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Bitexco hosts skyscraper race

8 Jul
VNREBitexco Group says it will organize an international skyscraper race at its Bitexco Financial Tower – the tallest building in downtown HCMC – on October 30.

The Bitexco Vertical Run will challenge runners to scale 1,020 steps from the tower’s ground floor lobby to the Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor where they can see stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Saigon River.

Runners will compete in groups of 10 to 15 people. Men, women and children aged 12 and above at all fitness levels are encouraged to enter.

David Shin, representative of the organizers, describes the vertical race as a bit like scaling Mount Everest, not literally, but the fact that people like to climb because it is a challenge.

Vertical running is a fast growing and relatively new activity for runners and sports enthusiasts seeking a unique and thrilling challenge. The first-known vertical races began in the 1970s and it has developed into an organized sport where races are held globally in some of the world’s tallest buildings.

Organizers say the Bitexco race aims to attract hundreds of local and foreign participants. Registration is available from now with participation fees starting at US$12 per person.

For more information, contact race organizers at or

Reported by Dinh Dung | The Saigon Times

Bitexco Financial Tower – A world-class icon in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

1 Nov
VNREDefining the skyline of Ho Chi Minh City, Bitexco Financial Tower stands at 68 stories tall, right at the heart of the city’s Central Business District. With its inspirational design and world-class presence, it is a true icon built to symbolize a nation’s aspirations and the limitless potential of a thriving cosmopolitan city.

Design & Inspiration

Inspired by Vietnam’s national flower – the lotus, Bitexco Financial Tower is designed to represent the energy and aspirations of its people. A true urban masterpiece that is more than a structure of glass and steel, it evokes beauty and progress as it rises above the culturally rich Ho Chi Minh City.

Carlos Zapata

An award-winning architect whose past achievements include a 22-storey Cooper Square Hotel in the heart of New York City as well as Chicago’s Soldier Field Stadium. Mr. Zapata is also the Design Architect for the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, another Bitexco project.


Located in the Central Business District of one of the world’s fastest growing economies, Bitexco Financial Tower stands at the heart of Ho Chi Minh’s Financial Centre. Situated at Nguyen Hue, it is strategically positioned to attract leading financial, banking, insurance and legal companies, both local and global.

With its central location and accessibility from the rest of the city, it is well connected to the Saigon Bridge, Thu Thien Tunnel, Tan Thuan Bridge, and in close proximity to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.


Observation deck: See the bigger picture from the high point of Ho Chi Minh City, Bitexco Financial Tower’s observatory deck. At Level 47, you will enjoy stunning 360° views of the cityscape and the Saigon River. Destined to be the highlight of any trip to Vietnam, visitors can experience a top-of-the world feeling and get a closer look at the spectacular sight by the binocular stands.

Heli Pad: Beat the traffic and set off for work in style. Arrive on the helipad at the 50th level, and be on time for your next important meeting in the adjoining executive club. Sometimes it’s not about getting from Point A to B but how you get there that matters.

Executive lounge: An exclusive, members only club is a perfect retreat for a corporate function where you can entertain and impress your clients in privacy. Or indulge in an exquisite meal at a restaurant as you talk about the details of your next project. It brings new meaning to business lunches – a place that truly inspires a different conversation.

Offices & Amenities

It’s the details that make business a pleasure.

· Grade A+ Offices: Complete shell units with acoustic fiber boards, high ceilings, air-conditioning and unique light diffusers for ambient lighting.

· Double-decker elevators: The third in the world to have the innovative double-decker elevators with a personalised destination dispatch system, capable of reaching 7 metres per second.

· Safety: Complying with American fire safety standards, NPFA – the most widely adopted fire safety standards for modern skyscrapers, the Tower is built with fire sprinklers, pressurised stairwells and an automatic fire evacuation programme.

Shopping & Dining

Expect to be wowed by a retail galleria with a difference. Step into a world of pleasures where you will be indulged by 6 stories of fine fashion and exquisite cuisine.

An unprecedented shopping experience meets world-class dining here with a mélange of select boutiques, lifetsyle retailers, a chic bistro, wine bar and a food emporium that is a pure melting pot of tastes and cultures from around the world.

