools with diverse, new and attractive factors .emerged as the addition of a selective manner to Vietnam's architecture.

The period of 1954 – 1975

In 1954, the French was defeated in Indochina and had to withdraw; then the country was divided in two different political regimes, the region of Lam Dong in general, Da Lat in particular was under the management of the "Republic of Vietnam." Many of government officials at that time acquired the influence of French culture and many of them also had a lifetime in Dalat. Therefore, the land of Lam Dong was still a more attractive investment market for new entrepreneurs and Dalat was still the attractive travel - resort to foreign tourists and a large number of Vietnamese people who had the decent living in the South. On the sidelines of the political events of a fiercely divided country, work planning and architecture in general, Lam Dong, Da Lat in particular, had won a certain interest.

It is noticeable that this period also witnessed the presence of a force of new residents on the land of Lam Dong - the migrants of diverse ethnic groups from the North after the Geneva Agreement- which increased the population of the townships or towns in Lam Dong. Apart from the contribution to the urban expansion, in terms of architecture, their presence also contributed an additional "color" to the “architectural picture” in Lam Dong.

The French had lost the role of "boss" in this country, but the mark of the architectural planning has been inherited respected. Towns were continued to expand to meet demand for accommodation in the natural and mechanics population growth. Government officials of "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" has been to Dalat and built villas along Nguyen Du, Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Quang Trung, Lu Gia streets...

In Da Lat, the project of J. Lagisquet and land transferring program issued in 1943 continued to apply in the land granting and construction permission. However, the aesthetic tastes of the people tended to have some certain changes, combined classic architectural style with modern architecture, creating a complementary architectural picture of Da Lat. The lines used in favor of delicate and light architecture. This period begins to use a building with a flat roof and granite stone to decorate the house’s front.

There have been many structures contribute to beauty for the highland city. There were also some construction works breaking the harmony of landscape. Typical architectural works in this period were the Da Lat new market, Da Lat University, the Youth hostel, Atomic Research, Da Lat Military Academy, Pope Pius X Seminary

Dalat University

In Dalat planning project of architect E. Hebrard, almost 40 hectare hill north of the Big Lake, next to Cu hill would be an important military zone. In 1939, the Dalat School of the Eurasian Children of Troops (École d'Enfants de Troupe de Dalat) was built. In 1957, the University of Dalat was formed on that school’s area. Some new architectural works were added to meet the new training demand of the University, increasing the total works there to over 40 large and small buildings with different names; notably, such campuses as Spellman hall, Nang Tinh chapel, the library, buildings of Don Hoa, Minh Thanh, Hoa Lac, Tri Nhat, Hoi Huu ...

The University of Da Lat is a beautiful architectural ensemble situated within the romantic pine forest. The designers had maximum respect for the inherent beauty of the hills to create a very rich landscape of "garden". From the school gate inwards, there were asphalt alleys bending contour with poetic names such as Thong Reo (whistling Pines) alley, Anh Dao (Cherry tree) alley, Huong Duong (Sunflower) alley, ... Those alleys led to the campuses, laboratory, the Dean’s office, and faculties’ offices.

Almost every architectural monument in the University had its own architectural style. Modern architectural style (emphasis on shapes, technical concrete framework, fibrocement roofing, and walls of ashlars paving stone,...) was combined with elements of the "renovation" school in the layout of the lobby with flat oval roof reaching out to welcome guests. In the overall architecture of Da Lat University emerged the Nang Tinh Chapel with the 38m-high triangular shaped bell tower rising to the sky of the plateau city. The level map of the chapel was the blocks linked together in the shape of a big fan with the top toward the tower’s foot. The front of the building emerged two-tier architecture with pointed roof with elegant lobby roof with two rows of houses built along the sides with large windows. The center of the chapel was the oratory with the cross-shape standing out from the wooden background, in front was a stone platform for offering. The Chapel space was “illuminated” by the empty courtyard in the middle. Surrounding the chapel was the stone courtyard scattered with mica and was "outlined" by the row of coniferous trees, creating a feeling of both solemnity and pleasant.

