As Ho Chi MInh City Port is due to move to the outskirt of South Vietnam metropolis, authorities are giving the green light to the conversion of the current port facility in District 4 into a contemporary riverwalk boarded by glittering skyscrapers. The vision is very much inspired by Singapore or Hong Kong skyline along its river.
While Ho Chi Minh City turns increasingly its back to its past with many old historical structures being step by step replaced by contemporary and often soulless structures, the new waterfront promises to preserve Saigon historical heritage, emulating in that sense Singapore own Boat Quay and Clark Quay.
According to Vietnamese architecture and design online publication ‘Saigoneer’, big plans are now underway for the 15-ha area. The masterplan has been given to Boston-based urban design firm Sasaki Associates, which is specialized into waterfront redevelopment projects, particularly in Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Suzhou among others.
Since 1863, the Port of Saigon has been essential to Vietnam’s fluctuating identity as a French colony (Cochinchina), an independent nation, and a contemporary regional powerhouse. As the modern metropolis grew around the port and the advent of larger container ships rendered the portobsolete, this storied piece of land in the center of Ho Chi Minh is beginning a new chapter.
The concept envisages a massive public park for the previously fenced-off riverfront. The space will be connected with neighbouring district.
The highlight of the project will be a 350-meter skyscraper, which will become Ho Chi Minh City fourth highest building. The project will also include apartments, community facilities, shopping malls, market plazas, as well as pedestrian areas along the river. Flood-prevention infrastructure will be built along the river to safeguard the city against the risk of rising sea levels.
Sasaki also indicated to preserve the historic structures along the port including warehouses and sailors houses, some built during the French colonial time. The adaptive reuse of French-colonial customs buildings, warehouses, and port infrastructure will pay tribute to the site’s industrial heritage in the new mixed-use waterfront district. Construction of the project is due for early 2018.