Back Heritage » Saigon » [Photos] Building the City: Snapshots of Saigon in the Late 1960s

[Photos] Building the City: Snapshots of Saigon in the Late 1960s

Buildings play a significant role in shaping how we see and navigate Saigon — the Notre-Dame de Paris gives us a sense of belonging to history while modern high-rises can feed our dreams of grandeur and upward mobility.

One wonders then, what it would be like to navigate the city more than 50 years ago when many of the buildings we see today were still under construction. Would seeing a building in the making disenchant us from the aura of its presence?

In this photo series captured by Dave Teer between 1967 and 1969 in Saigon, the photographer seems constantly obsessed with building, as both actions and structures. Views of buildings, infrastructures being built and people building things are at the center of these pictures.

Compared the photos to the proliferation of new construction projects that are being done in contemporary Saigon, one might come to a realization that despite the utopic visions of urban planners and architects, the city might never become a finished project. Instead, it's forever being built and rebuilt, shaped and reshaped, its appearance ephemeral just like the life of its citizens.  

Take a look at the photos below:

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]

Related Articles

in Saigon

Street Cred: Dauntless Antiwar Icon Nguyen Thai Binh and His Tragic Death

If one were to see the streets of Vietnam as a tangled network of people whose names they took, every city would resemble a messy collection of historical fragments.

in Saigon

[Photos] 10 Remarkable Black-and-White Shots of Saigon in 1967

Lush bunches of fresh bananas at a market, a street-side merchant selling embroidered artworks to tourists, and Buddhist worshipers praying at a local temple — these Saigon scenes are rather mundane b...

in Saigon

[Photos] Amble Through Saigon’s Markets and Pagodas in 1965–1966

The photo series was taken by Thomas W. Johnson, a chaplain assistant working at the US 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon in the 1960s.

in Saigon

[Photos] Views of 1954 Saigon-Cho Lon From a USS Rochester Sailor

The USS Rochester CA-124 was a heavy cruiser that was first launched after World War II.

in Saigon

Old Saigon Building of the Week: The Glitz and Glam of Tu Do Nightclub

While today’s Dong Khoi Street is peppered with tourist-centric shops and restaurants, just half a century ago, the downtown street was the nightlife hotspot for Saigon’s cool kids to congregate.

in Saigon

Old Saigon Building of the Week: The Three-Legged Bridge of Cho Lon

Saigoneers born after the 1990s might be familiar with the term dân chơi cầu Ba Cẳng, or “the daredevils of Ba Cang Bridge”. However, not many are aware of its starting point, which originated from a ...