Since 1975, this campus belongs to the University of Dalat. In recent years, under the great need of society, the school continued to expand training capacity. To adapt to this new scale of training, the school continues to improve and upgrade some components of the deteriorated architectural works, among them emerged the A30 lecture hall opened on May 11, 1997 and A27 lecture hall.

The Atomic Research Centre was built in 1958. Architect Ngo Viet Thu successfully combined the harmony use of the architectural object (center of the nuclear reactor) with the natural scenery of Da Lat. The architectural complex was adapted from the hydrogen model, a rare and unique aspect in the world. Around the central nucleus (nuclear reactor) were the architectural works interspersed with small parks. Coming to the most important place of modern science, everybody still feels like coming to a “flower garden”.

Dalat Market was built in 1929 to serve the needs of goods trade. After a fire in 1931, this market was destroyed. In 1934, Provincial envoy Lucien Auger decided to build a new brick market to replace the previous Cho Cay "market of trees". The front of the market fitted with the symbol of the city, including a young couple of Lach ethnic, a tiger and the Latin motto: Dat Aliis Laetitiam Aliis Temperiem (giving these people joyfulness, the other people good health). There was a time; this market was seen as a symbol of this plateau city.

In 1958, under the rapid growth of population in Da Lat (nearly 54 thousand people), the old market were "overloaded" and located in the city centre. There was obstacle, traffic jam and…….. Mayor Tran Van Phuoc had to build a new two-floor modern market. It was designed by architect Nguyen Duy Duc and planned by the architect Ngo Viet Thu. This is one of the first markets in Vietnam. The market is a modern and harmonious architecture with landscape. The market’s front curved soft. Ahead of a roundabout are flowers. The building extends toward the system in a staircase form the graceful tower. The ground floor used as a place to purchase flowers, vegetables, fruits and foods. Upper storey is cloths and other goods. A bridge in the Peace leads to the second floor.

In 1933, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of discovering Da Lat by Yersin and under the demand for new development of Da Lat, the City Council decided to upgrade this market to the commercial trading center based on renewing the existing part (A area) and building extra two new areas (B, C areas), including of which C area is ten-storey hotel. Now B area is completed and opened for public; an area is renewed. Like Da Lat, many other towns, townships also witnessed a significant change in Lam Dong. Towns and townships such as Bao Loc, Di Linh, Don Duong are also widen in term of scale and appeared the modern shaped architectures, popularity is the using washing paving-stone in the decoration of the frontage. However, the rural architecture are still temporary characters with the majorities of iron roofed houses, simple wood walls, less aesthetic value.

The period of 1963-1975:

In this period, social-economic situation was not stable because the fighting of over the Southern became more and more fierce after American presence in the battlefield, so the planning almost stopped and only concentrated on military works or temporary benefits such as training centers, restaurants, bars and hotels set up numerously, which had a few influences on the landscape and urban architecture. Especially, after the year of the monkey (1968), the wave of migrants from military zones “landed” quite noisily in Lam Dong. Corresponding with the illegal encroachment to build houses, garden spread was the appearance of the slums roofed iron sheets, wooden walls made hurt the urban beautiful-looking seriously.

Compared to the period before 1954, the planning and architecture of Lam Dong-Da Lat were hardly “at the level”. The new character in the architecture of this period was the appearance of some architecture works having modern style replaced for European architectural houses before, contributed to make Lam Dong architectural painting more and more abundant.