Consultant team

To realise this vision, Bitexco has assigned Korean firm, Hyundai E&C, who is currently constructing the world’s second tallest building, Incheon 151 Tower in Korea, to be its main contractor. Their experience in constructing skyscrapers is unparalleled, and has maintained the highest standard in construction techniques.

The complex shape of Bitexco Financial Tower required the experience of a world-renowned structural engineering firm, LERA, who is responsible for designing the foundations of the Shanghai World Financial Tower. This has instilled confidence in the construction of Bitexco Financial Tower, and brought to life an icon of sheer inspiration and innovation.

The Tower boasts an advanced Otis double-decker lift system with the state-of-the-art Compass Destination System from the USA, currently used in only the world’s highest profile buildings. Eagon from South Korea is responsible for the challenging and stunning ‘curtain wall of glass’ that elegantly drapes the Tower.

To ensure the timely completion of the project, it was crucial to create synergy between the complexity of many cultures, languages and various areas of expertise. An experienced project manager with an established history of undertaking projects of this magnitude was paramount. It was a clear choice for Bitexco to appoint American firm, Turner International, who successfully managed the construction of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building.

Developer: Bitexco Group

From a small textile enterprise in Thai Binh Province in 1985, to a multi-industrial corporation 25 years later, Bitexco has achieved much success in real estate investment and development, hydro-power plant construction investment, infrastructure and road construction, financial investment, mining investment and mineral water manufacturing, amongst other businesses.

Leveraging on its experience and expertise, Bitexco has developed various high profile projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City such as The Manor in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, The Garden in Hanoi, Bitexco Office Building and J.W. Marriott Hanoi Hotel. Other current large-scale developments underway include Nguyen Cu Trinh quadrangle complex, Ben Thanh Complex and the Hoang Mai Urban Complex.

In the relentless pursuit of growth and prosperity, Bitexco has built its fame with Vietnam’s sustainable development and global integration. The key to success is the vision of its leaders, the reliability of its partners and the loyalty of its patrons. Bitexco’s aim is to become the top corporation of Vietnam and to create quality and state-of-the-art products and services, while exceeding the expectations of its customers.

For further information, please contact:

Bitexco Group
HCMC Branch: Bitexco Building – 19th Floor.
19-25 Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 01, HCMC
Tel: 84.8.382 1033 – Fax: 84.8.3821 1005

Exclusive Marketing and Property Management Agent

Colliers International Vietnam
Tel: 84.8.3827 5665 – Email:

Inaugurated the Vietnam’s highest building – Bitexco Financial Tower

1 Nov
VNRELast night 31/10, Bitexco Financial Tower (BFT) – Vietnam’s highest tower with 68 floors, 262 meters high, was officially inaugurated in Hochiminh City. This lotus-shaped tower is a symbol for the development of Vietnam in the era of international economic integration.

BFT tower was designed by Carlos Zapata, a renowned architect has designed the Cooper Square Hotel in New York and Sodier Field Stadium in Chicago (USA). Structural steel and glass of the building simulated a lotus – the national flower of Vietnam.

Mr.Carlos Zapata shared, “When learning about the cultural significance of the lotus for Vietnam, I found the inspiration to design this building. The lotus symbolizes purity, close-knit and optimism towards the future. With those characteristics, BFT tower will be the typical image representing for the Vietnam people in the region and in the world.”

Here are some sparkling pictures of BFT tower in the grand openning ceremony:

Photos was taken by Le Ha

Bitexco Financial Tower – Update for July 2010

28 Jul
Vnre.blogspot.comDesigned by the architect Carlos Zapata Studio, Bitexco Financial Tower consists of a high-rise office building, a five-story retail podium, and four levels of below-grade construction, much of which is devoted to parking. The shape of the tower is modeled after a lotus flower bud, the national flower. Standing at 68 stories upon completion, the office tower is destined to become a landmark in the Ho Chi Minh City skyline.

