Lonely Planet Writer

This Sky Forest will change Ho Chi Minh forever

The skyline of Ho Chi Minh may soon be changed forever if these incredible new designs make it into reality.

This could the Ho Chi Minh of the very near future. Image by Ole Schereen

Empire City is envisioned as a new focal point for Vietnam’s largest city and will be a mixture of high-rise developments and public spaces with a design to evoke Vietnam’s lush landscape and famous rice fields.

The Sky Forest will offer views over Ho Chi Minh city and Saigon River. Image by Ole Scheeren.

Three skyscrapers sit on top of a podium-like structure full of gardens, and the tallest building – the Empire 88 Tower – has 88 floors stretching up to 333 metres. Most strikingly, two-thirds up the tower lies the Sky Forest, a multi-level public garden packed full of water features and local plant species. The developers promise spectacular views across Ho Chi Minh City and the Saigon River and it may soon be a top tourist draw.

There will be plenty of public amenities in the new Empire City. Image by Ole Schereen

The design also includes a multi-functional public arena that could play host to any number of events, all while having great views across the busy city. The development will be full of homes, offices, recreational rooms and co-working spaces as well as public amenities for visitors and other locals to enjoy.

Vietnam’s lush plant life will play a starring role in the new development. Image by Ole Scheeren

The vision for Empire City comes from German architect Ole Scheeren, whose landmark projects in Bangkok, Singapore and Beijing all came into completion this year. He’s worked in countries across Asia for nearly 20 years and although this is his first project in Vietnam, it continues the recent trend in Asian architecture of trying to incorporate more greenery into high-rise designs, perfect for the busy metropolises.

Incorporating more green spaces into architecture has been a recent much-needed trend. Image by Ole Scheeren

“I think that this is a very pertinent and important topic for us”, he told CNN. “How we bring the density of the city back to a more liveable environment. There are a series of serious attempts to investigate the possibility for this to be a new model. And that’s really what we’re after.”