The period of 1975-1985:

Because of having many continuous difficulties and especially the focusing mechanism, administrative subsidies, there was no opportunities to complete the projects. In addition to that, the population increased rapidly and even the expenditure for remaining the infrastructure was not sufficient, upgraded seriously. However, this period also had a few significant architectural works such as Da Lat Martyr Cemetery, Children Cultural City House, dredging the silting in the north-eastern of Xuan Huong Lake, Bao Loc Silk Mulberry Center,…

The period of 1986-2000:

In 1991, The Adjusting Overall Constructive Planning Project for Da Lat City was presided by the planning union of Urban and Rural Planning Institute, Constructive Ministry and Vu Kim Long architect along the Instructions issued 19/CT on January 22, 1991 of the Ministry Council. The construction and development for Da Lat turned into a tourist center reaching the national or international size, a scientific- engineering research center, a economic-politic-cultural city center was approved by the government, including of which the city extension towards the direction of Dan Kia was outstanding because of attracting to the attention of the foreign investors.

Architectural residential houses:

The population of the province unstopped rising both the natural and mechanistic growth, beside that, combining with the trend of economic market, income and living of people also unstopped increasing. The demand for residency both quality and quantity became urgent problems. The problem of raising extra resident plots for residential areas was noticed by all levels of leader. People themselves built new residential houses shaped pretty “A”, had the appearance of architectural villas increasing day by day, event in both urban and rural areas. Mini hotels with many various shapes, different architectural styles were designed by architects and presided by Urban Managing Department, also set up closely in Da Lat and Bao Loc made the architectural painting of the homeland be embellished many lively sketches, more and more colorful.

However, the arbitrary construction also created many concerned problems which was outstanding is that the refusing all regulations of urban architecture such as a concession to sell land in order to build rows of semi-attached “cylindrical” buildings, hustled the kerb, no backspacing, be “multiform” buildings; the design of house was not presided, a multistory design, multi-roofs, many “roof-tops”,…which had big influences on thrurban paintings, especially Da Lat.

Architectural works:

From 1986 to present, although it has not been spent many times, the appearance of Lam Dong as well as the urban and rural appearance of the city had a few heartening prospers. The typical architectural categories were renewed to the asphalted and concrete streets with four-lane roads, tiled pavement, planting tree on two sides and installing the lighting system by clear and spacious high-tension lamps, which brings a considerable change for the appearance of Da Lat such as Da Lat Golf Yard, Tuyen Lam Lake Touring Area; starting to upgrade Da Lat Market to Da Lat Commercial-Service Center, Bao Loc Viseri Hotel, Hermann Gmeiner Social Center, People’s Procuracy, People’s Court, Lam Dong Post Office Tower, “Da Lat Women” Monument, Tung Nghia Martyr Cemetery; the beginning of renewing some beautiful places such as Prenn Waterfall, Cam Ly Waterfall, Tuyen Lam Lake…, upgrading the big hotels such as Palace (today is Sofitel Dalat Palace), Da Lat Hotel (today is Novotel Dalat) to four-star hotels, upgrading some main traffic lines in the inner Da Lat. The street lines of 3-4, Tran Phu, Tran Hung Dao, Quang Trung, Phu Dong Thien Vuong, Dinh Tien Hoang, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Phan Chau Trinh…

A remarkable character of the important constructive works for recent years has been the scale of constructive categories also belongs to type of the first-class categories which is spacious and sizable, uses good and expensive materials widely, and has been noticed considerably in term of aestheticism in its construction by the designers. Beside the taken pieces of grass cover, parterres, decorative plants and green-tree lines surrounding the architectural categories; considering as an organic part of the architectural characters, another remarkable feature is the exploitation and taking full advantage of the strong impressed characters in school of Gothic architecture for the architectural categories. Instead of “box-house” types, simple flat roofs once, now people can see in the near architectural categories again through glorious, tiled roof buildings having rows of parallel vertical…pillars in the frontage of the architecture, pressed plaster decorative patterns on the outer frontage or on the ceiling of the living room become quite popular.

Another respectful thing in the recent architectural categories was that the designers started to pay attention to “identity of the Central Highlands” in their works. It can be considered that the tiled roofs rising up ahead, setting up “a couple of horns” on two both roof-tops in the architectural community of Da Lat Hermann Gmeiner Social Center was an evidence for this trend.

