Topping out at 461 meters high, Landmark 81 dominates the skyline of Ho Chi Minh City. Designed to resemble a cluster of bamboo, it’s the tallest building in Vietnam – by over 100 meters – and currently the second tallest building in Southeast Asia. We installed no fewer than 28 elevators, in addition to 18 escalators in the mixed-use tower – which besides hotels, restaurants, and observation decks, also includes serviced apartments, commercial apartments, and shopping centers.
From Landmark 81's observation deck – on the building’s 81st floor – the view, overlooking the Saigon River, is nothing short of breathtaking. With no other building in Ho Chi Minh City coming close to the tower’s 461 meters height, unobstructed 360-degree panoramas of the city are guaranteed – and the ride to reach the top is all part of the experience.
In total, our team installed 28 elevators – 22 Schindler 7000s and six Schindler 5500s – and 18 Schindler 9300 escalators. The elevator that takes you to the observation deck is the fastest in the country – clocking a maximum speed of eight meters a second – meaning you'll go from street level to the top floor in less than a minute.
"This is a really iconic building in Vietnam," says Duong Van Hung, our Project Director of Landmark 81. "I still feel excited about this job that we did. From the top floor, you can see every corner of the city. It's a special feeling."
The design of Landmark 81 was inspired by bamboo – a traditional plant symbolizing strength and unity – and its connection to nature is fitting as it’s one of the greenest buildings in the country and one of the tallest LEED certified skyscrapers in the world.
"We’re proud that our elevators, escalators, and innovations not only provide exceptional vertical mobility throughout Landmark 81, but also help to make the building sustainable and energy efficient," says Vu Huy Ta, the General Director of Schindler Vietnam.
As one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has over the last decade experienced an infrastructure bonanza, with residential and commercial buildings cropping up like mushrooms across its main cities. But building a skyscraper nearly half a kilometer tall has its own unique set of challenges. Among others, few local engineers had experience of working on high-rise buildings on the scale of Landmark 81.
"Even I as project manager was not experienced for this kind of building. Nothing like it had been built in Vietnam before," Hung recalls. "That's why being part of a global team is such an advantage." To support Hung’s team, we had experts from Switzerland and the UK on-site to help with the installation of the elevators, and to train our local engineers. Given the challenging environment – one of the elevator shafts is 390 meters in height – this guidance was invaluable. It led to all 22 Schindler 7000s being installed within five months, while also enhancing local resources on high-rise project management.
"Today, thanks to the guidance and training from our headquarters, we no longer need support from expat colleagues for these kinds of jobs," says Hung. "This is part of the success story. Since Landmark 81, we've handled quite a few similar projects."
All training was done on-site, we were all working as one. One team, together. It was a very happy time.
Duong Van Hung
For a project as prestigious as Landmark 81, ride quality is key. Again, the building’s height posed a problem. Described as a "chopstick building" by Hung, as it sticks so high up into the sky, it’s inevitable that it’ll sometimes sway slightly in strong winds.
"Depending on the weather, the building could sway differently from morning to afternoon or evening," he explains. "But this is where quality installation really shines through: When you ride in one of our elevators now, no matter what the weather is like, you won’t feel any sway."
One way to check the stability and ride comfort of an elevator is to conduct a "water glass test." You place a glass of water in the elevator, and as it moves upward, with constant acceleration, the pressure on the bottom of the glass will change. The water's surface gives a visual representation of the vibrations and movement experienced during the ride. Our goal was that the water would remain still and undisturbed.
"It’s a basic test, and we naturally have many other tools and methods to secure quality and comfort, but it really shows how smooth the ride is. I was very nervous the first time we did the test," Hung says with a light smile. "It passed, of course," he adds.
The engineering skills and hard work put in by our team to achieve exceptional ride comfort for passengers have not gone unnoticed by the building’s occupants.
"Isn’t it fascinating that the elevators travel at such high speeds without you actually, noticing it?" asks Götz Bauer, General Manager of the Marriott Autograph Collection, to which the five-star hotel belongs. "In this hotel, the elevators alone are an experience."
Landmark 81 is the perfect example of how we combine innovation, advanced technology, and smart mobility solutions to ensure a quality experience for passengers. All elevators in the building are orchestrated by our Schindler PORT technology, which optimizes traffic flow throughout the building, while offering guests a personalized service and access control. Schindler PORT reduces waiting times and increases security, as it can be configured to provide specific access rights for each passenger.
Schindler PORT ECO (Energy Control Option) Mode provides additional energy savings by dynamically adjusting the number of elevators in operation at any given time. Schindler PORT ECO Mode works by monitoring usage data, dispatching fewer elevators during quieter times, while switching unused elevators to standby mode.
While Schindler PORT keeps the building running smoothly, another one of our innovative technologies allows all of our equipment to be monitored remotely around the clock. Schindler Ahead leverages the latest in data analytics and diagnostics to track the status, usage, and performance indicators of any connected elevator or escalator.
"Schindler Ahead is a real step up in terms of maintenance and quality control," says our Service Director, Yen Xuan Nguyen. "We can now see in real time how each elevator is operating. If there's an error, we can see where it comes from, we know exactly which component has been affected. We can also spot potential issues and fix them before they become a problem."
What's more, to ensure quality standards are met on an ongoing basis, we’ve got a dedicated team of four maintenance engineers on-site – working on rotation, they’re available around the clock to supervise the elevators and are always on hand for any troubleshooting. They're also on constant standby to evacuate passengers in case of an emergency.
As Vietnam's economy keeps growing, the demand for advanced technology and services within the building sector also increases.
"It's a boom market," says Yen. "To be honest, we’re very busy at the moment, both with installations in new buildings and modernizations and replacements of elevators in older ones. There are a lot of opportunities here for us."
As the country keeps developing, some things – like its iconic street food – stay the same. The difference today, though, is that you don’t have to be at ground level to consume it – you can enjoy it high in the sky at one of Landmark 81’s fantastic range of restaurants.