Hanoi Utilizes Digital Technology to Protect Historic Villas

More than 1,200 historic mansions from the French colonial era can be found in the capital city.


More than 1,200 antique residences in Hanoi must be preserved to safeguard their historical and cultural significance. To do this effectively, digital solutions are essential.

An old mansion in the Old Quarter, Hanoi. Photo: Doan Thanh/The Hanoi Times

The City Plan No. 115 examines and evaluates the current state of Hanoi’s historic villas, assessing the extent of damage and potential risks. This is done in order to formulate plans and strategies for the renovation and enhancement of ancient houses and other architectural structures located in the city center and historic areas. With this move, the authorities are aiming to ensure the preservation of these culturally significant buildings and make them more enjoyable for the citizens.

By September 30th, 24 state-owned residential buildings and 8 architectural structures in Hanoi will undergo a comprehensive inspection and quality assessment. This action is in accordance with Scheme No. 03 from the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee, which is aimed at conserving and restoring villas and architectural works that were built prior to 1954.

These villas will be classified into two distinct groups: Group 1 consists of villas that are not for sale and are currently under government management, of historical, cultural, and architectural significance, and used as embassies or office headquarters. Group 2 consists of villas that are deteriorated and have not been repaired or renovated.

A comprehensive survey of the villas and architectural works will be conducted using specialized tools and equipment. The assessment will involve testing, calculations, and safety evaluations of the structure to determine the best course of action. This will enable the development of appropriate action plans, including considerations for continued use, repair, reinforcement, or other interventions.

The city is taking steps to transform the data and information of its 1,216 old houses into unified, digitized profiles. To facilitate this, it is developing a portal that will enable easy access to the information.

Ownership documents from various periods, pre-1954 profiles of the mansion, construction, evaluation, and classification records will all be compiled into the mansion’s electronic profile. This will provide a comprehensive overview of the property’s history and facilitate better understanding of its past. Additionally, the electronic profile will enable easy access to relevant information, aiding in the efficient management of the mansion.

The city is set to create stunning 3D projection mapping of Tier-1 historic mansions, providing a captivating visual experience.

Furthermore, the owner of a Tier 1 old villa must not change the structure and exterior of the building in any way.

According to the regulations on the management and utilization of old villas constructed before 1954, a Tier 1 old villa is one that has been deemed a historical and cultural relic or holds significant value in terms of Vietnam’s revolution and resistance movements, as well as the domestic architectural industry. Furthermore, the owner of a Tier 1 old villa is prohibited from making any alterations to the structure and exterior of the building.

Tier 2 villas, which possess only architectural value, account for approximately 350 buildings. The remaining old villas belong to Tier 3.

The city’s decision issued on June 2, 2022 lists information on old villas in the city built before 1954 and outlines regulations for categorizing these historic buildings. It is essential that such steps are taken to ensure the preservation of these valuable structures for future generations.

City authorities expect to launch a public tender and select the platform developer in 2023. The digitization of the database of old mansions in Hanoi must be completed by June 30, 2025.

The Hanoi Party Committee has recently launched Program No. 3 to promote the development of the urban scene in the city. This program focuses on the improvement of infrastructure, green spaces, public services, and cultural activities in the city. It also aims to create a more vibrant and efficient living environment for citizens. Through this program, the Party Committee seeks to foster a sense of community among citizens, enhance their quality of life, and create a more attractive city for tourism.

The digitization of the mansion database will enable the government to more effectively manage and protect Hanoi’s historical sites. By digitizing the mansion database, the government will have access to more accurate and up-to-date information regarding these important locations, enabling them to better preserve them for future generations. By utilizing advanced technology, the government can ensure that Hanoi’s historical sites are maintained and protected for many years to come.

The city authorities are aiming to raise public awareness regarding the use and management of the old villas in the area through a new initiative. By doing so, they hope to ensure that these historic structures are preserved and respected for generations to come.

The old mansions in Hanoi were constructed during the French colonial period. They were seized by the Vietnamese government when the capital was liberated on 10th October 1954.

Most of the historic mansions in Vietnam are now being used for a variety of purposes, including film production and housing offices for the Party, State, and Government organizations. These buildings have a long and rich history that has been preserved through their transformation. Whether they are used for film production or state organizations, these buildings are evidence of the country’s past and serve as a reminder of its culture and heritage.

The priority list for inspection includes 24 old villas and 8 other architectural works located at various addresses across Hanoi. These 24 old villas are located at 10 Dien Bien Phu, 26 Dien Bien Phu, 17 Dien Bien Phu, 71 Quan Thanh, 34 Phan Dinh Phung, 42 Quang Trung, 46 Tran Hung Dao, 51 Ly Thai To, 62 Phan Dinh Phung, 12 Nguyen Che Nghia, 63 Ba Trieu, 5 Le Phung Hieu 20 Ton Dan, 67 Ba Trieu, 135 Phung Hung, 80 Nguyen Du, 54 Nguyen Du, 172 Ba Trieu, 36-38 Tang Bat Ho, 28D Dien Bien Phu, 83 Quan Thanh, 97 Quan Thanh, 12-14 Phan Dinh Phung, 36 Ngo Quyen, and 55D Hang Bai.

The eight other architectural works which are given priority for inspection are:

  • Hanoimoi Newspaper office at No.44 Le Thai To, Hanoi
  • Hang Dau Water Tower, Hanoi
  • Police headquarters at 87-89 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi
  • Flag Tower at No.28B Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi
  • Phan Dinh Phung High School at 30 Phan Dinh Phung, Hanoi
  • Chu Van An High School at No.10 Thuy Khue, Hanoi
  • Tran Phu High School at No. 8 Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
  • Viet Duc High School at No.47 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hanoi