Stefano Boeri Architetti
Masterplan Concept Design, Building Concept Design
MISR Italia Properties
Project: Stefano Boeri Architetti
Founding partner: Stefano Boeri
Partner in charge and project director: Francesca Cesa Bianchi
Project Leader: Eleonora Grassi
Masterplan Concept Design: Carlotta Capobianco, Sara Gangemi, Federico Panella, Shilong Tan, He Ruoyu.
Building Concept Design: Diego Ballini, Jacopo Colatarci, Benedetta Cremaschi, Paloma Herrero Ermakova, Hana Narvaez, Marco Neri, He Ruoyu.
Images: The Big Picture
Botanical and landscape consultant: Laura Gatti Studio
The three new green Vertical Forests presented by Stefano Boeri Architetti for Cairo’s new administrative capital are experimental buildings in the form of three cubes 30 metres high and deep, one of which contains apartments equipped for medium and long-term rentals, while the other two will host residences of different types designed to meet the different needs of the new capital’s inhabitants.
The governing principle behind the design of all three buildings is that of giving each individual housing unit the opportunity to benefit from an appropriate amount of greenery. In actual fact, each apartment opens onto a balcony housing a selection of plant species typical of the North African climate zone characterized by different mass and height and with different types and periods of flowering. There are 350 trees and over 14,000 shrubs and evergreens belonging to 100 different species, which correspond to about a third of those currently found today within Cairo’s urban fabric. In total the green area will exceed 3,600 square metres, an area equivalent to the building’s total ground area and it is expected that the new Vertical Forests will be able to absorb about 7 tons of carbon dioxide per year and produce 8 tons of oxygen, contributing substantially to counteracting the pollution and the effects of climate change.
The entire perimeter of the three towers is therefore surrounded by continuous strips of vegetable loggias that clearly indicate the design of the façades and present them in a different way: one building has continuous terraces with a regular development and width, while in the other two Vertical Forests the system of loggias, although continuous, varies in depth, depending on the size of the overhanging shrub vegetation or various tree species. In this way, the perceptual relationship that each inhabitant has with the natural element is expressed differently: in cases where the balcony narrows, even if a smaller amount of vegetation is visible, it can be enjoyed from a new point of view, that is from above, along with the foliage of the trees on the floor below. Everyone can enjoy the positive effects of the presence of vegetation on the façade: from a decrease in perceived temperature, to an increase in shade and better air quality as well as the undoubted positive effects that generally result from physical and psychological well-being.
The three New Cairo Vertical Forests with their façades providing a continuous natural green screen, mark the entrance to the entire area facing North on one of the major road axes in this part of the new capital while to the South they are positioned along a pedestrian street that has a linear commercial building as its backbone divided internally into two distinct blocks. These feature services, shops, gyms, clubs and restaurants and whose roof tops provide a privileged view of the Vertical Forests. The commercial promenade also services other residential buildings that border this sector towards the South. The whole intervention results in a vegetal buffer zone in the Northern sector which acts as a diaphragm between the residential area and the street, a green way of looking after the public space between the towers and along the commercial strip and the opening of the entire sector to the Southwest onto a large public park.
The three New Cairo Vertical Forests are part of the broader Greener Cairo vision which envisages six demineralization strategies for the Egyptian metropolis aimed at achieving the ecological conversion of the city, and which in addition to planning new architectural forms, includes a large-scale campaign for making the thousands of flat roofs of the city green. It also includes increasing the urban vegetation through the creation of a system of green corridors that cross the old capital and join a larger orbital forest making Cairo the first city in North Africa to deal with the overwhelming challenge of climate change and ecological conversion.