The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Building

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Building is, in essence, City Hall. It is home to the administration in charge of the city. It stands imposingly at the top of Nguyen Hue, on Le Thanh Ton. 

The building began life at the start of the 20th century as The Hotel de Ville de Saigon. Construction took 6 years between 1902 and 1908. It was built by French architect Paul Gardes in the typical French colonial style of the day. It remains one of the most photographed buildings in the city. The building is not open to the public but stands as an icon of Ho Chi Minh City and one of its most well known and loved buildings. 

The building really is a magnificent structure; a beautiful old colonial monument consisting originally of 3 main sections. At the centre the highest section stands proud, creating a balance between the other two. There are 3 statues on the walls; in the middle a woman and children are seen taming wild animals. On the sides two women are depicted holding swords. The typical pale yellow and white paintwork sets it all off beautifully.

The hotel continued to take guests until the end of the American War, when its use was changed and it was given its new title. To the front of the building and at the very top of Nguyen Hue there is a rather attractive garden with a statue of Ho Chi Minh. Originally there was a statue of “Uncle Ho” seated with a child on his lap, this was replaced by the current one when Nguyen Hue underwent a huge remodelling in 2016. 

A couple of years ago the building was extended and now runs right to the junction with Hai Ba Trung. The work was tastefully carried out and it is rather difficult to immediately spot the new construction. In April 2018 the government stated a consultation process to massively increase both the size of the building and its use. The Us company Gentler has submitted pans to construct and 18,000 square metre extension. It will have 6 storeys about ground and four basements. It will be home to 8 government agencies and a library. The new building will also hold public functions for the first time.

Since the changes the view looking up the length of Nguyen Hue to the People’s Committee Building has to be one of the finest in the city. Work is still underway on Saigon’s new metro system meaning that there is disruption to the area but when completed this part of town will certainly impressive.

Close to the People’s Committee Building there are many famous hotels, the Rex and the Caravelle, for example. Also close is the Saigon Opera House making this one of the busiest parts of town. 

KnowSaigon Tip: It is frowned upon to take photographs of the building from close up. You are ok photographing it from the other side of Le Thanh Ton, but if you get too closet guards will ask you to move on. The best photographs are those taken at night, when the building is illuminated to great effect. 

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