Built in 1918 – 1919 by the French, under the direction of the architect Auguste Henri Vildieu, the the State Guest House originally served as a residential palace for the Governor of Tonkin (Tonkin is the amalgam of Vietnamese words Đông & Kinh which was the name given to the city of Hanoi during the Lê Dynasty. The French used this name to refer to the current northern territory of Vietnam.) The Residence has a surface area of 15,000 m2 and the entire site (including the land) is 117,000 m2.
The building is located at the place where the Vietminh overthrow led, by Ho Chi Minh took place, resulting in the takeover of North Vietnam in 1945 (“The August Revolution”). The Residence was then renamed “Tonkin Palace” (in Vietnamese: Bắc Bộ Phủ)
Since then, the building has been the official residence for distinguished government guests.