Examining the Element of Townscape in Hue City

1. The tombs of the emperor

Hue city, located in the central Vietnam, was the imperial capital of Nguyen dynasty from 1802 to 1945. It is also one of the most wanted places in whole Vietnam because of its richness in heritage places. Perfume River (Sông Hương) crossing the city of Hue has an important role in urban morphology. The citadel of the Nguyen emperors, the tombs of the emperors, and the largest Pagoda in Hue city Thiên Mụ Pagoda as the symbol of the city were laid along the Perfume River. French style colonial buildings were lined in the southern side of Perfume River while in the northern side is more traditional.

After understanding the history of City in brief description, let’s explore and examine the element of townscape based on the classical text of townscape by Cullen. According to Cullen, the concept of townscape is stated in the term of serial vision. Serial vision can be simply described as sequence in every continuous view which contain existing view and emerging view. Every sequence has its own story and meaning in arousing impression and emotion. Our understanding in townscape study will be easier if we look some photos chosen of Scenery in Hue City.

2. The element of townscape in the tombs of the Emperor

One of the most visited places in Hue is the tombs of the emperors along the Perfume River. The photograph number 2 told us about “linking and joining” which means two different places linked by a path crossing the pond. The path will guide you to reach there, roof shape there you see from here. In other words are described as “here and there”.

3. Perspective taken from Thiên Mụ Pagoda

Photograph number 3 told us the perspective of Perfume River taken from Thiên Mụ Pagoda. Here trees are incorporated with the building in making unity of townscape “trees incorporated”. If you see deeply this point of view, you will catch the distant hill located there. It is “thereness”. Object which is located ‘there’ become the focal point. One more element of townscape can be found here is “punctuation”. It is a sign of streetscape in order to inform the visitor about the boundary of space.

You will understand the element of townscape if you experience it directly by walking through the objects. So, explore the town around you and find the element of townscape there.

(All photographs are taken by the writer in 2011)