Religious architecture:

The architecture of Buddhist pagodas, temples, monastery and Zen monastery:

Among religious architectural types in Lam Dong, it must told about Buddhist architecture works at first because a number of pagodas, temples, and monastery is very large here (over 140 works), but the more important thing is that here has a few pagodas with quite great-size scale and very high architectural value- one of the significant contributions made extra the beauty of cities, towns in homeland, strongly attracted to visitors everywhere. Almost the pagodas in Lam Dong were also built in from the 50s to the 70s of the twentieth century. The earlier pagoda on Lang Bian Highland was Linh Quang established in 1931 and considered as “communal temple”. Linh Son pagoda was built in 1938 ranked the second in term of time. The other pagodas have been started lately in turn; Truc Lam Zen Monastery has just begun since 1993.

A unique character of Buddhist architecture in Lam Dong exposed clearly through the selection for the architectural space, the harmonious coordination between the nature and the artificial parts. Many pagodas reached the level of driving people to have a passion for the perfect beauty of natural sceneries intermixing with the softly curved roofs. The solitary feeling of the pagodas seems to be encroached by charmingly mountainous and water scenery, hundred flowers displayed their colors. Almost pagodas in this land tried to rise up to take a quite high position- on the top of the hills- which is not easy to gain in the plane areas, but it is not difficult in the terrain of a mountainous highland having many hills and mountains. Eastern Geomancy Faculty is almost “in a favorable position” in this land. When standing in the front of these pagodas here, the observer can recognize “prosperous land” elements for the architectural characters such as the previously obstructed-façade (a mountain or a far-away hillock in the front of the pagoda),…(a row of another mountain in the back of the pagoda), … (a lake, a stretch of a stream or a valley next to the front of the pagoda), blue dragon on the left, white tiger on the right (two mountains or hills flank upon that pagoda), these elements above really contributed to create poeticality for Buddhist architectures in this area.

Among over 149 Buddhist architectural works in Lam Dong, there are many famous pagodas and Zen monasteries were and being already strongly attracted touring-sightseeing places to visitors everywhere. That is architectural categories belong to the area of Da Lat City such as Linh Son Pagoda, Tau Pagoda (Thien Vuong Co Sat), Truc Lam Zen Monastery, Linh Phuoc Temple …

Linh Quang Pagoda is located on Hai Ba Trung street, at number of 133, Da Lat, has been established since 1931 by Thich Nhan Thu- Superior Monk, was the first pagoda built in Lam Dong, so it was also called “Linh Quang Communal Temple”. Afterward it was restored and embellished in the years of 1958 and 1972.

From the side of Hai Ba Trung Street, throughout a built gate having a signboard of Linh Quan Temple and the date for its construction written by Chinese characters, which one side is Manh Xuan-the year of At Ty (January, 1965) and the other is Buddhist calendar…(Buddhist: 2509) with a road rounding along the foot of hill leads to staircases to come in the sanctum.

The sanctums of the pagoda lengthen 20 meters, the largest part is 15 meters, including of which is throughout linking-constructor shaped the character of “…”. The front house is an architecture consisting of three compartments and two lean-tos, having double-roofs (). From the outside, on the two roof-tops set up teo dragons along position of dragon-recalling, also gather to flank on one side of the tiger-faced. Above the tiger-faced it is Buddihistic samsara-wheel. On the knife-tops of the outer roof it is couples of di-phoenix, di-kylin flanking on. At two both knife-tops of the inner roofs it is a couple of di-dragon rising up. In the middle of double-roofs it is paintings decorated symmetric dragon-recalling through the expression of “Linh Quang Temple” by blue Chinese characters on the background shaped a stylized red character of “” design.

The front of the pagoda is four pillars with dragons carved on it and near two outer pillars are two pieces of narrow walls carved the scenery of Loc Uyen Garden on it. Throughout the holding back the roof it ia a deep blue painting carved a character of design. There are three main doors lead to the inner sanctum, above the central door is a word “Linh Quang Pagoda”.

