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Bitexco Financial Tower

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Escalators inside the Bitexco tower

Otis was tasked with providing elevators and escalators for the tower in Vietnam.

The Bitexco Financial Tower is a 68-story commercial building in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 (ELEVATOR WORLD, June 2010). Among the country’s tallest buildings, the tower has transformed Vietnam’s skyline and is a symbol of the momentum and aspirations of its people. Providing 37,000 m2 of office space and 8,000 m2 of retail space, upon completion, the tower also featured Vietnam’s first helipad, which sits atop the building and resembles a blossoming lotus bud. On the 49th floor, the observation deck provides visitors with a panoramic view of the city and nearby Saigon River.

According to developer Bitexco Group’s chairman Vu Quang Hoi, the group wanted a building design that would embody the country’s dynamism and culture, similar to the way the Empire State Building is intertwined with New York City’s (NYC) culture. Per Hoi’s design request, architect Carlos Zapata of NYC, used the lotus, a Vietnamese symbol that represents purity, commitment and optimism for the future, to create an architectural form combining art with glass, steel and concrete.

Bitexco assembled an experienced international development team with a strong record of constructing tall buildings around the world. The team included contractor Hyundai Engineering and Construction of South Korea, and project manager Turner International, LLC of New York.

Vertical Transportation

As with any project of this size, the elevator installations presented challenges. The relatively small 5,312-m2 site was surrounded by narrow, densely populated streets. Storage of building materials at the site also proved difficult. Otis was selected to provide 21 elevators and 10 escalators for the project. Twelve of the elevators are double-deck, high-speed elevators, all of which feature Otis’ Compass™ Destination Management system. Fourteen of the building’s elevators feature Otis’ energy-efficient ReGen™ drives, which can reduce energy consumption by up to 70%. This is among the first projects in the world combining Otis’ Compass system with double-deck elevators, creating a unique and efficient experience for building tenants and visitors.

The double-deck elevators shuttle passengers to the top of the building at speeds between 5-7 mps with capacities up to 3600 kg. The elevators were selected as a space-saving solution, as they serve two floors simultaneously using the same hoistway. The design allows for more passengers to be served compared to a single-deck, single-hoistway configuration. Depending on the building and its needs, double-deck elevators can save up to 40% of the space required by traditional elevators, while increasing transportation capacity up to 30%.

With the Compass system, instead of pressing traditional up or down buttons, passengers enter their destination floors using keypads or interactive touchscreens before boarding the elevator. The system immediately assigns passengers traveling to the same or nearby floors to the same elevator, reducing wait and travel times and improving the flow of building traffic.

The Bitexco Financial Tower was also equipped with Otis’ EMS Panorama™ system, a web-based application that enables building staff to monitor, control, report on and manage a range of elevator functions from any computer with an Internet connection. With this system, building staff can monitor elevator performance, security, traffic patterns, key equipment events, etc. 

Vietnam is undergoing a historic transition from a primarily rural economy to an urban economy. “In emerging cities like Ho Chi Minh City, elevators are a critical part of ensuring efficient transportation in skyscrapers and optimal accessibility for all users,” said Charles Vo, president of Otis’ North Asia Pacific Area. “We are honored to [have been] a partner in this prestigious project and [to have] provided the elevators and escalators to this landmark building in Vietnam.”

Vietnam has great significance to Otis. In 1929, the first Otis elevator was installed in the Presidential Palace in Hanoi. And, in 1993, Otis was among the first elevator companies and second international company to re-enter the country after the U.S. trade embargo was lifted. In 2006, Otis installed Vietnam’s first moving walkways at the “Big C” Thang Long Supermarket in Hanoi.

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