-> Bitexco Financial Tower

– Sunset


– New moon

Photos credit by
Taken by Vu Ha Duy

Exclusive Marketing and Property Management Agent for Bitexco Financial Tower

6 Jan
Colliers International Vietnam is excited to announce that it has been appointed as the Exclusive Marketing and Property Management Agent for the Bitexco Financial Tower.

The Bitexco Financial Tower, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business and entertainment district near to both Nguyen Hue street and Ham Nghi street, is indeed the most exciting development under construction in Vietnam today. Upon completion Bitexco Financial Tower will revitalize the traditional financial centre of Ho Chi Minh City.

World renowned American Architect, Carlos Zapata drew inspiration for this sky scraper’s unique shape from Vietnam’s national flower, the Lotus. Upon completion, the building will rise 68 floors above the heart of Ho Chi Minh City defining the city’s skyline and will become an iconic symbol of Vietnam’s rapid economic development.

This truly landmark building scheduled for opening in October 2010 will be Vietnam’s tallest building housing over 37,000 sqm’s of International Grade A office space and just over 11,000 sqm’s of retail space located in a 6 storey retail podium. The retail and office areas will be serviced by Vietnam’s first double-decker Otis elevators which are capable of reaching 7 metres per second far surpassing the city’s fastest existing elevators.

In addition to International Grade A commercial areas the Bitexco Financial Tower will offer a Public Sky Lounge on the 47th and 48th floor as well as an Executive Sky Lounge on the 49th and 50th floor ensuring that unparalleled views of the city are offered in what will be Saigon most exclusive lounge.

The Bitexco Group one of Vietnam’s leading local developers has assembled a high-profile international development team in which Hyundai E&C from Korea are the main contractor and all work is overseen by Turner International, a Project Management firm from the United States which has over 100 years of experience in managing high-profile construction projects including the Burj Dubai, which upon completion will be the world’s tallest tower as well as Taipei 101 which is currently the world’s tallest building.

The development team’s expertise in building some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers is further strengthened by the addition of LERA as the Structural Engineers who were also responsible for the structural engineering of the Shanghai World Financial Tower which stands at 95 storeys.

To further meet the requirements of future tenants both the office and retail space will be professionally managed by Colliers International, a world class property consultancy with over 100 years of experience with 293 offices in 61 countries.

The security and the efficient operating of the building will be assured by a data processing center which monitors all building activities from a central command office utilizing only the most modern fire prevention and detection systems. To further ensure the safety of this international grade sky scraper an emergency helicopter landing pad will be located on the upper floors.

The Bitexco Financial Tower will become an iconic symbol of Vietnam representing the strength and beauty of the nation epitomized by the lotus flower as well as come to symbolize the rapid economic development of the modern Vietnam.

The Bitexco Financial Tower is a true example of forward thinking and design; which will redefine the future of commercial space in Vietnam.

For more infomation please contact:

Mr.Peter E. Dinning – Colliers International Vietnam
Tel: 84.8.3827 5665 – Email:

Bitexco Financial Tower

24 Jun
Due to the rapid population growth of Ho Chi Minh City and the dynamic economic development of Vietnam, the need for office space has exceeded supply in Vietnam’s largest city. The Bitexco Financial Tower development, currently under construction, will help ease the demand for office space in this thriving Southeast Asian metropolis.

Binh Minh Import-Export Co (Bitexco), a wholly owned Vietnamese company, is the primary investor in this mixed-use development. Designed by the architect Carlos Zapata Studio, the development consists of a high-rise office building, a five-story retail podium, and four levels of below-grade construction, much of which is devoted to parking. The shape of the tower is modeled after a lotus flower bud, the national flower. Standing at 68 stories upon completion, the office tower is destined to become a landmark in the Ho Chi Minh City skyline.

The office tower is essentially an all-concrete structure. Initially, a mixed system comprised of structural steel floor framing, composite perimeter columns and concrete core walls was developed. However, cost comparison demonstrated that the all-concrete structure had a clear cost advantage over the mixed system.

The typical lower office floors are framed with a conventionally reinforced 10-inch (250mm) thick flat plate. The upper executive office floors are smaller in plan and are framed with a thinner 8-inch (200mm) thick flat plate.