The space of the inner sanctum has Sakyamuni (Buddha) Statue sitting on the lotus calyx, shining halos under a canopy of pomelo leaves. Behind the sanctum it is the back of communal temple, two sides of which are the worship for tablets of dead female and male. The opposite side is the worship for…Progenitor and the left side of the sanctum is a garden-tower with two five-storey precious towers. In the pagoda there is U Minh bell weighten 135kg.

Linh Son pagoda is a pagoda located on a high hill, about 700m from Da Lat city center (on address of 120, Nguyen Van Troi Street). This is also a place where is located the office for Managing Department of Lam Dong Province Buddhism Association.

The pagoda started to be built in 1938 according to the request of Missus Tu Cung (Bao Dai King’s mother) to Church of Elder Monks in Central Vietnam since 1936, after when she came from Da Lat to Hue and opened it in 1940 (the period when Thich Tri Thu Elder Superior Monk was leader). The pagoda is named by a mountain in India- where Buddha preached about the bible of …and made an epoch of Zen school. From that, the pagoda spent many times on restoring and embellishing.

Lin Son Temple is an architectural community consisting of many differently small and great size categories allocated on the space about nearly 4 hectare. It has two entrances. Three-door temple gate is located in the southeastern. Along an upstairs path having many staircases, visitors went to the front temple ground- where is set Statue of Bodhisattva Kwan Yin made of white plaster stands on the lotus calyx. The front is a quite big bronze top (1.2m in height, 0.8m in diameter). This is an intersection with the main entrance of the pagoda- from the side of Bui Thi Xuan- Nguyen Van Troi T-junction.

The sanctum consists of two semi-attached houses shaped the character of “”. At the entrance of the lobby it is the staircases with both two sides having statue of two winding, opening mouth dragons made of cement. The lobby having the roof-tops decorated by… “di-dragons in moon reign” is majestic. Its front has four big pillars and under the edging roof is decorative design shaped a character of stylized “”. The compartment on the right of the lobby has Statue of Buddha sitting in the lotux calyx casted by bronze with 1.7m in height and 1.250kg in weight (casted in 1952). On the right of the inner sanctum there is a Great Bell of 450kg hanging on a precious wooden stand. The left of the sanctum also has a drum-prop (the drum has 1m in length, and 0.75 in diameter). Not far away from the sanctum, on the right side it is a precious tower shaped a three- storey octagon. On the left of the sanctum it is the ancestral worship, where is the worship for…Progenitor and its two sides it is the altars for died Sang has as well as Buddhistists whose family or relatives wanna worship at the pagoda. In the pagoda there is also a department releasing prayer-books and a dying house where manages the Buddhistist corpses whose funeral the family and relatives want to celebrate at the pagoda.

Besides that, near the pagoda there is also a quite large lecture hall built since 1972 to make a place preach (today is Buddhology School in Lam Dong province).

Linh Phong Pagoda located on a high group of hills (on the address of 72C, Hoang Hoa Tham Street) is a nunnery. Its origin is formerly a Buddha praying place with iron roofs built in 1944 led by Thich Bich Nguyen Superioi Monk. Laterly, this campus is descended from him to Thich Nu Tu Huong Elderly female bonze. From 1948 to 1962, she accepted to build, renew to the present pagoda.

At first, people must climb a row of stone staircases lengthen nearly 40m to reach the three-door temple gate if they want to come in Linh Phong Temple. Three-door gate here consist of two-storey tiled tube-roof. The underneath consist of three gothic arches towards the northeastern. Above there is a door shaped curved rectangle with “ Linh Phong Pagoda” signboard and Statue of Colossus. The top of three-door roof has the decoration of …”two dragons toward the moon”; all knife-tops and the inner roofs are the dragon-recalling design.the front of the sanctum is the spacious ground. The center of the ground is a Statue of Bodhisattva Kwan Yin made of white plaster standing on the lotux calyx set up on the cement top. The sanctum consists of two throughout semi-attached houses along the shape of the “dinh” character. The lobby is a double architectural characters (), carved “di-dragons in the moon tide” on the top; flaniking couples of dragons, phoenixes, turtles,..on the knife-tops.

