Lac Tinh Vien by Hong Khang poets founded in 1889 on land plot with an area of 2.070 m2 in ancient Duong Xuan village, Lac Tinh Vien campus pretty cool. The road leading to the home side's two hibiscus flowers, and the roses, laurel, your word,... planted symmetrically. Under the tree a small set of tables and chairs to sit and watch the scene, drinking tea. Going all the way from the entrance is a front picture is built in the form stylized scrolls, honeycomb structures are hexagonal, creating ventilation, making the home less separation. This is a relic of the "privatization" are best preserved in Hue, at the same time, reserves and also where the most effective transmission of sophistication, elegance, curiosity and compassion upon the properties Hue.
In Hue, two names are often mistaken with each other: the garden house and rường house. These two names are somehow one. A Garden house is a house that is characterized by its entrance gates, screens, rock gardens, ponds, fruit gardens and fences. While a rường house is one of wooden structure and with predominant pillars, rafters and timber.
Location & history
In the past, this was an uncultivated land of Duong Xuan village in Southern Hue citadel. In 1889, prince Nguyen Phuoc Hong Khang (1861 – 1931), the first son of Wang Tung Thien Mien Tham (1819 – 1870) bought and named it Lac Tinh Vien (the happy garden). Then, he built a simple thatched hut for his mother, Mrs. Truong Thi Phu. In 1891, the hut was replaced by a lean-to house and in 1897, it became a panel house with a sizeable tiled roof. On the inauguration of the house, Wang Tuy Ly Mien Trinh (1820 – 1897) gave Hong Khang a horizontal lacquered board written with three words,Hy Tran Trai. This name of the house also implied that its owner was virtuous, talented and dutiful to his parents, Quan Tran – the son of Zhu Gong (in China).
Three structures: Hy Tran Trai, Di Tam Thich The Duong and Van Trai created an architectural complex including a garden for Lac Tinh Vien, a specific style of architecture found in Hue with the main house (Hy Tran Trai) in the middle, East (Di Tam Thich The Duong) and West (Van Trai) on two sides. In front of the garden, a screen, which, according tofengshui, protects Lac Tinh Vien from misfortunes and mishaps, and at the same time, creates a space between the outside garden and interiors. In that space, the owner of Lac Tinh Vien built a house named Nhan Hau with four airy sides to welcome guests and contemplate flowers and moonlight. Nhan Hau was also built for generations of Lac Tinh Vien to do favors for the poor every Sunday morning for more than a century.
Lac Tinh Vien seems to contain all the quintessence of Hue’s panel houses. The structure was heavily influenced by fengshui in its design, with well-matched structures, skillful art of architecture and sculpture, and wise naming and wording. Aside from the Nhan Hau house, where the owner lived with nature and did charity work, the other structures form a perfect work of architecture, which is truly Hue’s style. The soul of this perfection is Hy Tran Trai, consisting of three compartments and two lean-tos to worship ancestors and preserve human values and ethical behavior of a royal family in Hue.
In addition to Hy Tran Trai, Van Trai features veranda floors and flower patterns, designed in a Gothic style. This is the meeting of traditional and modern values and the harmony of the Orient and Occident in both architecture and decoration. It is also where the owner spreads his expectations to his filial generations as words written on a horizontal lacquered board in this house.
Admist bustling streets, impressive houses of the modern society, Lac Tinh Vien appears with an ancient entrance gate written with two Chinese parallel sentences, and a mighty screen protecting the customs and practices of panel houses from the noisy life. In the ancient garden, all the best values of Hue’s culture is preserved. The human characteristics of Hue’s culture and Hue’s sophisticated living habits are clearly expressed in each compartment, on each sculpture of rafters, on trees and in the corners of the garden.
Owners of Lac Tinh Vien seemed to link all of their feelings about fengshui, history, culture, gratitude to their ancestors and nature, and kind-heartedness with their fellows. They created the screen and curved paths to avoid invisible and visible misfortunes and to maintain respect for the house. In addition, they made lakes (or ponds) with rocks in the front of the house to balance the fenshui and control mishaps. They built sacred worshiping spaces in the house to express their gratitude to the supernaturals and their ancestors. They constructed private areas to maintain hierarchies and orders and teach their children faith. Besides, they decorated, carved and had their house gilded to make it an artistic work and showcase their knowledge and aesthetics. They planted different trees around their house with different purposes: for viewing, smelling their aroma, enjoying their fruits or for their shade from the sun in the hot summer days of Hue. Lac Tinh Vien holds many such sacred things.
One of the people, who preserves human values of Lac Tinh Vien, is Cong Tang Ton Nu Khanh Nam, the most elegant and luxurious woman that I have ever met. She has been the fire keeper of Lac Tinh Vien for many years, as what Bao Hai, her son, said: “Lac Tinh Vien is a property of our family, but its soul is owned by my mother”.
Architecture & culture
Crossing the main dome gate of the iron wood gate of Lac Tinh Vien in no 65 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Hue city, you were like in the other world. It was quiet and close to the nature. Every crowdedness of the city or the heat of the summer is left behind.
In front of our eyes, green gardens with fruits and flowers appear. Along the two path sides, there are tidy ornament trees from amplexicaul tea, ochna autropurpurea, etc. The two yards beside are the stone furniture that were used to enjoy tea and make poem with eminent people.
At the end of the path, there is a partition screen that is built from brick simulating a letter book. According to the house owner, the screen is inevitable in every architecture monuments in Hue. That is the object to partition the bad air and the curious eyes for the house.
Passing the square yard, there is four-house-complex, which is different in styles and in traditional features. Firstly, Van Trai house was built since 1910 in the worshipping house of Hong Khang family and Ung Trinh family to welcome guest and make poems. There is some horizontal lacquered board, which are more than 100 years old, and especially the board of the principles of kindness and fond of learning.
The next house is the worshipping house of Hong Khang – grandson of King Minh Mang, which was built in 1889. In the inauguration day, the 11th prince of the king was Tuy Ly Vuong Mien Trinh gave three words for the name of the house that is Hy Tran Trai, which supposed the nice duty to parents and relatives. The architecture style in this place is different from other traditional ancient houses in the capital city. On the lobby, there are many sophisticated patterns that symbolic the four trees in four seasons, and eight objects for worship.
The next one is Nhan hau house (Kindness house). It is a square house with no partition walls. It has been more than one century since the family has had the tradition of helping the poor on Sunday. The name has a kind name was given by a family in Thanh Hoa province. The left part of the house is Di Tam Thich The Duong which is the place for living and teaching the Chinese characters for the children in family.
In this garden house, each of the architecture monuments is integrated and close to the human and nature. It is exactly like the name of Lac Tinh Vien – the garden to enjoy the quiet hobby and peace.
Every visitor who came here could not forget the house owner – Ms. Cong Tang Ton Nu Khanh Nam, a friendly nice woman. Every 5a.m in the morning, she wears a nice ao dai (long dress) and prepare 12 flower vase to decorate the house. After putting incense stick to the altar, she come to the garden to visit her trees because she supposes that makes the day fresh and create the connection between human and trees.
Every day, she welcomes the guests in a warm-hearted way. She introduces the traditional principles in her family with her passion and pride. She said: “After one year stopping welcoming the guest, Lac Tinh Vien reopened since May 1st, 2011, and there has been more than 500 groups coming. The visitors always feel happy and attracted to the architecture of the garden house as well as the family story.”
You found it was hard to say good-bye to Lac Tinh Vien and the owner also. The special part and the purity of the garden house along with the hospitality and the well knowledge of the owner did grab the visitors.