It would be out of place anywhere, but in Vietnam the ‘Crazy House’ seems even stranger somehow … set, as it is, against the backdrop of a relatively ordinary neighborhood in a relatively typical town. Set on top of a giant tree stump, it almost looks as if this whole structure had been carved from a massive naturally-growing trunk.
Russian-educated architect Hang Nga would have another such structure standing, in fact, had it not been deemed too ‘anti-socialist’ and been torn down accordingly. The building is said to have been inspired by the overall form of a banyan tree, and the organic details of everything from animals and plants to spider webs and natural caves.
As some of you may have already guessed, the avant garde Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi was indeed a source of design inspiration. While this style was short-lived in the mainstream, his buildings stand out to this day as amazing works of organic architecture, combining architecture and abstraction, environmental and functional elements. Given the cultural climate, the designer is likely lucky they were not, themselves, hauled off to a crazy house (of a different kind).
Here’s some more background info from CNN:
“The artist behind the structure, 79-year-old Dang Viet Nga, says it’s the ultimate expression of her imagination. ‘Crazy House is a culmination of my life and creativity — it all came together in this structure,’ Dang, daughter of Vietnam’s former general secretary Truong Chinh, tells CNN Travel. ‘I wanted to create something original, pioneering — different from anything else in the world.'”
“After earning a PhD in architecture in Moscow, Dang worked for several years in Russia then moved to Hanoi, where she worked on government projects.On a business trip to Dalat, Dang says she fell in love with the lush landscape, cooler climate and kind people and hoped to eventually move there.In 1983, she relocated to Dalat with her then 8-year-old son, Nguyen Viet Thang.After years of working on state-owned developments, which afforded little creativity, she felt compelled to unleash her imagination.”
“In February 1990, she drew up plans for Crazy House. But instead of blueprints, she created a series of paintings to communicate her fantastical vision. ‘With this form, you have to try to free your mind,’ she says. ‘There are no rules — aside from basic structural principles [to make sure it’s safe and stable] — it’s all about self-expression.'”