Will You Recognise Saigon in 2020?
The Saigon of today is drastically different than it was just a decade ago. As the city changes, construction sites have appeared and disappeared, leaving behind shiny glass-walled skyscrapers and contemporary buildings, turning the city into a pulsating metropolis.
As pre- and post-war buildings start to make way for new residential complexes, offices and shopping malls, the city is starting to gain a new topography. The Saigon of old was fondly described as the “Pearl of the Orient”, or the “Paris of Asia”. Whereas, many say that new Saigon is set on a fast-track to become Vietnam’s “Little Singapore”.When all is said and done and the empty lots we see all around the city are replaced with soaring skyscrapers, what will Saigon’s true identity be? And how will this be reflected in the heart of the city - District 1?
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This article will highlight five familiar areas in District 1and how they will look like in the not-so-distant future.
The Saigon River
Historically, the Saigon River runs through land that was once part of the Champa Kingdom and as Vietnam turned into what it is today, the river has played a major part in the development of the city thanks to its port.
The areas bordered by the Saigon River are expected to undergo a massive revamp. Thu Thiem New Urban Development Area in District 2 is set to change the entire cityscape. Meanwhile, on the other side of the river in District 1, construction work has already begun on multiple new developments, including a new Grade A office building.
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Slated to be complete in 2020, the design of the 55-storey, 240-metre tall Sun Tower was inspired by the iron tree—a symbol of strength, stability and wealth in Asia, according to its Singaporean developers CapitaLand.
The building’s unique architecture takes the form of artificially created terraces on its middle floors, effectively breaking the symmetry and providing a surprise splash of green, a refreshing and eye-catching element.
Trần Hưng Đạo Street
One of the busiest streets in Saigon, Trần Hưng Đạo Street runs through the centre of District 1, accessing a multitude of homes and businesses and more recently, construction sites near the Ben Thanh Market area, which are paving the way for the upcoming metro line.
By 2020, expect a new 35-storey grade A office building to grace the area with Alpha Town - the central business district’s first foreign-owned development in Saigon. Inspired by the ao dai, the delicate curves of the building will provide a distinguishing landmark for tourists and locals alike.
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According to its developers Alpha King Real Estate, the building will be packed with features such as facial recognition and guest enrolment systems making it the first office building in Vietnam to apply the most advanced technology of its kind currently available.
Although primarily an office building, it will be accompanied by a premium integrated development called Alpha City which will feature residential spaces and a shopping mall.
Facing the Saigon River, with the statue of Trần Hưng Đạo in its vicinity, the area around the Melinh Roundabout is filled with a mix of modern buildings like The Myst Dong Khoi.
Saigon Mehlinh Towers will be the new kid on the block when it is completed next year. The Towers are a mixed-use complex developed by Novaland and will feature two condominium towers standing at 212 metres and 220 metres respectively.
Phạm Ngũ Lão
In 2020, none of that is going to change but instead, a new addition to the city’s everchanging skyscape will appear in the form of the creatively-named, Spirit of Saigon Towers. The complex is comprised of a 55 and 48-storey tower connected by a podium. The taller tower features office spaces and a hotel on its higher floors while the other tower will be mostly residential apartments.
Image source: millenin.com
Developed by the same team that brought us the now-iconic Bitexco Financial Tower, Spirit of Saigon Towers’ architecture pays homage to the Vietnamese myth of the Two Dragons. The podium is meant to represent its coiled tails as it rises from the land and the cantilevered tops represent the dragons’ heads. The glass ‘cubes’ on the dragons’ heads are meant to depict Vietnamese pearls in the mouths of these creatures.
Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa/Lê Lợi
One of the busiest intersections in the city that connects 4 major roads, the area is more popularly known for its current landmarks - Takashimaya and Saigon Square 1. While construction work has been fast and furious on the metro line, another high-rise development is set to make its appearance, and possibly stake its claim as the area’s new central landmark.
The development, Saigon Jewelry Center (SJC) Tower, has been conceived as a 200 metre, 52-storey building and will be a luxurious multi-purpose building complex with a trade centre, offices, apartments, restaurants and enclosed amenities for its residents. There is a literal jewel in the crown of this building—a diamond embedded in the roof of the building.
Image source: korn-architects.com
Saigon Diamond Corporation, a Vietnamese real estate joint venture, is the developer of this project. Just like most other entries on this list, the building is expected to open in 2020.
Last but not least, another new high-rise development within the vicinity will appear in the form of a 49-storey building called Saigon Gem Tower. The mixed-use development will feature a hotel, office spaces and homes. Beyond the 49 storeys above the ground, there will also be 6 basement levels as well as 9 dedicated levels for retail.
Designed by Aedas, one of the leading architecture firms in the world who has been responsible for some of the many mind-bending building designs across China, Singapore and The United Arab Emirates, the new Saigon Gem is expected to stand out as one of the tallest buildings in the city, and yet another sign of the city’s extremely rapid economic progress. The all glass building will act as a reflection of the sky and the ever-rising buildings nearby.
With all these developments slated to be operational by the end of this decade, will District 1, and Saigon itself be able to maintain their current identities?
Or will the race to the clouds forever alter the soul of Saigon?
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