When you think of a city, its architecture and thriving life on the streets comprise a landscape that we as humans are proud to call our own creations. If seen from above, a city is like a living and breathing organism– the buildings are our crown jewels and exclamations of accomplishment. The tallest building is as much part of the growth as the ones that have withstood times of war and even development. Landmark 81 is the first of many to properly exclaim to the world Ho Chi Minh City’s significance and thriving atmosphere of entrepreneurship. With its enormous height and symbolic architecture, with the determination and passion to slide in each Low-E glass window, with the expanse of the vision that it took to pierce the Vietnam sky, this building is Ho Chi Minh City’s newest development that boldly establishes a new precedent for this lively city.
The History of Saigon Speaks Through Symbolic Buildings
Ho Chi Minh City once outshined other cities in Asia from the late 19th century to the early 1970’s as “The Pearl of the Far East”. The relics of this glorious time are still standing and create memorable moments for those who visit – Ben Thanh market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Opera House, Binh Tay market, the old pagodas, temples, and many more. The memory still lives.
After major changes in the government and the great depression in the 1980’s, Ho Chi Minh City started to shine again with the most attractive diamond of the time – the Saigon Floating Hotel, igniting the first boom in economy and tourism. Unfortunately, some regulation issues forced the hotel to close at the end of the millennium. Although this marked a setback, this was the gestation of the golden generation of Vietnam. This country carried forth with eyes opened and wings straightened, showing no burdens of war.
Then, the city rapidly changed during several tremendous economic booms.
In 2000, the United States signed the Bilateral Trade Agreement with Vietnam, a major milestone in Vietnam’s growth, marking trade normalization and an economic partnership, bringing foreign investment into the country. Ho Chi Minh City’s center started to fill with top-notch shopping centers and luxurious fashion vendors. New tourism and service venues appeared.
In 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization after 11 years of preparation. Starting from that year, Saigon was on its way to being a megacity, with the appearance of shopping malls such as the Vincom Center. The renowned Bitexco Financial Tower became the new symbol of the city in 2010. Thu Thiem tunnel was finished in 2011, expanding the metropolitan area even more, starting with the rise of District 7.
From 2013 to 2016, after enduring the global economic crisis, Vietnam went through major economic reform, strengthening Vietnam’s stock market and economic confidence, establishing new opportunities through many trade agreements. And it was in 2016 that Obama visited Vietnam, followed by the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Vietnam became one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Skyscrapers grew up from the ground with remarkable speed, the transportation system has been under renovation. The pinnacles of this period are the unveiling of the luxurious shopping mall Takashimaya and the AEON Mall complexes. District 2 became a new metropolitan area, establishing the foundation for the coming Vinhomes Central Park, the promising Empire City and many new riverside urban areas.
And finally we have arrived at today, Saigon welcomes a new spectacular jewel to its collection – the Landmark 81 – opened on July 26, 2018. This is a major sign of Vietnam’s recent development, an indicator of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Overview of Landmark 81 Tower
The Landmark 81 is an extremely tall skyscraper in Saigon that was designed by a British firm, Atkins, and funded and constructed by Vietnamese-owned corporations – Vingroup and Coteccons. Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Southeast Asia as of July 2018, and listed as the 14th tallest building in the whole world.
This building has 81 stories, making it 461.5 meters tall. It is located in the Vinhomes Central Park urban area, on the western bank of the Saigon River, next to the Saigon Bridge connecting District 2 and Binh Thanh District. The inauguration of this building is just the beginning. The entire development of the building and Vinhomes Central Park is still underway with a multi-use area consisting of high-end facilities. This includes a hotel, conference venues, luxurious apartments and condos, shopping centers, and food and beverage establishments. The tower also features a multi-story observation deck at the very top.
The Stories behind Landmark 81
“It is not just the height, but also the pride and the self-confidence of the Vietnamese people!”
The Purpose and Vision of Building the Landmark 81
“We (Vietnamese), on our own, can construct a building of the century” – Pham Nhat Vuong, chairman of VinGroup, owner of Landmark 81 project.
When it came time to open the bids, Landmark 81 was the eighth tallest building in the world on paper. Vingroup Corporation – the biggest real estate firm in Vietnam – was the project owner and the main investor. The idea was an 81-story multi-purpose building in the shape of a bamboo clump.
