When one thinks of Egypt, they don’t typically imagine greenery. But in the near future, due to the development of Africa’s first vertical garden, this may change.
In August 2019, Italian architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri unveiled plans for the first vertical forest in Africa. Three buildings will be designed, each 30 meters tall and 30 meters wide. The buildings will be cube-shaped and seven stories tall. They will also be covered with pollution-absorbing trees and plants to help reduce carbon emissions in the desert east of Cairo.
Stefano Boeri Architetti estimates the buildings will have planted terraces containing 350 trees and 14,000 shrubs. Over 100 species will help cleanse the air from impurities. One of the three buildings will be a hotel while the other two will house apartment units.
The project will be located in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital. As DeZeen reports, the vertical forest is intended to be the administrative capital of the country and will contain the government departments and foreign embassies.
For the project, Boeri is collaborating with Egyptian designer Shimaa Shalash and Italian landscape architect Laura Gatti. Each apartment will have its own balcony with planted species appropriate to the local climate. Plants at every level will help to provide natural shading and improve the surrounding air quality. The studio estimates that the plants will absorb seven tons of carbon dioxide and product eight tons of oxygen per year.
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Construction is slated to begin in 2020 and complete by 2022. The project is receiving funding from Egypt’s military and housing departments. The goal is to reportedly boost the country’s economy and ease Cairo’s housing crisis, where 70 percent of the population live in informal dwellings.
Are Vertical Forests The Future?
This isn’t the first time Milan-based Stefano Boeri Architetti has designed vertical forests for cities around the world. It is the first in Africa, however. After the concept was introduced in Milan in 2014, the trend gained in popularity.
Vertical forests help scrub carbon dioxide from the air while simultaneously providing refuge for birds and insects. The method of growing food is also well-received due to the capability of packing thousands of square meters of greenery into just a few hundred square meters of space.
In China, another Boeri project is underway in Liuzhou Forest City. When completed, the vertical forest will have more than 40,000 trees and 1 million plants covering its buildings. The trees and shrubs are expected to annually absorb 10,000 tonnes of CO2 and 57 tonnes of pollutants. At the same time, it will be able to produce 900 tonnes of oxygen.In the Netherlands, Boeri has designed the 19-story Trudo Vertical Forest. It can house 125 affordable units targeting low-income families. At the same time, the greenery provides an escape for urban wildlife and scrubs CO2 from the air.
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