Man builds veritable city of clay

A Vietnamese businessman invested around USD10 million to build unique architecture and sculptures out of clay in the highlands city of Dalat.

Construction of the tunnel started in 2010

Trinh Ba Dung was always made fun of for his dream of building a sort of sculpture garden, complete with tunnels and a house, that would reflect cultural and social identity of Dalat. The architectural styles used range from modern to old.

The work depicts the foundation and development of Dalat City

Born in the central province of Thanh Hoa, Dung chose HCM City as a place to live and set up his own business. However, his fondness for Dalat has always been strong.

Entrance to the tunnel

Having had a chance to travel around the world, he determined to turn his knowledge about architecture into real works in Vietnam, and he chose Dalat as the place where he would do it.

The work was not easy, but a solution came by chance when one of his friends visited him in Dalat and suggested using basalt soil as a construction material.

The 1.2-kilometre long tunnel was built totally by clay of the central highlands region

Typical architecture of Dalat

It has not been an easy journey for him to build his dream, and his hair has grayed from time and effort.

He finally decided to build the work on the bank of Tuyen Lam Lake, which is surrounded by pine forests. He quit his own business in HCM City to move near the place he intended to build.

The deepest section is 12 metres high

The construction work started in 2010. With a length of 1.2 kilometres, the tunnel is expected to set a world record upon its completion, hopefully by the end of this year.



The construction expected to be done late this year

After three years of construction, two thirds of the work is complete, vindicating his vision.

Clay vespa

“There are a lot of hardships during construction. There’s time during the rainy season when excavators got bogged down in the mud and had to be lifted out by crane. But the workers diligently kept going despite the weather,” Dung said.

An herd of elephants in the primeval forest

Apart from the city’s typical architectures, the tunnel contains primeval forests, old trees, peaceful streams, large herds of elephants and typical houses of K’ho ethnic minority.

Clay house named in Vietnam Records Book

A house gate

“I expect that the tunnel will be the longest of its type in the world when it’s done,” he added.


The 90-square-metre house built inside Tuyen Lam tourism site

All the things here were made from the clay of the central highlands region. He created a Vietnam’s map covering over 30 square metres on the house’s roof.

Map of Vietnam on a roof

The wall

A water tank reassembles a wooden shoe

Clay furniture

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