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Extreme Architecture:  Iconic Tower- Egypt.

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By Arc Charles D Maduka  (FNIA)

“If the heart of Africa remained elusive, my search for it had brought me closer to understanding myself and other human beings”  Maya Angelou.

 

Come to think of it, Africa comprises fifty-four countries, with Algeria being the largest by land area and Nigeria the most populous. However, two territories—Western Sahara and Somaliland—face ongoing disputes over their independence.

Situated in the northeast corner of Africa on the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt shares borders with Palestine, Israel, the Red Sea, Sudan, and Libya. It holds the title of the most populous country in the Middle East and the fourth most populous on the African continent.

Egypt’s climate is predominantly dry and hot, characterized by desert landscapes. Mild winters see rainfall along coastal regions. Notably, Egyptian architecture traces back to 3000 BC, featuring post-and-lintel construction, hieroglyphic-covered walls, flat roofs, and iconic structures like the Mastaba, Obelisk, pylon, and pyramids.

Interestingly, an Egyptian named Imhotep who lived around 2600 BC was the first known architect in recorded history. He pioneered stone-dressed buildings and the use of columns in building construction.

Renowned for their adventurous architecture, Ancient Egyptians left enduring marvels like the Great Pyramid of Giza, Karnak Temple, and the Pyramid of Djoser.

In pursuit of regaining prominence in Africa, Egypt unveiled the “Iconic Tower,” Africa’s tallest skyscraper, in 2023. Standing at 393.8 metres, with seventy-seven floors mainly for office use, and at precise coordinates, 30.0100818 degrees N and 31.6957747degrees E, it graces the skyline of the New Administrative Capital ( NAC) of Egypt.

Designed by Architect(s) Dar al Handasah Shair and Partners and developed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation, this cylindrically shaped tower with knife-like slit towering fearlessly into the amazing desert skyline symbolizes Egypt’s ambition and pride.

Elsewhere in Africa, the Mohammed IV Tower in Sale’, Morocco stands as the second tallest building at 250 metres, owned by a Moroccan business mogul, Othman Benjelloun. This awe-inspiring tower was opened in 2023.

Back home, Nigeria boasts the Nigerian External Communications (NECOM)House built by Costain International-located at Marina and Cable Street intersection in Lagos Island as its tallest building. This is a 32-storey; 160-metre magnificent structure showcasing remarkable winding carpark areas.

Since the 2000s, skyscrapers have proliferated in various African cities like Algiers, El Alamein, Durban, Cape Town, and Maputo. However, Hong Kong, China, leads globally in completed skyscrapers taller than 150 metres.

Nonetheless, Egypt’s Iconic Tower stands as a testament to its architectural ambition and resurgence.

According to the renowned and award-winning architect Frank Gehry;  ” I don’t think all buildings have to be iconic, but the history of the world has shown us that cultures build their iconic buildings for their major public buildings”.

 

By Arc Charles D Maduka  (FNIA)

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