Vietnam’s lack of iconic buildings is about to change, says design expert

Construction News Vietnam
Bertil De Kleynen of Atkins Asia Pacific is “future proofing” the country’s urban skyline Bertil de Kleynen
Bertil De Kleynen of Atkins Asia Pacific is “future proofing” the country’s urban skyline
Bertil de Kleynen

As director of architecture and landscape at Atkins Asia Pacific, the team behind the design of Vietnam’s future tallest structure Vincom Landmark 81, Bertil De Kleynen believes that the time has come for the emerging Southeast Asian nation to make a strong statement in terms of contemporary building design.

“Unlike many of its neighbours, Vietnam has not traditionally been home to iconic and supertall buildings,” he says. “But this is all about to change.”

Set to become the new icon in Vietnam when completed in 2018, the Vietnam Property Award-nominated Landmark 81’s design is expected to symbolise the strength and spirit of Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest metropolis.

“This project has been proposed to be an exciting mixed-use development and will feature a contemporary and leading edge architectural design that can rival the greatest modern super tall buildings the world has to offer,” De Kleynen claims.

With a career that spans three decades, De Kleynen’s track record speaks for itself. His architectural, transportation and masterplanning projects around the world often involved the interaction between development and transportation, while his appreciation of sustainable city development is rooted in sound Transport Oriented Development (TOD) philosophy – a key component of Atkins’ approach to “future proofing” cities.

On how different Vietnam’s skyline today from about 10 years ago, he says: “Vietnam is an interesting story in a sense that it has successfully managed to balance between protecting its scenic natural skyline in the countryside and promoting a striking and dynamic urban skyline, making strong statements over the centers of gravity in terms of urbanisation and its emerging economy.

“When it comes to the notion of skyscrapers, particularly in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, as the three first-tier cities in Vietnam, the last 10 years have been exciting and phenomenonal, even to an extent that super tall buildings in Vietnam are becoming iconic for the region and beyond.”

Hong Kong-based De Kleynen is one of the respected design experts who have been tapped to speak at the Property Report Congress Vietnam, the first time that the high-level conference will be held in the country. Ho Chi Minh has chosen as host city.

Organised by PropertyGuru, Asia’s leading online property portal group, the Property Report Congress will include sponsors exhibits, plenary sessions, industry overview and outlook, international networking sessions and lunch, keynote addresses, a workshop and insights from Winners and Judges of the Asia Property Awards series.

It will be immediately followed by Vietnam Property Awards 2016 gala dinner and awards ceremony, a well-attended event with more than 400 of the country’s biggest and emerging names in real estate.

Interested parties can register and purchase tickets here to join the Property Report Congress. Special bundle packages for the Congress and the Gala Dinner are available.

For enquiries and partnership opportunities, visit the website or contact the conference director at