“Hanoi is crowded with hundreds of apartment blocks made with reinforcement concrete dating back to 1960s, partially reflecting Vietnamese apartment architecture and Hanoians’ daily life during that period. Due to the lack of living space, lots of residents had to come up with an idea of creating couples of rebar “cages”, sticking out their apartments. Through ups and downs, lots of them have been scheduled to be demolished to build modern ones, though they are always home to Hanoians and regarded as an indispensable piece of memory in mind.
Minh, born and raised in Hanoi, has been in love with this place and like other Hanoians, always sticking up with the beauty of such old apartment blocks. He decided to pack his back with his camera, put his helmet on, go for a ride on a scooter and head to multiple blocks in Giang Vo, Thanh Cong, Thuy Loi – Chuong Duong and Nguyen Cong Tru to seek for the best shots before it is too late since lots of people believe that these blocks are not likely to survive permanently.” – Chi Le
Thanh Cong Apartment blocks
Little apartments housed in Thanh Cong blocks
Nguyen Cong Tru Apartment blocks
You can hang your clothes up on anywhere
Having a quick haircut by a street barber
Such crazy overhead power lines
Thuy Loi – Chuong Duong blocks
Let’s hang the clothes up there altogether
Life in Giang Vo apartment block
People living in these blocks are always counting on each other.
The neighbors gather up to spend their afternoon together
Will all of these old apartment blocks stay with us forever?
“Although the residents in these old apartment blocks have to encounter some limited living conditions (staying in stuffy and overcrowded areas, even sharing a bathroom with other families and so on), they are still happy and never want to move away from the great blocks.”
Words by Chi Le
Photos by Minh Nguyen