The main hall worshipping 1.8 m high Amitabha Buddha with body lacquer, sheaves of gold (carved in 1949). Both sides are brass-polished statues of the Mercy Buddha and Mahasthamaprapta. Behind the main hall is the place where worshiped Zen master Dharma and the most vererable Thich Quang Duc. The outside is two rows of houses used as living areas for the nuns, pilgrims and lecture hall. The next is the worshipping location of the Buddhist nun and the Temple of “Tieu Dien” guardian. Finally, a three-storey stupa was built in 1988, which is expected to put the ashes of her professor after passed away.

Truc Lam monastery was built by the most venerable Thich Thanh Tu (started on 5-28-1993, inaugurated on 3-9-1994), but its reputation has become so familiar to with the cross. Located on a 25 ha campus, English pine trees rustle and Dalat about 5km to the south. Not just the monastery where Buddhist, monk of the Buddhist monks, but is really a ideal places not only for tourists but also for the four residents of Da Lat. In front of the monastery is a vast Tuyen Lam lake offers water waves. Between the islands float on a mound of green interspersed with parts information.

The main hall is an elegant architectural work with quadrilateral shape and double roof. Unlike many other temples, roof of the Truc Lam does not have the decorative motifs of dragon, unicorn, phoenix symbol, only wheel in the roof peak. The first training will not cover what the picture is only slightly pitched to a very soft way. Part doors and windows were made of wood, exquisitely carved.

Linh Phuoc Pagoda located in clusters Tu Duc, Ward 11, Da Lat, which was constructed in 1949 and recently restored to create a large scale in recent years (1990-1998).

The best feature of this temple is that it is decorated with a dragon arrays by means of relief are attached pieces of ceramics, porcelain and glass like in Tomb of Khai Dinh Hue. Density arrays are very dense decoration. Dragon rose to the second roof top, turned around in the early training, spiral wound acid on the pillars. In the temple, in the main hall has a statue of meditating Sakyamuni under the Bodhi original high 4.9 m. Long temple is right next to the garden nicely. The entrance is a large dragon with three folds form three curved doors of the gate. The dragon is on the back of the bodhisattva Manjushri. Inside the park is another large dragon with 49m long, winding throughout the park space.

The rise of the dragon head on top of a fake painting covers the meditating Maitreya below.

After two years of research prototyping, Linh Phuoc pagoda bells are cast finish on 1-10-2000, 4.5 m high bell, bell mouth width 2.3 m.

Linh Thang (also known as Di Linh pagoda) is located at street number 89 Unified - Di Linh town, Thich Chanh Truc was built in 1958, has undergone two restoration and renovation in the year 1978 and 1992.

Through the gate from the gate, follow the steps to the courtyard level will be for electricity - where she Guan Yin statue in plaster standing on a lotus. Next is the grade level with the lion's teeth pairs up with cement reinforced majesty of the temple. Building lobby, including two three-storey bell tower connected by a double roof. Above the first floor roof with decorative motifs "dragons tide periods."

Internal space power emerged Shakyamuni Buddha sitting on lotus copper, 1.35 m high. In front of the Buddha is the kanji sign "Spirit Wins" two pillars and sculpted dragon 2 dragon roll must reach outwards and adoration of the Buddha.

Christian church Architecture

The architecture related to Christianity is the religious architectural works appearing earliest in Lam Dong. Since late last century, Jesuit missionaries climbed the pass, wading streams to "expand the Lord" until the distant land of this plateau. Of course, churches, chapels, also the birth place of worship to God and a place of prayer for the sheep. Nevertheless, not until the decade from 20 to 60 of the last century the church formed a class in terms of architecture.

Of the over 100 buildings in Lam Dong Catholic, must include Cathedral, Domaine de Marie, churches Cam Ly, Don Bosco Seminary, Chapel calculation (now the University of Da A 25Lat), Protestant churches in Lat commune.

