Africa's tallest skyscraper slated for construction in 2015

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Work on the Al Noor Tower is due to begin in June, 2015

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In June 2015, Dubai-based Middle East Development plans to begin work on a new skyscraper that will be the tallest in Africa. Based in Casablanca, Morocco, the mixed-use tower will rise to a height of 540 m (1,771 ft), easily dwarfing all other buildings on the continent.

The project is being developed under the working title of Al Noor Tower (Tower of Light), though Middle East Development hopes that Moroccan king Mohammed VI will give the firm his blessing to name the building in his honor. Once complete, it will be over twice the size of Africa's current tallest building, the Johannesburg-based Carlton Center, which was completed in 1973 and reaches a height of 223 m (732 ft).

Multinational Architecture firm Valode and Pistre is handling the design of the building, which is likened by those involved to a fountain pen, and tapers upwards into two blades. The building is chock full of symbolism, though as always with such claims, one wonders whether this was intended from the tower's inception or is the result of a happy accident.

For example, the 540 m height is said to reflect the total number of African countries (54 is approximately correct, though certainly up for debate), while its 114 stories are said to honor the same number of chapters (or surah) in the Quran. Finally, Al Noor Tower's facade will sport a 1,000-pattern design which signifies Africa's rich languages, which exceed 1,000.

The building will comprise a total floorspace of 335,000 sq m (3,605,910 sq ft), and include a luxury hotel with 200 suites, in addition to a spa and business center. Al Noor Tower also boasts an impressive 100 m (328 ft) atrium, which rises into the center of the tower.

The budget for the project is estimated at around US$1 billion, and it is expected to be completed in 2018.

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