The Crazy House of Vietnam is a house and a guesthouse slash café slash art gallery and looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The Vietnamese version of one of the Gaudi building of Barcelona. It looks more like a Disneyland attraction than a place you would actually live and made me think of Dali and his crazy creations more than once.
This topsy-turvy piece of work was designed by eccentric architect Ms Dang Viet Nga who is said to draw paintings of her ideas then give them to local craftsmen to make a reality. She has stated that the design of the house is about bringing people back in touch with nature. I think it definitely brings you in touch with some lovely crazy!
This is definitely one of the strangest and most extraordinary places I got to explore in Vietnam and turned into my favourite. The bizarre structure rises several stories above the buildings around it, and from some angles it looks like a kind of convoluted tree stump. The place is filled with caves, giant spider webs made out of fairy lights and wire and even concrete tree trunks that turn out to be the steps leading up to your bedroom.
One very unique feature is that there are no square windows in the whole house and the whole place is covered in bizarre wooden sculptures. Each room in this crazy and bizarre place is themed after a different animal, including the ant, tiger, kangaroo and bear. Some of these rooms look like caves on the inside and one even has red velvet walls with a mirror above the bed. Unfortunately none of my photos that I took inside this marvelous building came out so this gives me a great reason to visit it again someday!
As you can imagine this place caused quite a stir with the locals in the beginning, but they have since grown to appreciate the odd construction. I think it is because it brings a lot of tourists to the area and is a great topic for conversation.
It has a concrete giraffe with a tearoom inside and even a nude female statue (very rare in Vietnam).
Business manager Thang Viet Nguyen, 38, said: ‘At the beginning most of people did not accept Crazy House because it was too abnormal, odd, and strange.
‘Gradually people understand it more, little by little.
‘Now Crazy House has become acceptable, and is a place that attracts tourists from many other countries.’
Wandering around and getting lost in this maze of buildings and rooms is definitely part of the experience. I ended up seeing some rooms more than once and do hope that I didn’t end up missing a room during all my wondering.
I got to meet the gallery designer, Mrs Dang Nga, who looks like a 1960’s French hippie, and believe me she is just as crazy as her Crazy House. She actually has a PhD in architecture from Moscow and has designed a number of other buildings around Dalat. One of her earlier masterpieces, the ‘House with 100 Roofs’, was torn down as a fire hazard because the People’s Committee thought it looked anti-socialist. Luckily I got to visit it before it got torn down, here is a photo of the entrance.
You can see that she really enjoys designing these strange and outrageously artistic rooms and structures. The Crazy House is a maze of slim bridges, and “flowing lava” that you get to crawl through as you move through the place. Mrs Dang Nga is still actually busy building on this ” Crazy House” and says that she hopes to finish her vision by the year 2020. I would love to come back once it is finished to see the end result.