(View big-size image here)

Structural Challenges

Poor soil conditions presented a major challenge to the design of this tall tower; Ho Chi Minh City is on the alluvial plain of the Mekong Delta of the Saigon River. The extremely poor soil conditions are further complicated by a high water table since the building site is one block from the Saigon River. An aggressive schedule and tight site constraints provided additional complexities.

The tower is tall and slender, and has a smooth and rounded plan shape that stands almost 50 stories above the surrounding buildings. For these reasons, wind-induced building sway was a major concern for the structural designers. Additionally, the unconventional building shape is such that the perimeter tapers inward at the lower 20 floors, limiting the width of the structure’s stance and thereby limiting its inherent resistance to building sway. An innovative structural design using concrete outrigger and belt trusses will stiffen the tower against swaying motion. This innovative structural system, combined with the use of the highest strength concrete that could be supplied in the Vietnamese market, proved to be the most economical and constructible structural system.

As with any landmark project in an emerging market, design and construction challenges have been numerous, requiring the cooperative teamwork of the project’s international and local designers and constructors. The project design and construction team is led personally by Mr. Vu Quang Hoi, the Chairman & CEO of Bitexco. Turner International is the program and construction manager and AREP Ville serves as the Executive Architect. Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company is the general contractor for the superstructure. Other primary designers and constructors are listed in Figure 1.

Perimeter Diaphragm Wall

Typically in Ho Chi Minh City, major projects are constructed with two basements. The upper basement is excavated without bracing within a previously constructed diaphragm wall. The first basement slab is cast and the lower basement is constructed top-down.

Since the Bitexco site is small for such a tall tower, four basements were required. Also, the narrow surrounding streets presented a further complication. The time and cost of constructing such a deep basement in such a confined and small site presented a challenge that required the joint efforts of the entire team to solve. After several iterations of architectural layouts, construction sequence plans and diaphragm wall designs, an optimal solution emerged which located the top of the tower mat foundation at the second basement level and not at the fourth basement level, as would be have been expected. This tower mat location, in a sort of split-level basement, minimized the time required to excavate down and to construct the mat, thereby allowing the earliest time for starting the tower construction. The perimeter diaphragm wall was designed to be 32 inches (800mm) thick and was constructed using the slurry method. The wall was constructed to a depth of only 82 feet (25m) below ground to provide a groundwater cutoff for a 46 feet (14m) deep excavation.

Various options were considered for temporarily bracing the diaphragm walls during excavation and basement construction. Tie-backs were deemed infeasible due to the poor soil conditions and the close proximity of surrounding buildings. Rackers and bracing were feasible, but were eliminated because of the constraints that their use would have placed on access to the basements.

Construction Sequence

The final design incorporated a partial top-down approach. In top down construction, the complete ground floor or first basement floor slab is cast before the basements are excavated below. In this partial top down approach, only the perimeter of the ground floor slab was cast and used to stabilize the top of the diaphragm wall before the basement excavation began (Figure 2). This permitted the excavation to the level of the tower mat foundation to be performed without temporary bracing. After the tower mat was cast, the tower superstructure construction began with the tower mat serving as a bracing point for temporary supports for the lower excavations of the adjacent basement areas.

The split-level basement design and the partial top-down sequence have proven to be extremely valuable. It was estimated that excavation and construction of the four basements would take one year. With this design, the mat was constructed and the tower construction began several months before the fourth basement was completed.

The weight of this tall building required very deep foundations. Comprehensive initial studies and subsurface explorations were performed to form a basis of the foundation design and to estimate foundation settlement. Shannon + Wilson, the international geotechnical consultant, performed a finite element computer analysis of the soil-structure interaction below the tower footprint. The time dependent characteristics of the settlement were studied to understand the ways in which the settlement could be expected to affect the structure and the architectural finishes during and after construction. The maximum predicted settlement was determined to be approximately 4 inches (100 mm).

