Green to the extreme

Ambitious green residential development in Cairo integrates nine 'Megatrees'

by Sian 05 November 2014 Sustainable Buildings
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    Parisian design studio Vincent Callebaut Architectures has released details of a new commission for Abraj Misr Urban Development in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. Working with local firms K&A Design and Injaz Development, the firm has designed a highly sustainable scheme which blends 1,000 apartments with offices and a shopping mall, targeting LEED Gold.

    Speaking on the development, Misr said: “It is time for Cairo to witness the creation of an iconic sustainable building that would express the future of the city Victorious, after decades of urban degradation and also after the recent flip page of unrest - it represents the demand to look into the peak guidance into the future which developers would seek to track.”

    ‘Iconic’ is clearly the aesthetic that the architecture team is aiming for, with a very bold, futuristic appearance. The Gate Residence incorporates nine sculptural ‘Megatrees’ across the horizontal surface of the building, drawing the roof system down to basement level. These structures aid natural ventilation to refresh the ground level patios and an inner street known as The Boulevard.

    Plans include four levels of underground parking, one level of supermarkets, three commercial storeys at ground level with connections out to Nozha Street, topped with nine storeys of residential units. Offices will be incorporated into three of these upper storeys, and the residential sections will sport a façade with horizontal low-e glass and polished white stone. This façade is sculpted into a series of ‘U’ shapes which host the aforementioned ‘Megatrees’. A central Boulevard acts as a spine for the housing development, connecting the residences in a lively, shaded community.

    The wider design looks to combine nature and building in a single gesture, formulating a dense vertical ecosystem. The roof system will incorporate solar panels and solar heating tubes, and will provide support for the vertical gardens. Vincent Callebaut Architectures envisions the roof as a fifth façade and ‘common playground’ for the building users, brought to life with food gardens, orchards, infinity pools, and sports facilities.

    Sustainability plays a key role in the design which blends eight key ‘green’ features: ‘Megatrees’ in the middle of each green patio; a passive geothermal cooling system integrated along each core; solar photovoltaic cells on the roof system and west/east facades; solar heating tubes on the roof; wind turbines along the axial spine; roof food gardens; living walls along the nine ‘Megatrees’; and the use of recyclable and/or recycled furniture. 

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