Step inside Hanoi’s apartment blocks

“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

10 thoughts on “Step inside Hanoi’s apartment blocks”

  1. It is nice to see the non touristy, regular life of Vietnam. This gives you a better feel of the place. Glad you brought that out.

  2. This is incredibly fascinating. The cages that extend out would make me nervous. Are they safe? I love the sense of community I see in these pictures though.

  3. Wow! What an amazing insight to this country! I can’t get over those power lines like that! I wonder what it’s like when someone has to repair them! Scary!

  4. What beautiful images of life inside Hanois apartment blocks in Vietnam. What a bittersweet thing to demolish old buildings to put up brand new structures. Within communities growing pains hurt, especially with the loss of historic structures and people’s homes where so many memories were made.

  5. Though these are not beautiful apartments in exterior,these photos reveal one side of Hanoi lifestyle.I really like to see all these in real eyes if I get a chance.Having a haircut from a street barber is a cool idea!

  6. You caught these moments at a perfect angle in your photos. Hanoi here looks so ancient and unique. I hope this look would remain unchanged for even greater periods.

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