Unlike Hà Nội where most new houses have a very historicist decorative design,
the new houses in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are more modernist if not just utilitarian. And while the houses in Hà Nội are most often painted ochre or vermillion, there is a much greater use of other colors in HCMC. As in Hà Nội, most houses are "tube houses" in that they are very narrow but very long. Although I haven't confirmed this yet, it is said that these lots are narrow because property taxes are based on the width of the lot at the street line. In HCMC, I guess (without confirmation yet) that many of the new houses are designed by young architects trying out new ideas, and this is very good to see. This in contrast to the usual utilitarian modernist larger buildings in HCMC. These pictures can be viewed by clicking on the first or top picture in the album and then click "next" on each photo to proceed though the album in slide show fashion.
I skipped the second week of construction behind my house because nothing progressed except for delivery of materials.
In this third week, ironworkers formed rebar cages to be dropped into a bore hole to reinforce foundation piers. This weekend they drilled the first borehole with a diameter of between half to one meter to a depth of 20 meters. Watching the nature of the soil brought up, I noticed that the soil noticeably changed at that last meter with solid clay compared with the muck brought up for the first 19 meters.
The first six meters of the borehole has a steel casing. The remainder of the hole is stabilized by pumping a bentonite slurry into the hole, which keeps out ground water and puts pressure on the side wall to keep it from falling in. Then the reinforcing bar cage was dropped into the hole in three sections and welded together.
Tomorrow it is likely they will pump concrete down a pipe installed within the rebar cage. The concrete will displace the slurry from the bottom up.