Returning from a trip to an old village, the club members organized a painting contest to summarize what they had experienced. Paintings of temples, pagodas, rivers, and houses tell the story of the Vietnamese heritage. 

Le Van Tung, a student at the National University of Civil Engineering, won first prize in the latest contest. He said “I painted Hanh Thien pagoda and many other pagodas in Hanoi. Hanh Thien pagoda is special because its gate has small doors and a distinctive gable. The gable’s oriental styling typifies Vietnam’s rural areas.”

Through fact-finding tours of ancient villages in Hanoi and the northern delta, members of the club learn about heritage, planning, and architecture. Dr. Pham Hung Cuong, head of the club, said “Architects make sketches to perceive the scenery. A beautiful landscape painting requires love for the landscape which this contest inspired in our club members.”

The Viet Village Heritage Club was established in 2007 by Dr. Pham Hung Cuong, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at the National University of Civil Engineering. Cuong says that in the beginning club members were all students at his university, but now the people have joined. 

“Our club is open to students, architects, and others who love village heritages. We hope more people will visit villages and get inspired. Hopefully, through the club’s activities, heritage owners will cherish the villages they are living in and protect them”, said Mr Cuong. 

Doan Van Thuong and Nguyen Thi Diep, second year students of the National University of Civil Engineering, said “Visiting architectural structures built by our predecessors, I them still valuable. I want to explore more of these heritages. I ‘ve learned about Vietnam’s countryside, heritages, architectures, customs, and practices of locals. I will work on a plan for village restoration and protection.”

The club is working on a dossier of heritages of 50 villages in the Red River delta. Dr. Cuong said “Vietnam has only 2 villages recognized as heritages – Duong Lam in Hanoi and Phuoc Tich in Hue. I want more villages to get added to the list by adopting a community-based approach.”