Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Skinny Houses

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Someone said "No matter how tall and skinny a building, it seems that there is always room for more storeys." This is the reality of Vietnamese architecture and I'm not sure that you can see this any where else in the world. Because Viet nam doesn't have much land and our population is increasing unbelievably fast, property in Hanoi and in other big cities is very expensive and the price rises everyday.

Buildings - Long Bien

If you have a good look inside a typical house, you may be surprised because there are about 8 0r 9 people living in such a small area. Sometimes they don't even have a permanent bed, a garden hardly ever. They only put mattresses or mats down before they sleep then they fold them back up in the morning. And imagine, there is one tiny kitchen and bathroom in one house. What do you really think? Could you live in this situation?

23 comments:

Shoshauna said...

Our first house in Hanoi was very skinny and tall...as a teenager it was very easy to sneak out of because of the neighbors's house! Sure do get a lot of exercise climbing up those stairs!

Preya said...

Haha, you beat me to it girl! sneaking out of our Ngoc Khanh (Kim Ma) house was damn easy. It got harder when we moved to Hang Than, but then again, the rules got less strict. I thought it was sort of fun to live in a tall, skinny house! But, i wasn't sad to move into a much more luxurious house either, haha!

KCA said...

You need to clarify that the most of VN people got different use and opinion of housing than wertern people.

As the HK people, most of them use the house just like a dornitary, only the night time.

Now Vn people start the "home sweet home" way: they fit out their house, spend more money in their house. The magazine Nha Dep is a good exemple of this transition made by the families.

And for sure, some of them understand that a pretty house is a outward sign of wealth, and a BMW car is not enough.

Ryan and Heather said...

Wow very interesting, thanks so much for sharing!

junebee said...

Believe it or not, there are some real skinny houses in Pennsylvania where I am from. My sister lived in one of them. However, they are not as tall as the ones in these pictures.

I love the metalwork on the balconies. I once saw a TV program about Vietnam and a young woman played the flute in her parent's house, by an open window and the balcony fence had that fancy metalwork. It was a beautiful scene.

chanchow said...

When I was in Hanoi I was told that the houses were narrow because people used to be taxed based on the width of their house. Any truth to that?

Trish said...

That is very interesting. When I was in HK a few years ago, I stayed at my big sister's place and there were 4 adults, 4 kids living under a roof of 550 sq feet. No sneaking out though, she was on the 19th floor. Thank goodness I was only there for 3 weeks because I don't think I could last much longer.

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

We have those kind of skinny structures here too.

NWO said...

Fascinating images! glad i found this blog.

g.knotee said...

i remembered when i arrived hanoi, i noticed those small, tall buildings/apartments and I wondered, how wide or long were the hallways? how many could fit? couldn't concentrate on the buildings though, was more concerned about the cab driver's driving skills...scary!

Hasan Mubarak said...

Multi-storey appartment buildings are one solution.

COnditions for many are worse here in Pakistan...

JLB said...

These are impressive!

While I really prefer my solitude, I did grow up in an 8-person family home, and until we remodeled, we did only have one bathroom... so I can kind of relate.

Still, I could never live in an enormous home! Not only would I never want to clean it, but it feels like such a waste to have a huge house for just a couple people.

I prefer to have more land than house, and I feel incredibly blessed to be renting this little cottage on a farm. I realize that I am very fortunate for what I have.

Monika said...

wow, I don't know if I could stand to live in such a small space, I'm used to much bigger. Maybe if I had a few months to adapt.

When I went to Hong Kong, the hotel room was smaller than my bedroom in my apartment at home! But when you're used to it, I guess you don't really think of it.

Godknows said...

Thanks all, ALl your comments are what i wanted to say. These skinny houses make Viet Nam special and different.

slurp! said...

A typical Japanese apartment I visited is bed, living & kitchen all roll into a room. HK housing is small & expensive as well.

I guess main issues here is that more people wanted to stay near cities for ease of commuting to the workplace. i guess that's how it got so congested

Prices are mainly market driven, so more demands means more steep pricing in properties.

Girl next door said...

Those tall, skinny buildings seem fascinating--I'd like to see them in real life! I think real estate is so precious in big cities coz the demand always outstrips the supply. I don't think I could live in a situation where I have to fold my mattress every morning. I could do it for a short time only. I've lived with roommates but I like my own space too.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I am so happy that I accidently ran across your blog because I am enjoying reading and seeing the pictures of your country.

I am not a rich person, but I can't imagine not having a garden spot or green grass to mow and have picnics on.

Crystal said...

Hey, many illegal immigrants who come from Mexico to the U.S. for work are living in conditions like this, 8-10 people crammed into a tiny apartment! It's not an easy way of life, but I guess people do what they have to do to survive and save money.

Invertir en Oro said...

You need to clarify that the most of VN people got different use and opinion of housing than wertern people.
Believe it or not, there are some real skinny houses in Pennsylvania where I am from

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Indian Pharmacy said...

I like this kind of structures 'cause you can compare them with the new ones around the city.