The tower foundation is a bored pile supported mat. The mat is 13 feet (4m) which effectively distributes the tower loads from the walls of the narrow services core over the extent of the mat. The bored piles are 60 inches (1500mm) in diameter that were drilled to a depth of between 235 feet (75m) and 265 feet (85m). Due to the volume of the mat, the mat was constructed in multiple sections. Also, tubing was embedded in the mat for a temporary cooling system. Insulation was placed on the sides and on top of the mat to limit the potential for cracking from the concrete’s heat of hydration.

The foundations for the podium and underlying basements are comprised of 4-inch (1200 mm) diameter bored piles that were drilled to a depth of between 190 feet (58m) and 205 feet (63m). There is one pile for each basement column. The cut-off elevation of these piles is at the fourth basement level. Embedded into the top of each pile is a structural steel wide flange section. The wide flange shape serves to support the perimeter of the ground floor during the top-down excavation and the construction of the basements. Later they will act compositely with the concrete basement columns to support the permanent loads.

Outrigger Truss and Belt Wall Systems

The tower has an aspect ratio (tower height/tower width) of 9, with a core aspect ratio (tower height/core width) of 20. The oval shape of the tower and the absence of surrounding tall buildings, coupled with the high aspect ratio, make the tower susceptible to wind-induced building sway. An innovative cast-in-place outrigger truss system was designed to be used to augment the lateral load resistance of the concrete core and to mitigate the potential for objectionable swaying motions. (Figure 3 shows locations of outrigger trusses and belt walls).

While many concrete and mixed steel and concrete towers have been constructed with structural steel outrigger systems, few have used a reinforced concrete system. Generally this is because concrete systems cannot provide the comparable strength, or they are too big. Additionally, outrigger systems provide an unintended gravity load pathway between the core and the perimeter columns. For steel outrigger systems without special detailing, gravity load stresses in an outrigger system can exceed the stresses required to achieve the intended wind load resistance. Concrete systems do not lend themselves to the special detailing required to mitigate these unintended gravity load stresses.

However, for this project, the team conceived of a system of reinforced and post-tensioned concrete, detailed as trusswork, that overcame these usual obstacles. The diagonals of the system were detailed to allow their installation only after the superstructure was topped out. To the extent that the outrigger system attracts gravity loads from the perimeter columns, the top chords of the trusswork were designed to be post-tensioned to resist these forces.

At Floors 29 and 30, outrigger trusses and belt walls interconnect the core walls and the perimeter columns. The outrigger truss and belt wall system were designed to function with the concrete core walls to complete the wind load resisting system. The outrigger trusses and belt walls will stabilize the core by resisting a portion of the overturning moments associated with wind-induced east-west movements.

There are four sets of double-story outrigger trusses. Two are aligned with the two primary core cross walls and two are aligned with fire stair walls. The connections of the outrigger trusses (40 inches wide, 1000mm wide) to the cross walls (16 inches thick, 400mm) were designed and detailed to transfer the forces effectively. (Figure 4) There are four belt walls, two on each side of the tower. The belt walls are one-story tall and interconnect pairs of perimeter columns to each outrigger truss.

Helipad Framing

As part of the tower’s lotus flower image, one side of the tower protrudes near Floor 55, taking the shape of a lotus bud. A sky lounge is located on the 55th floor with a helipad and an observation deck directly overhead. The helipad is supported by a pair of 82-foot long (25m) tapered steel cantilever girders. These tapered structural steel girders span from the core walls to the perimeter tower columns and cantilever outward to frame the helipad.

The cross-section of the helipad is framed with secondary tapered structural steel beams, spaced approximately 10.5 feet (3.2m) on center, that are oriented perpendicular to the primary girders. Both ends of the secondary beams cantilever beyond the primary girders to support the circular edge of the helipad. In this instance, the choice of steel resulted in a lighter structure and speedier construction.


The Bitexco Financial Tower is proceeding with construction despite the global economic crisis. The city, which has an annual growth rate of 12%, is fast becoming an important trade center in the Southeast Asian region. Once construction is finished in 2010, the Financial Tower will offer approximately 1,000,000 square feet (90,000 square meters) of office space. Like the lotus flower it emulates, the Bitexco Financial Tower is an emblem of the emergence of Vietnam into the Global Community of trade, business and commerce.▪

Source: STRUCTURE® magazine