Since the creation of the nation, the bamboo tree has been the closest companion of the Vietnamese people, from the establishment, expansion of the country, and the defense against invading forces. The bamboo tree has made its way into most Vietnamese literature and cultural materials. From old paintings, poems, folk songs, to stories and romances, it became a part of the cultural life of the Vietnamese people, for thousands of years. The bamboo tree is a Vietnamese symbol, a reminder of the motherland, the rice fields and the countryside. This makes Landmark 81 a symbol of the Vietnamese pride in their architecture, development and prosperity, showcasing the nation’s confidence for the world.
The Bidding War for the Construction Contract
The Landmark 81 project was owned and mostly funded by Vingroup Corporation. In the beginning, the company started as a food product manufacturer and supplier founded by Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong 25 years ago. The year 2000 marked the firm’s first step in Vietnam, on the way to being the biggest real estate corporation in the country. Now, Vingroup has up to 48 subsidiary companies, operating in every field. This includes healthcare, hospitals, convenience stores, foods, shopping malls and even amusement parks. Vinmec, Vinmart, Vinpearl Land, Vincom, and Vinhomes are just a few names on this extensive list. Mr. Vuong who chairs the corporation, is also among the 300 richest people in the world and has an amazing biography that is worth your exploration.
When the Landmark 81 project became available for bidding, the only Vietnamese construction company on the table – Coteccons – was overwhelmed by foreign firms. The construction costs were higher than anything this construction company had previously seen, and Coteccons only had experience constructing buildings less than 60 stories. Initially, Lotte Corporation (from Korea) won the bidding, for their offer and experience.
But then the tides changed. Mr. Vuong’s pride for his country emerged. He denied the offer from Lotte Corp, and set up a meeting with Coteccons. That night, the entire Coteccons top management flew straight to Hanoi to meet Mr. Vuong. He wanted this project to be a building of the century, built by none other than the Vietnamese. He wanted to prove his people’s abilities of doing great things in the world. It was no longer a matter of costs and profits, but the confidence of our great country. Therefore, Coteccons signed the construction contract for the project.
“We must let the Vietnamese construct this building of the century”
– by Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong.
Conquering the Construction Challenges
Making a dream come true has never been easy. Not to mention this was the biggest project ever done only by the hands of the Vietnamese people. Landmark 81 proposed a lot of difficulties that seemed impossible to overcome with the Vietnamese current technical capabilities, and it had to be done only by the Vietnamese as requested by the owner.
Facing the technical challenges from building the Landmark 81 megastructure, Coteccons was under a lot of stress. Most of the significant buildings like the Bitexco Tower in Ho Chi Minh City or the Lotte Center in Hanoi were built by foreign contractors. To add to the stress, this was an opportunity for the Vietnamese construction companies to prove themselves. In order to make it happen, Coteccons received consulting support from many partners and affiliations, such as the Obayashi Corporation from Japan.
This building has the biggest base structure in the world so far, with a total amount of 16,000 cubic meters of concrete. Complicating data and environmental factors prevented a flawless simulation on the computers, Coteccons once again had to ask for help, but this time from a British construction company.
After all the outside help needed for the creation of the final blueprint, Landmark 81 came to life solely with the hands of Vietnamese constructors. The construction started in December 2016, and the final story was completed in February 2018, about 14 months in total. The inauguration of Landmark 81 was held on July 26th, 2018, with the opening of Vincom Center Landmark 81 at the ground level. On that day, the Vietnamese made their way into creating and housing one of the highest buildings in the world. From exterior to interior, the cultural and historical aspects of the Vietnamese people are featured in every detail of the building, from the whole structure to the small decorations.
“The pride of the Vietnamese people doesn’t just show in the height, but it also lies in the construction of such building of importance” – shared by a Vingroup representative
And from now on, Vietnam finally has a significant building that ranks among the best to represent their prosperous homeland and growing cities.
What Landmark 81 Means for Saigon
Bearing the shape of the bamboo clump, a historical symbol of the Vietnamese people, Landmark 81 also represents the powerful development, the strength in unity, the national pride and also the economic capabilities of Vietnam coming to the age of economic integration – according to Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong, upon the construction of the tower.
