Boeri's vertical forest in the desert of Cairo

The architect behind the first 'green' project in North Africa

01 August, 17:24

    (by Gaetana D'Amico)

    CAIRO - A 'green lung' in the desert of Cairo will be built in the new Egyptian administrative capital, 45 km from the city center, thanks to an agreement signed by Egyptian real estate company Mirs Italia Properties and Italian architect Stefano Boeri. Boeri is the architect who created the vertical forest, an innovative, award-winning project of Porta Nuova in Milan.

    The new urban settlement in Cairo (with an investment of Misr Italia of 16 billion of Egyptian pounds, or some 900 million euros) is based on the principles of energetic and environmental sustainability. It provides, in the northern part, for the construction of three towers of seven floors for an altitude of 30 meters, in which nature and architecture become one. The three vertical forests in New Cairo (worth some 164 million euros), the first green project in the region of the Middle East and North Africa, have been designed by Boeri with Egyptian designer Shimaa Shalash in cooperation with landscape agronomist Laura Gatti for Misr Italia Properties. One of the towers will be a hotel while the other two will be apartment buildings planned to respond to the different needs of residents in the new capital. Boeri's vertical forest, which should be completed by 2023, was present by the architect at a press conference in Cairo, together with the CEO of Misr Italia, Mohamed El-Assal. Among the participants was also Italian architect, Francesca Cesabianchi - partner in the Stefano Boeri architetti studio and project director.''The idea to create a vertical forest in Cairo, which has a high level of pollution, certainly represents a challenge'', the architect told ANSA. ''But there are many other projects to carry out. For example - Boeri explained - making the city's roofs all green. Or creating an orbital forest around Cairo with green corridors entering the city. And also, replacing run-down buildings with green structures''.

    According to the architect, ''there are many ways to make the city green, this vertical forest is a less expensive and faster way of dealing with climate change. The objective of the vertical forest is to limit pollution. These are small efforts but they are very important. And making people plant trees is the best way to involve them''.

    After launching the vertical forest in Lausanne, Paris, Utrecht, Tirana, Shanghai and Eindhoven (where for the first time the building was used as social housing), the project that is most dear to Boeri is in quake-hit Amatrice, where he designed a food area that ''gave me immense joy''. ''Behind each project there is major technical research'' said Laura Gatti, the landscape agronomist. ''Each situation is different and what we try to do is work with locals to select typical vegetal species of the area that most adapt to a forest and aren't just ornamental'', she explained.

    ''When I saw for the first time the vertical forest of Milan I liked it a lot and immediately wanted to meet Stefano to discuss it. We immediately understood one another'', said the CEO of Misr Italia, El-Assal. ''Here in Cairo we are the first to start and environmentally sustainable project and we hope to be able to continue, possibly involving the government'', he added. (ANSAmed).

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