Ha Noi Impermanence: Reinterpreting Collective Housing



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The former citadel of Hanoi represents a landscape that has been continuously manipulated by both foreign entities and the current administration. Despite its initial purpose of being a symbol for fortification and monumentality, Hanoi's ruling sector has expressed an adaptability to the numerous violations imposed upon it over time. Hanoians, in particular, when compared to the rest of Vietnamese society express a notable sense of cultural fluidity that draws from their repeated conflicts with outsiders and allows them to remain flexible with their identity. The perimeter of the original, highly-formal citadel is the most important location to the capital city's sacred history and current growth, so further intervention along these avenues underscores the inherent complications of the past. This thesis proposes to study the implications of impermanence within the original citadel area through the reinterpretation of collective housing along the imprint of the sacred wall. While the numerous elements of Hanoi's history have been seemingly erased by successive regimes, the existing networks have actually seen a layering of imposed changes rather than a complete eradication. These layers express a fluidity that characterizes Hanoi's governing center and, in turn, reflects the flexibility of the Vietnamese identity.