But why is it located in Ho Chi Minh City, rather than Hanoi – the capital?
Ho Chi Minh City is the economic center of Vietnam, and also one of most attractive and busiest cities in Southeast Asia. Undoubtedly, Ho Chi Minh City is also considered the best new place for starting up your business. New venues, new ideas, new products are popping up on every corner every day. Landmark 81 is yet another example of Vietnam’s confident economy.
The city is fueled by around 14 million people, 70% of these people are young, vibrant and talented with a strong work ethic. Together with a unique startup culture, and a solid entrepreneurial environment, Saigon should be on the top of your list if you are looking for creative business ventures. And the best part is, you are not alone here, there are a hefty amount of local talents willing to help. It is all about optimization and resource allocation. Everything from housing, food and drinks to other services are offered at a great value and with affordable prices. Everything is also efficient and seamless, on par with life in other big Western metropolises like New York.
In fact, doing business in Saigon will require less physical effort, other talented people will help you get things done in a short amount of time, get inspired for the next big thing, and you will therefore have a lot of time to improve your lifestyle. It’s fast, fun and energetic living and working here in the city. Everything is fluid and organic. The people are friendly, willing to help and always up to new occupational challenges, one of the aspects I love the most about the city. It is the Vietnamese who construct the buildings, the culture, the experience and represent themselves and their home country to the world through their groundbreaking achievements. We dare to dream big, and achieve bigger.
Seven Details to Know about Landmark 81
1. The tallest building in Vietnam and Southeast Asia as of July 2018
Landmark 81 surpasses the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia and the Willis Tower of Chicago. It’s comparable to other significant towers in the world like the Burj Khalifa of Dubai and the Shanghai Tower. It also symbolizes the ambition, the pride and the prosperity of Vietnam in the coming years.
2. The biggest and most sustainable building
The whole building is fitted with eco-friendly low emissivity glass windows, minimizing the use of power for lighting and air conditioning. Specifically, the Low-E glass ensures efficient light conductivity and temperature stability inside. Moreover, the tower and the Vinhome Central Park are also equipped with the most advanced water management system for sustainability.
3. The most luxurious hotel for world leaders
Located on floor number 42 to 76, the Vinpearl Hotel has up to 450 rooms, including a 1,000 square-meter presidential suite with 360-degree views of the whole city. The restaurants and bars located on floor number 66 and 67 also share the same feature. The hotel serves as a meeting and banquet venue for world-class organizations or a luxurious wedding hall for celebrities.
4. The most outstanding shopping center
From B1 to the third floor, Landmark 81 will be the most outstanding shopping center of Vietnam – the Vincom Landmark 81, consisting of luxurious shopping vendors, recreational areas, an ice rink and various health and fitness centers.
5. The world-class elite clubs
Various elite lounges are established on floors number 5, 66, 67, 79, and 81. These can be exclusively accessed by residents and desirable guests. The Club House has a wine lounge and cigar lounge located in the sky bar area on top of the building.
6. The highest and most modern observatory
The observatory is located on floors number 79 to 81 with 360-degree views, equipped with top-notch magnification lenses and touch screens, aiming to provide the best viewing experience from the tower, overlooking every corner of the city.
7. The most beautiful infinity pool
Spanning around 1,000-square meters, this infinity pool overlooks the city center and even has a jacuzzi.
In addition to these remarkable qualities, the residents or visitors of the building can also enjoy a relaxing time in the biggest riverside park of Saigon – the Vinhomes Central Park – with an area of over 14 hectares. With unique design, fusing both Western and Eastern architecture and art style, it is an unrivaled place for a jog, a yoga session or a weekend picnic in the heart of the city!
Apart from this marvelous Landmark 81, Vietnam is a country filled with cultural, historical and economic wonders that you should spend as much time as possible experiencing. Check out our Christina’s Blog for the most updated traveling information of Vietnam, and make the most out of your trip! Here are some recommended articles for you:
Discover The Very Best of Saigon: An Insightful Adventure with Onetrip
Anthony Bourdain Tribute: Revisit His Favorite Food Stops in Saigon
Best Long-Standing Vietnamese Food Stalls in Saigon
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