Photo gallery: Homes with a history

Hanoi is home to a unique style of building - the “tube house,” known as nha ong in Vietnamese. The tall, narrow and brightly colored structures can be found throughout the city and are barely 12 feet (4 meters) wide but five to 10 times as long.
2021-06-15
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Hanoi's tube houses, so named because of their tube-like shape, dominate the city's streets as 9 million people compete for space in the bustling capital. (AFP)
Hanoi's tube houses, so named because of their tube-like shape, dominate the city's streets as 9 million people compete for space in the bustling capital. (AFP)

It is said that tube houses became popular as a way for owners to reduce their property tax, which was assessed based on a property’s frontage. (AFP)
It is said that tube houses became popular as a way for owners to reduce their property tax, which was assessed based on a property’s frontage. (AFP)

A tube house with a particularly ornate facade rises six stories. (AFP)
A tube house with a particularly ornate facade rises six stories. (AFP)

The first tube houses are thought to have appeared in the capital at the end of the 19th century, when villagers looking to sell goods moved to the area. (AFP)
The first tube houses are thought to have appeared in the capital at the end of the 19th century, when villagers looking to sell goods moved to the area. (AFP)

With their height and depth, tube houses can be spacious by Vietnam standards. (AFP)
With their height and depth, tube houses can be spacious by Vietnam standards. (AFP)

The squares on the roofs of some of the houses are skylights that often lead to courtyards and bring natural light and ventilation to the interior of the home. (AFP)
The squares on the roofs of some of the houses are skylights that often lead to courtyards and bring natural light and ventilation to the interior of the home. (AFP)

The two white buildings in the bottom center of the photo show the difference that just a few feet can make. The home on the left accommodates a balcony on each floor while the noticeably narrower one lacks the feature. (AFP)
The two white buildings in the bottom center of the photo show the difference that just a few feet can make. The home on the left accommodates a balcony on each floor while the noticeably narrower one lacks the feature. (AFP)

Many tube houses have a business in the front of the first floor while the family occupies the space behind and above it. (AFP)
Many tube houses have a business in the front of the first floor while the family occupies the space behind and above it. (AFP)

In Hanoi, the tube house design is now called "adjoining houses."  (AFP)
In Hanoi, the tube house design is now called "adjoining houses." (AFP)

While the tube house is found everywhere along Hanoi’s streets, there is pressure from developers and urban planners to separate residences and business. (AFP)
While the tube house is found everywhere along Hanoi’s streets, there is pressure from developers and urban planners to separate residences and business. (AFP)

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