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From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
After seeing Notre Dame and the Post Office, we jumped back into our mini-bus and crossed town to what might have been the coolest surprise of the whole trip: the Reunification Palace aka Independence Palace. It was the home of the President of South Vietnam up until the end of the American War. Designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ it is an amazing piece of Mid-Century Modern style.
Here you can see this splendid palace from the entry gate.
The interior has lovely chandeliers and windows to allow some breeze (though it was still incredibly hot that day.)
More amazing iron-work.
Check out these cool chairs and podium!
More Mid-Century Modern Fabulousness.
There is a lovely little enclosed courtyard. But the heat was so oppressive that we very quickly ran back inside.
What a marvelous staircase!
The Presidential game room looked like a pretty cool place to chill.
Vietnamese helicopter on the roof. There is a sign next to it that says “At 8:30 A.M. April 8, 1975 First Lieutenant Pilot Nguyen Thanh Trung flew FSE and threw down two bombs at the right target here.” to commemorate the bombing by the VietCong forces.
Finally, there are a ton of bunker rooms in the basement filled with all sorts of old equipment. The Palace is so big and filled with so many neat details that you could spend a whole day just exploring it.
Looks like Bunker’s Bunker. Well, not really! And that chopper is a Huey.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
It was hot as blazes with lung busting smog when I visited in 2018, but that air draw in the palace was amazing. Mid-Century Modern was great for that.
Here’s his plane.
@raven:I just read Trung’s short Wikipedia biography, through your link. It’s quite a story.
@Geminid: Yea, I’d never heard of him, I’m glad I pursued it.
That was a treat. Thanks.
@raven: Thanks for the peek in to history. So much to learn.
Such amazing pictures. What an amazing tour you had! Thanks for letting us tag along.
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Yes, it was relatively pleasant (though still a bit warm) inside. They definitely know how to use their architecture for managing the local climate.
I hope there is more. I have really been enjoying your trip to Vietnam
@Laura Too: Glad you’re enjoying it. I think we still have two more stops on the tour for this day. It was about 6 hours or so and crammed with stops and stuff. We were supposed to do a cooking lesson in District 9 (outer district of HCMC) in the evening, but we were so burnt out, hot and itchy (from first night skeeter bites) that we ended up bailing on that to go back to our hotel and chill in the pool. It was a lot to cram into one day.
So interesting yet again. So much geometry! (And color, of course.) The transition from #2 to #3 was especially powerful — the hallway with a view receding to “infinity” — following by…a gate with a wall behind it. Also, that mid-century style evokes memories — not specific ones, of course, because I didn’t live in a color palace. :-) But the furniture takes me back in time, especially #5 and #8.
Great stuff — looking forward to more.
@JanieM: I really never thought much about design, architecture etc., but my wife loves that stuff and is very knowledgable about it. She’s really opened my eyes. Obviously SE Asia is just awash in French Colonial, but there’s also some really great Mid-Century Modern too.
J R in WV
Wonderful places, great history, excellent photos.
Thanks so much for sharing, a great tour of a place I’m so glad not to have encountered in the 1970s!!
@J R in WV: On that note, get ready because I think the War Museum is coming up next.