Architecture

Sustainable "vertical city" envisioned for the Sahara

Sustainable "vertical city" en...
From a distance, the City Sand Tower resembles a huge rock rising out of the desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
From a distance, the City Sand Tower resembles a huge rock rising out of the desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Parisian architecture firm OXO Architectes, in association with Nicolas Laisne Associés, recently revealed a proposal for a futuristic sustainable tower – or "vertical city" – in the Sahara desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Parisian architecture firm OXO Architectes, in association with Nicolas Laisne Associés, recently revealed a proposal for a futuristic sustainable tower – or "vertical city" – in the Sahara desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The conceptual project calls for a massive community of housing, offices, hotels, and a museum (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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The conceptual project calls for a massive community of housing, offices, hotels, and a museum (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
It has a much larger footprint than Dubai's Burj Khalifa, and features a total floorspace of 78 hectares (192 acres) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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It has a much larger footprint than Dubai's Burj Khalifa, and features a total floorspace of 78 hectares (192 acres) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Inside the building, OXO Architectes and Nicolas Laisne Associés call for a large central inner tower which is covered by vegetation (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Inside the building, OXO Architectes and Nicolas Laisne Associés call for a large central inner tower which is covered by vegetation (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Some 22 percent of the tower's usable floorspace is given over to offices (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Some 22 percent of the tower's usable floorspace is given over to offices (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The sustainable technology slated for the build is extensive, and rather ambitious (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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The sustainable technology slated for the build is extensive, and rather ambitious (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
According to the brief, rainwater would be collected and injected roughly 4 km (2.4 miles) deep underground, at which point the earth's heat would turn the water into steam (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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According to the brief, rainwater would be collected and injected roughly 4 km (2.4 miles) deep underground, at which point the earth's heat would turn the water into steam (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The City Sand Tower is envisioned for the Sahara desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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The City Sand Tower is envisioned for the Sahara desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Interior temperature would be partly managed using natural ventilation (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Interior temperature would be partly managed using natural ventilation (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
From a distance, the City Sand Tower resembles a huge rock rising out of the desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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From a distance, the City Sand Tower resembles a huge rock rising out of the desert (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
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Architectural drawing of the City Sand Tower (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
View gallery - 18 images

Parisian architecture firm OXO Architectes, in association with Nicolas Laisné Associés, recently revealed its proposal for a futuristic mixed-use tower – or "vertical city" – that promotes sustainable high density living in the Sahara desert. The conceptual project calls for the tower to be run using renewable sources including rainwater collection, solar power, and geothermal energy.

Bringing to mind XTU Architects' vision for a sustainable city in the Sahara, City Sand Tower is also best taken with a pinch of salt and is unlikely to be built. According to the concept, it rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) – or almost half a Burj Khalifa – but has a much larger footprint than the Dubai skyscraper, giving it a total floorspace of 78 hectares (192 acres).

Inside the building, OXO Architectes imagines a central inner tower covered with vegetation that serves as a vertical garden sheltered from the harsh desert conditions. Some 22 percent of City Sand Tower's usable floorspace is given over to offices, while a hotel and a total of 600 housing units make up 17.5 percent and 15 percent of available floorspace, respectively. Remaining space is taken up by a shopping center and conference rooms, sports area, museum, a spa, and a bar and restaurant. The tower also includes a meteorological observatory, while a heliport tops the building.

The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)
The City Sand Tower rises to a height of 450 m (1,476 ft) (Image: Manal Rachidi Oxo Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associes)

The sustainable technology slated for the build is very ambitious. According to the brief, up to 45,000 cubic meters (1,589,160 cubic ft) of rainwater would be collected annually in an area known for its aridity and used for various purposes. Most significantly, it would be injected roughly 4 km (2.4 miles) deep underground, at which point the earth's heat would turn the water into steam. This steam would then channeled to the surface somehow and used to power a generator that produces electricity and heats water for the tower's heating systems. The same rainwater would also be used to irrigate the internal vertical garden and for toilet needs, with greywater recycled too.

Additional power would come from solar panels and the interior temperature would be partly managed using natural ventilation.

The brief imagines work starting on the project in 2025, with construction phased over 50 years.

Source: OXO Architectes

View gallery - 18 images
6 comments
piperTom
We need "high density living in the Sahara desert" because ... it's so crowded there? ... deforestation? ...
The Skud
Very clever - at least until the 1st decent sandstorm swirls around it, fills up the centre space and frosts all the windows!
christopher
Deserts have lots of sand and sun. Sun melts sand. Robots control melting. City constructed. Easy. We need this because: 7 billion people. If we can put some self-sustaining groups of them out of the way of the suicidally-resource-consuming rest-of-us: that's a good idea.
Germano Pecoraro
Sustainable city? The single fact that in one of the rendering have added a heavy helicopter denotes the frivolity of the proposal. And who would have walked out to live in the middle of nowhere sand? And the skyscrapers would be sustainable? The temperature of this artificial mountain to what would rise, at 70 ° Celsius? Why all this need for verticality? It looks more like a publicity campaign of the architectural firm that designed it! In some ways it exceeded the period in which he drew for advertising nonsense !!!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
An exciting project requiring a large amount of resources!
Kristianna Thomas
Building a city tower in the middle of the Sahara Desert; not in the middle of Nowhere. Who is this marvel of the ages being designed for, for it can't be for the people already living in the Sahara Desert; let alone people of Sub-Saharan Africa. Is this being created into the next Globe Trotting Tourist Trap? Do the people of Saharan Africa really what this thing, or anything closely resembling this Tower of Babble; with its over the top amenities. When people in the Sahara are seeking ways of dealing with water shortage and solutions to the African crisis, the only solutions seems to be the creating of Tourists Traps. Maybe it is like a roach motel. The Tourists check in, but they don't check out.