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New Renderings Show Saigon's Plans to Revamp Quách Thị Trang Square

At an estimated cost of VND157 billion (US$6.17 million), the controversial renovation work on the square in front of Bến Thành Market is set to begin this fall and be completed by April 2025.

Bến Thành Market roundabout as last seen in 2016. Photo by Brandon Coleman.

Unveiled earlier this month, the plan for the 45,000-square-meter area around the intersections of Lê Lợi, Trần Hưng Đạo and Phó Đức Chính streets is said to include green spaces, trees, granite stones, cement barriers and a lighting system. It aims to revitalize an area that was blocked off and torn up starting in 2014 to carry out underground construction on the metro line.

Overhead of the Bến Thành Market square in 2024. Photo via VnExpress.

Despite previous announcements, the beloved roundabout that occupied the intersection until 2017 will not be rebuilt. Instead, a crosswalk and traffic lights will control vehicle and pedestrian passage. The square was home to a statue of a student protestor, Quách Thị Trang (since 1964) and a statue of 15th-century military expert Trần Nguyên Hãn atop a horse (since 1965). Both were removed in 2017, but a rebuilt bronze version of the Trần Nguyên Hãn statue and the original Quách Thị Trang monument will be included in the new Bến Thành Market square.

A family poses in front of statues in 2014. Photo via Tuổi Trẻ.

The square was re-opened in late 2022 with repaved roads and walkways, and limited refurbishments. A new gas station and bus stop were also constructed at the time. The new plans include mention of public amenities such as benches, water fountains, bathrooms, Wi-Fi, vending machines and security cameras.  

A stylistic and architectural marvel upon when first opened in 1914, Bến Thành Market has endured as a landmark as its function in the city evolved from catering to French colonizers and providing locals with daily necessities to a tourism mainstay. In 2022, officials announced plans to renovate the market building itself for the first time since 1985.

Photo taken outside Bến Thành Market in 1938 via Flickr user manhhai.

Since the new look of the Bến Thành Market square was revealed online, netizens have been vocal in their opinions. While appreciating the attention to the sorely dour space devoid of soul, they have questioned the scarcity of proposed shade and greenery. The images have also caused some to lament the fact the roundabout will not be reconstructed. On the other hand, some have pointed out how there is need to clean up the litter and graffiti that have emerged in the empty space.

Have a look for yourself at the renderings below of the proposed facelift:

Proposed look for Bến Thành Market square (left) and current look (right).

[Photos via VnExpress]

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