Ex-OMA big hitter picks up trio of towers in Ho Chi Minh City

Büro Ole Scheeren has been appointed to design three skyscrapers in Ho Chi Minh City, its first project in Vietnam.

The former OMA partner, who led Rem Koolhaas’ practice’s expansion into Asia, has revealed his plans for Empire City, a large-scale mixed-use development on a 647ha peninsula in the Saigon River.

The three towers will rise to 333m at their highest point, dominating the city’s skyline. They will contain luxury housing, serviced apartments, hotels and office space particularly aimed at start-ups.

Ho Chi Minh City is experiencing rapid growth, with its population projected to hit 10 million by 2020, and some analysts are predicting the nation is on the cusp of a construction revolution, in a similar vein to Thailand 20 years ago.

The developer, Empire City Ltd, is a multi-national joint venture of prominent names in real estate development in Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong – Tien Phuoc Real Estate, Keppel Land, Gaw Capital Partners and Tran Thai Lands.

Empire City’s first five storeys will be linked by the landscaped terraces of a “mountain-shaped” podium before emerging as separate buildings.

The tallest, 88-storey tower, known as Empire 88 Tower, will contain a viewing deck at top and a “sky forest” three-quarters of the way up in which several floors of publicly accessible gardens will cantilever out from the main shaft, containing trees and ponds.