Chanh Toa Church

Just passing the Prenn pass to enter the urban of Da Lat, tourists can see the bell tower. It is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Dalat that people commonly known by a name more rustic - "rooster church" (the church tower atop a rooster shaped metal).

"Precursor" of the building this church is a church "hic est Domus Dei" 24m long, 7m wide and 5m high was built in 1920, a church 26m long, 8m wide and 16m high bell tower construction shortly thereafter (1922).

Due to the current building was started on 19-7-1931 and conducted over 11 years of construction, to new opening date 25-1-1942. The size of the Cathedral as follows: length 65 m, where the largest 14m, 47m high bell tower. On top of the tower is attached to a chicken with the 0.66 m long, 0.58 m high instead use wind arrows - just a symbol for the French (Coq Gaulois), both representing St. Peter. The main door of the church looks toward Mount Lang Bian. In the attic is decorated with 70 stained glass panels (made from French) making interior spaces more and more churches shimmering, magical. Also be mounted on the wall of bas-relief with size 1 x 0.8 m by sculptor Xuan Thi present.

Architectural style Cathedral School represents northern France. Outer wall is scanned pink as more religious solemnity of a religious structure.

Cam Ly church was built for the ethnic minority Catholics, so this architectural object carries a unique tone, unlike the Catholic Church for the Vietnamese people.

Not far from Cam Ly waterfall, on a poetic hill, in 1960, Bishop and contractors Boutary Nguyen Thanh Ho has constructed a Church building style architecture of Shanghai residents. The creation of this effect lasted for 6 years.

The entire church building look like a long house with two fellow Upper 17m high steep roofs, the roofing tile 80,000 with a total weight equivalent to 90 tons. Now Street is located two statues of tigers and the phoenix-the animals are familiar with minority populations; a symbol for strength, a symbol of cunning; the other side also see population implied indigenous nature in which this cruel as a tiger, but be transformed God will become good, serene like the phoenix. Interior space sanctuary is lit by the triangular frame is wrapped in square brackets. The Sanctuary is an altar of 3.9 m x 0.9 m made of pine trees. Under cross has suspended three top buffalo - a sacred animal that minorities are often used as the offerings to Yang, their God. There is also caught a deer and the phoenix-represents the innocence of the lay people of ethnic minorities and their success when God transformed.

Clearly, the architects built this cathedral was quite successful when they know how to use a form of architecture close to Shanghai residents to the north a "bridge" to lead people unfamiliar with the beliefs manager familiar with the teachings of Christianity.

Domaine de Marie Church is located on a windswept hill bearing the same name in the western city of Da Lat (also known as Mai Anh hill) the parish Mai Anh, was constructed from 1938 is located in one colony architecture of the monastery Sisters of Charity.

The church is quite a harmonious combination between western architectural style and folk architecture of the ethnic minorities. Having a look at the front, carrying architectural appearance of a roof houses, sharp peaks of the roof is also attached to the cross. Entrance to the sanctuary is covered by a roof and a two side entrance from both sides of stairs with flat and the stairs to the house floor of minorities. Stone walls were built to window sill level Normandie style. Churchinterior space is illuminated by the colored glass to increase the shimmering, magical.

The type of religious architecture - other faiths

In addition to the architecture of Buddhism and Christianity mentioned above, the land of Lam Dong has architectural items such as religious beliefs of the shrines of the Cao Dai, the Temple family-related activities the popular belief, ... and in a certain extent, the cemetery is also a kind of remarkable architecture.

But quantity is not much and not a massive scale, but the shrines, the Cao Dai also created a style of remarkable architecture. If not too strict, should consider this as a contribution to enriching and diverse picture of religious architecture in particular, Lam Dong and architectural treasures of art in general province.

As a religious "gathering" of the major religious sects of humanity, the Cao Dai Holy losses are also trying to absorb many elements of the type of religious architecture.

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