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[Photos] The Evolution of Bitexco in 25 Photos

Between Thu Thiem's ambitious new skyscraper, the planned transformation of Thanh Da Island and a LEED-standard apartment complex that looks like Marina Bay Sands, Saigon's skyline seems to change every other day.

For this reason, you don't have to delve too far into the past to find a completely different view of Saigon. Just last year, the city's Tax Center was still a fully functional retail complex and you could make a left-hand turn on Nguyen Hue without having to drive halfway around District 1.

Perhaps the strongest example of this is the Bitexco Tower. Today, it's Saigon's most iconic modern building, but take a look at the city before 2010 and the lotus-shaped skyscraper is markedly absent from District 1, changing the landscape of downtown Saigon altogether and bringing us back to a moment in the city's history before the current skyscraper boom.

In honor of Bitexco's five-year anniversary this month, here is a look at the development of Saigon's tallest building from the very beginning of its construction in 2009 through the first few years of the Bitexco's operation. Photographer Fred Wissink captures in black and white the rapid transformation of downtown Saigon. 

 April 2009. Along the canal, facing District 1 from District 4.  

 August 2009. The Khanh Hoi bridge crossing into District 1 from District 4.  

 August 2009. The Khanh Hoi bridge crossing into District 1 from District 4.  

August 2009. The Khanh Hoi bridge crossing into District 1 from District 4.  

View of Bitexco tower from the old pier in District 2's Thu Thiem. A ferry crosses the river in the foreground.

February 2010. Construction of the Thu Thiem Tunnel entrance in front of Vo Van Kiet in District 1.

October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

 
October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.
October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

October 2009. The Bitexco reaches its midpoint. Photos taken from the Khanh Hoi bridge and Ton Duc Thang Street.

The Bitexco rises behind the Duxton hotel on Nguyen Hue Street on a rainy night.

November 2010. The exterior of the building has been completed but interior renovations continue. From the rooftop of the Eden Mall building, which came down shortly after the photos were taken.

November 2010. The exterior of the building has been completed but interior renovations continue. From the rooftop of the Eden Mall building, which came down shortly after the photos were taken.

November 2010. The Bitexco looms like an alien structure in a city too small to contain it.

November 2010. The Bitexco looms like an alien structure in a city too small to contain it.

November 2010. The Bitexco looms like an alien structure in a city too small to contain it.

April 2011. The Bitexco set against the 1930s Grand Hotel on Dong Khoi in the foreground.

April 2011. The Saigon Zoo and the city draped in mist with Bitexco in the background, partially blocked by the Times Square building.

April 2011. The Bitexco set beside the river. Looking from Binh Thanh District across the zoo.

October 2011. A completed but still mostly unfilled Bitexco is quickly surrounded by other Saigon skyscrapers.

October 2011. A completed but still mostly unfilled Bitexco is quickly surrounded by other Saigon skyscrapers.

April 2012. The Bitexco stands at the end of the newly opened highway and Thu Thiem Tunnel.

[Photos by Frederik Wissink, Fred Wissink Photography.]


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