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Intense controversy erupts over project to build 25-story ‘lighthouse’ in central Vietnam

A large project to build a skyscraper dubbed a “lighthouse” on the Han River in the central city of Da Nang has received a lot of feedback both in favor and opposed to it.

A large project to build a skyscraper dubbed a “lighthouse” on the Han River in the central city of Da Nang has received a lot of feedback both in favor and opposed to it.
A large project to build a skyscraper dubbed a “lighthouse” on the Han River in the central city of Da Nang has received a lot of feedback both in favor and opposed to it.

Many opinions about the planned construction of a 25-story building that would serve as a resort as well as an attractive tourist destination in the city were raised at a meeting held by the local People’s Committee last week.

The project’s developer, Da Nang-based DHC Investment Joint Stock Company, told the meeting that the building is expected to be located about 30 meters from a bank of the river, in Son Tra District.

The base of the tower is designed to cover 400 m² and its height is equal to that of a 25-floor building at the minimum, the company said at the event on December 25.

The tower will serve as a resort as well as a tourist and recreation site for locals and visitors, the developer added.

The building may be constructed in the style of the Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the firm said, adding that its outside surface will be made of transparent glass in the shape of a lighthouse. (See Photo)

DHC Investment suggested that the Da Nang authorities make a decision on the project soon so that the company can prepare for its implementation.

Most of the leaders of the government agencies taking part in the meeting agreed to the project, including Le Van Trung, director of the Da Nang Department of Transport, and Pham Viet Hung, chief of the local Department of Construction.

Trung said the project will have no impact on the river’s current as well as the traffic on it, while a representative of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment advised that the developer pay attention to a possibility that rubbish floating on the river may be stuck at the building’s base, causing pollution problems.

The chairman of the Da Nang People’s Committee, Van Huu Chien, expressed his support for the site of the “lighthouse,” saying that the project will become an architectural feature of the city and a provider of high-class accommodation services.

Chien noted that the Department of Construction is requested to consult experts on an architectural plan for the tower and report on it to the city authorities by January 15.

Strong objections

However, an architect from the Department of Construction proposed that the city authorities pay more attention to the project because hurried approval for it may lead to consequences that would linger for another 100 years.

The architect suggested that the authorities cull more opinions from experts and the public since the river is a “precious thing of the entire people.”

The architect also pointed out that the “lighthouse” is just the name of the planned building, while in reality the developer will build a high-class hotel.

In talking with Vnexpress newspaper, Pham Phu Binh, a member of the Vietnam Architect Association and deputy chairman of the Vietnam Construction Consulting Association, said, “This is a very sensitive issue, requiring careful consideration.”

The “lighthouse” will certainly obstruct the river’s current given its size, Binh said, adding that he does not agree to this project from the viewpoint of an architect.

“The Han River has great value in terms of landscapes and the environment. The proposed ‘lighthouse’ is like a huge concrete pile that thrusts into the river and such an image is very distasteful. In fact, the developer wants to take advantage of the river’s prime position to do hospitality business.”

Hoang Quang Huy, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Planning Association and chairman of the Da Nang Planning Association, also said, “The city authorities are very hastily to approve of the project.”

“No countries in the world build lighthouses on rivers, but they will build them in sea mouths or bays,” Hung said, adding that the word “lighthouse” is used to conceal a certain goal.

He also emphasized that the proposed building will exert bad effects on the river’s current and landscape.

Huy said the local government should listen to opinions from experts, consultants, and the public, as the river is a common property of the people.

“I personally do not approve of the building of such a ‘lighthouse’ in the middle of the river. Except bridges, no other works should be built on the water surface,” Huy said.

In talking with VnExpress, Vu Quang Hung, deputy director of the Department of Construction and chairman of the Da Nang Association of Architects, said that a meeting will be held in mid-January to pool opinions from experts about the project.

On December 30, Le Minh Duc, chairman of the DHC Investment Joint Stock Company, told VnExpress that the project is subject to more feedback and its implementation will be decided after January 15.