Called Burj Zanzibar – “burj” meaning tower in Arabic – the spectacular skyscraper is designed to reach 96 meters in height.
Dubbed “vertical green village”, it would represent an iconic landmark not only for the island but for all of Africa and a global environmental milestone, being the first wooden structure in the world of such proportions.
The mixed-use commercial and apartment building design, in a playful beehive style with stunning ocean views, was unveiled to the public in Muscat, Oman on October 1.
Dutch-born architect Leander Moons, responsible for the concept, said: “Burj Zanzibar is not just an exceptional building, but a new ecosystem for the future of life.”
The residential tower with 266 residences will be located in Fumba Town, the pioneering ecological city in East Africa developed by the German engineering firm CPS.
Categorized as a strategic investment and fully backed by the Zanzibar government, the growing city near the capital, where foreigners can shop, stretches along a 1.5-kilometre coastline on the south-west coast.
“Burj Zanzibar will be the highlight and natural continuation of our efforts to provide sustainable housing in Africa, thereby boosting local jobs and businesses,” said CPS Executive Director Sebastian Dietzold in Muscat.
With turquoise seas, white-sand beaches and a UNESCO-protected historic Stone Town, Zanzibar has recorded an annual growth in tourism of 15% in recent years and an economic growth of 6.8%.
Earlier this year, the semi-autonomous archipelago, 35 kilometers off the coast of Tanzania, spread its wings in another direction as well, launching an initiative to attract African tech companies worth a total of $6 billion.
Benefits of wood Wood is the oldest building material in the world.
As a wood technology, it is currently enjoying a renaissance due to its environmental benefits and longevity.
New wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber are seen as the building material of the future.
One cubic meter of wood traps half a ton of carbon dioxide, while conventional concrete construction is responsible for 25% of CO2 emissions.
Once completed, Burj Zanzibar would be the tallest wooden building in the world and the first skyscraper in Africa to feature this innovative technology.
A few weeks ago, the 86.6-meter Ascent Tower in Milwaukee, USA, was certified as the world’s tallest hybrid wood building by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).
The tallest conventional skyscraper in Africa is a 385-meter office tower called “Iconic Tower” in Egypt, still under construction.
The tallest skyscraper in Tanzania is the 157-meter Port Authority building in Dar es Salaam.
The tallest conventional building in the world is Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 828 meters.
The specialist consortium from New York to Switzerland Burj Zanzibar is planned as a hybrid wooden tower.
A steel-reinforced concrete core is designed to meet all required fire and life safety standards.
Green roof gardens and planted balconies further reduce the carbon footprint of the building.
“Burj Zanzibar will be a widely visible new landmark for Zanzibar and beyond, not only because of its appearance but also because of its method of construction,” architect Leander Moons said during the launch event.
Established to promote locally available wood as a building material, Tanzania and its vast land resources for agroforestry would also benefit from the ambitious green mega tower.
A large forest development in central Tanzania, near Iringa, already covers twice the size of New York; “An expanded forestry industry could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in this East African country,” said CPS Director Dietzold.
Playful and elegant style that fits any culture Playful architectural style, reminiscent of a beehive with honeycombs, combines modern urban trends with local culture.
“Panoramic windows, enclosed green loggias and a modular design will enhance the green nature of the tower and allow for flexible apartment floor plans tailored to any cultural preferences,” explained Principal Architect Moons.
Residents can have their outdoor garden even on the top floor.
Representing a young, vibrant and, above all, sustainable lifestyle, the building allocates a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and luxury penthouses.
The elegant tower stands on a terraced podium with shared and private gardens, shops and a communal swimming pool.
Unit sizes range from studios starting at $79,900 to a spacious penthouse with a private pool on the 26th floor at $950,880.
“As a global architectural landmark, the Burj Zanzibar will set a new benchmark for construction in the 21st century,” concluded CPS Director Sebastian Dietzold.