Hanoi has an old quarter of 36 streets with thousands of roofed houses that have existed since the initial establishment of the city, creating a unique beauty.
The old houses reflect the cultural development of Hanoi. Most of the houses have a brick structure with wooden beams or a structure of force-resistant wooden beams with raising pieces supporting the tiles.
To make the beams, precious timbers, such as Dinh (Markhamia stipulate), teakwood and ironwood are used.
However, what astonishes researchers as well as today’s generation is that all calculations for making the house structures were made by workers who had never attended a training course, but only depended on their traditional experience.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most houses had a roof made of double tiles or toe cap-shaped tiles.
The edges of the roof were decorated with patterns of an old architectural style, creating natural waves.
All decorative patterns and the roof’s edges were delicately carved by the artisans.
In the 1920s, mingling with houses of typical architectural style in Hanoi were houses with roofs of the Indochinese architectural style.
The outstanding feature of this style is a system of sloping tiled roofs and overlapping tiled roofs, which has similar advantages as the Vietnamese traditional roofs.
One of the projects typical of the interference between the French style and traditional style is the head office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Dien Bien Phu Street in Hanoi.
The project, designed by a French architect, has a system of roofs, including the octagonal roofs over the towers rising above the large roof of the main building structure, a small roof over the windows of the second floor and roofs over the gables.
The overlapping roofs help ventilate the building and shield it from sunshine and the heat.
The skillful combination of the two architectural styles makes the structure highly applicable while retaining the Vietnamese traditional features.
Additionally, the architecture of houses in Hanoi was more or less affected by the styles of the Chinese immigrants, making the streets in Hanoi livelier.
In the past, the workers only used common decorative patterns, such as “Two dragons flanking the moon” or “Dragons playing with clouds”.
Later, additional decorative pattern of creeper flowers were made under the double tiled roof, making the house look mysterious and luxurious.
The interference of cultures has left unique architectural styles in Hanoi that few cities in Vietnam have.