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12 thoughts on “Saigon: A Patchwork of Architectural Styles”

    1. Leaving the city for a few years and you can hardly recognise it at all. There was always something new in town, every 6-8 months. But now, the pandemic stopped all that…

  1. I really enjoyed exploring those buildings with different architectural styles vicariously through your photos. Those beautiful structures built by the French are quite a contrast to the buildings the Dutch erected here in Indonesia which emphasized on functionality over beauty. I wonder why Alfred Foulhoux is not widely accredited as the architect of the Central Post Office in Saigon. I, too, thought it was designed by Gustave Eiffel. How’s the Covid-19 situation in Saigon? I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy throughout this pandemic.

    1. My hypothesis is that Eiffel might involve in some stages, for example, the iron frame. However, “designed by Eiffel” would be easier to promote than an unknown architect 🙂
      Well, we are still under strict lockdown here. Even though 80% of the city population received the first jab, infection and fatality rate is still high. I guess it might take several weeks more to see the effect of vaccine. Thank you and I wish you the same, Bama. Keep our spirits up!

  2. This is a great walkthrough of Saigon’s history through its architecture – I can’t believe I missed the Museum of Fine Arts when I visited for a few days back in 2013. It is astonishing to think that it was built as someone’s home; clearly no expense was spared in its design and construction! I even see touches of Art Nouveau in the wrought iron balustrades and stained-glass windows. Are there any plans to pedestrianize the area around Notre-Dame Cathedral, or at least reduce the number of traffic lanes? It seems a shame to give away all that open space to cars and motorbikes.

    Let’s hope more attention is paid to saving and restoring the city’s heritage from different eras. Vietnamese Modernism has a certain beauty and I love the fact that the style was developed by local architects. For some reason your shot of the Saigon skyline from across the river reminds me so much of Singapore… I think it was the juxtaposition of low-rise historic structures in the foreground (as at Singapore’s Boat Quay) with the glittering skyscrapers behind them. 🙂

    1. It does look similar, right? I hope the city goverment can learn one or two thing about preservation from the Singaporeans. They are seemingly obssesed with skyscrapers.

      Until now, only the street in front of the City Hall is car-free area (weekend only). More pedestrian zone are in planning. But I’m not sure when they will complete 🙂

  3. Our last visit to Saigon was in 2004. It has certainly changed a lot. We still believe the Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most beautiful this side of the world. It is interesting to learn that much of the building materials were imported from France.

    1. I think the French wanted to make the city as similar to Paris as possible. On the other hand, Vietnam couldn’t produce those materials at the time, especially the coloured glasses or the ornaments. Hence, importation was the only viable option.

      Thanks for visiting 🙂 It has been a while since I’ve seen you here. I hope you are doing well. Have a nice weekend!

      1. I (Leo) had a case of critical Covid infection last May and ended up nearly 4 months at a hospital. It was a miracle I survived. I’m doing rehab right now and was only able to use my laptop a month ago. Hopefully I can recover in a few months time to begin traveling again.

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