The name significates very nicely that the building is kind of wired and crazy. But just only the description „crazy“ isn´t adequately sufficient for this wondrous place. There should be added the terms „fantasy“, „fairy tale“ or „other world“. But well, then the name would be too long. When you step into the Crazy House in the south of Vietnam you literally enter another world. A little magic land. We have a lot of great photographs and a walk around video.
The Crazy House – also called Hằng Nga House, Biệt thự Hằng Nga or Ngôi nhà quái dị – is located in the middle of the small provincial town Đà Lạt in the central highlands, around one kilometer southwest of the Xuan-Huong Lake. When the architect Dr. Đặng Việt Nga started to erect the bizarre building in the quiet and calm place it caused some attention. She transformed existing houses and integrated trees and bushes into her structures on higher ground. The other residents observed this strange but still creative doing and her site got quickly named „The Crazy House“. In a testimonial (check below) the creator describes gloriously how she worked for years for national institutions and designed for them conventional architectonical concepts, but now with this Crazy House Project she is able to fulfill and realize her „dreams of independence and freedom in the art of architecture”.
Described as a „fairy tale house” (Hằng Nga Vietnamese: 姮娥, is the Chinese goddess of the Moon), the building’s overall design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. Its architecture, comprising complex, organic, non-rectilinear shapes, has been described as expressionist. The architect has acknowledged the inspiration of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the building’s design, and visitors have variously drawn parallels between it and the works of artists such as Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney. Since its opening in 1990, the building has gained recognition for its unique architecture, being highlighted in numerous guidebooks and listed as one of the world’s ten most “bizarre” buildings in the Chinese People’s Daily.
The amazing place is not just only a breath taking art object which you can climb and explore in adventurous ways. Inside the Crazy House there is as well a café, an art gallery, a museum and a guesthouse. That means you can book rooms, sleep there or even spend a whole holiday in the mythical country of legends. For example there is the pixie pavilion, the ambos store of the dwarfs, the gods shrine or the hobbit cave. Wonderful! The guesthouse has ten themed guest rooms, each one having an animal as its theme; examples include the tiger room, the eagle room, the ant room and the kangaroo room, each with decorations matching the theme. The walls of the tiger room, for instance, feature a large tiger with glowing red eyes; the kangaroo room incorporates a sculpted kangaroo with a fireplace in its belly; the fireplace in the eagle room is in the form of a giant eagle’s egg. The furniture inside the rooms is handcrafted—and sometimes even built into the rooms themselves—to match the rooms’ nonlinear, organic shape. Stone decorations throughout the house depict animals such as bears, giraffes, frogs, spiders and ants, along with natural elements such as mushrooms and spider webs. Stairways and hallways inside the building are designed to resemble tunnels and caves. It was a pity that we didn´t have enough time during our visit to stay there for some days. I am sure the experience would be awesome.
The construction style is just crazy, chaotic, kittenish and intertwined. But everything gets again merged together and adjusted to anything. The ways and paths are looped and wrapped in countless labyrinths around and through the weird houses. The inside of the buildings are caves, mysterious gardens, intricate stairs, strange furniture and life-sized animal statues. Straight textures and right angles are non subsistent. Regardless of which room, alleys, stairs, windows or furniture – everything looks like melted with super high heat and after that it all solidified in grotesque formations and compositions. As well the outside façade is missing any clear lines and looks like taken from Alice in Wonderland. Between the several buildings there are old trees made out of cement and gigantic nylon spider webs. Inside the concrete giraffe there is as well a lovely tea snuggery.
Meanwhile there have been more buildings finished and nearby houses included into the congeries. The Crazy House has swallowed and transmuted them. They are continuously working and designing and creating on this Crazy House entity. The architect is planning to be finished with all the blueprints in 2020. But in the end…. what even means „finished“? It´s discussable. Options to keep on building, doing handicrafts and just introducing the surrounding are open to all sides of this colorful wonderland. Why not creating a „Crazy Neighborhood“?
Here is a little video from a walk around through the Crazy House:
The architect Dr. Đặng Việt Nga was born in Hanoi and lived for 14 years in Moskow. Several buildings designed by here are located in the region around Đà Lạt, one of them is the Culture Palace for Children and the Catholic Church in Lien Khuong. In the following statement she explains the idea of the Crazy House:
„Since the end of the last century till now, nature and the environment have been too much destroyed; and human beings have taken the consequences of what they have done. For this reason, as a Vietnamese architect, I would like to bring people back to nature to be more friendly with it, to love it; not just to make full use of it, then destroy it as people in many places of the world including Viet Nam have been doing. Hang Nga Villa represents my lifestyle, my creativity as an architect. Having graduated from the University of Architecture in Moscow (1959-1965), I furthered my study to get a PhD (1969-1972). Then, I returned to Hanoi and worked for the Architecture Institutes of Ministry of Construction & Ministry of Culture. In 1983, I moved to Da Lat and worked for the Da Lat Architecture Institute. I really love Da Lat. It is its beautiful & peaceful landscapes and the cool climate that have attracted me most. In addition, all the gentle people that I have met here have greatly influenced my decision: to settle down here till the end of my life. After years of hard work, I have designed lots of buildings for my beloved nation. And now, I find that it is time to make my dreams come true, to create some unique architectural works. Although I was trained in the mainstream of architecture, I do want to step out of it and did create Hang Nga Villa by forming unshaped cubes with curves & unshaped planes without depending upon any classical principles in the arrangement of cubes on lines and square planes as usual. Especially, the outdoor space outside the Crazy House is on four sides, the windows are placed in these outdoor walls so that natural light sheds into every room from all directions. The Hang Nga Villa was first built in 1990, has been improved and will be completed in 2020 probably (Firstly I intended to complete it in 2010 but I could not because of various reasons). It is the co-ordination between slabs of stone and hollow of stumps. With slabs of stone, we can build a house with lots of nice, warm and comfortable rooms inside the hollow of stumps, or even a majestic palace in this way. The Crazy House is not only an ideal place for people to visit, but also a hotel for them to stay in long-term. Everyone aspires for independence and freedom; therefore, through the Crazy House I want to realize my dreams of independence and freedom in the art of architecture.”
Dr. Dang Viet Nga, Architect, Structural Designer, Construction Director & Owner of Hang Nga Villa
Adress: 03 Huynh Thuc Khang St., Ward 4, Dalat City, Vietnam
Tripadvisor: Crazy House Page
Booking.com: Crazy House Page
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