Hằng Nga guesthouse is popularly known as the “Crazy House” is an unconventional building designed and constructed by Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga in Da Lat, Vietnam.
Opening in 1990, the building has been described as a “fairy tale house” , the building’s overall design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. Nga, daughter of Trường Chinh, who received a PhD in architecture from the University of Moscow, has stated that her overall design was inspired by the natural environment surrounding of the city of Da Lat, along with the work of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
The guesthouse’s exterior is decorated with twisting organic forms.
The building’s exterior resembles a five-story-high banyan tree with unevenly shaped window openings and branch-like structures that “grow” along its walls and rise above the roof into the sky.
The guesthouse has ten themed guest rooms, each one having an animal includes the tiger room, the eagle room, the ant room and the kangaroo room, each with decorations matching the theme. The walls of the tiger room, for instance, feature a large tiger with glowing red eyes; the kangaroo room incorporates a sculpted kangaroo with a fireplace in its belly; the fireplace in the eagle room is in the form of a giant eagle’s egg. Many of the rooms incorporate an added level of symbolism, with the animal theme connected to a particular nationality. For instance, Nga describes the tiger room as representing “the strengths of the Chinese”; the eagle room as being “big and strong” like Americans; and the ant room as representing the “hard working Vietnamese”.
Furniture inside the rooms is handcrafted—and sometimes even built into the rooms themselves—to match the rooms’ nonlinear, organic shape. Stone decorations throughout the house depict animals such as bears, giraffes, frogs, spiders and ants, along with natural elements such as mushrooms and spider webs. Stairways and hallways inside the building are designed to resemble tunnels and caves.
Room rates ranged from VND 290,000 to 630,000 per room per night for Vietnamese, and from $29–63 for foreigners.
If you’re brave enough, try to stay a night at the Hang Nga Guesthouse and see what it’s like at night when the tourists are gone, when you can feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland.
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