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Neighbourhood News

Neighbourhood News Feb 2 2009

Viet Nam Net

French-Vietnamese artist unveils city of the future

An overseas Vietnamese artist’s vision for a cultural city of the future may be one step closer to fruition as many local architects praised it as a bold and creative vision that reflects his whole-hearted love of his home nation.

Stemming from his ambition to embark on a vast project to honor the source of the nation and symbolise Vietnam’s unique culture, Tran Van Liem, a French painter of Vietnamese origin, has spent 20 years developing the plans for Van Lang City. After living abroad for more than 30 years, the artist returned to Vietnam at the end of 2008 to deliver a lecture on the project.

The basis of Van Lang City’s design is rooted in Oriental philosophy, contained by a circle measuring 1,800m in diameter. The city would be capable of accommodating about 1 million residents and would possess eight, spoke-like boulevards leading from the rim of the circle to a central plaza.

Two of the city’s major landmarks are the “Thien tu thap” and “Hoang tu thap” towers, dedicated to Lac Long Quan and Au Co – the legendary ancestor of the Vietnamese nation. The tower dedicated to Lac Long Quan, distinguished by its square foundations, symbolises Yang-Heaven, whilst the tower dedicated to Au Co with circular foundations would represent Yin-Earth. Read More


Los Angeles Times

New Capitol Visitor Center: not a capital idea

Here at Urban Neighbourhood we came to a similar conclusion

With a half-a-trillion dollars of stimulus spending on the way and real-estate developers mired in what could turn out to be a decade-long slump, the federal government has emerged in recent months as this country’s only viable patron of large-scale construction, at least for the foreseeable future.

So here’s an idea: How about taking a careful, critical look at Washington’s recent architectural track record?

A good place to start is D.C.’s new Capitol Visitor Center. In fact, when it comes to the aesthetic and financial perils of government-sponsored architecture, you could hardly invent a more perfect cautionary tale than the one embodied by this grandiose complex sunk into the east side of Capitol Hill. Read More


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