When bees swarm around a colorful flower, we know there’s something sweet going on inside.
The same will be true when Cairo, Egypt opens “The Gate,” a budding $589 million ecological design development expected to attract hordes of affluent, environmentally-conscious tourists, citizens, and businesses who will explore, relax, and transact at the future venue starting in 2019.
The Gate will be a hyperconnected, mixed-use ecosystem of residential and commercial spaces that are luxurious, vertical, and sustainable, including a five-star hotel. But the project’s most visible ecological symbols are nine mega tree wind-catchers (known as “Malqaf” in Arabic), which will redirect airflow for a refreshing, natural cooling and ventilation system across the complex (including patios, basements, terraces and the main boulevard).
Real estate company Abraj Misr (the project’s financier) and designer Vincent Callebaut Architectures (VCA) will team up to create the elite green complex featuring a unique combination of high-end luxury (convenient limousines, spas, fitness and recreation centers, beauty and pet salons), and advanced eco-friendly technology (most visibly solar cells, living walls, wind turbines and rooftop food gardens).
Usually, the only common thread between luxury living and sustainable living is the color green. But The Gate is slated to become an internationally-renowned exception. The project will offer a 50% energy savings and a much lower carbon footprint than a typical luxury complex.
According to Green Prophet, a Middle Eastern publication that reports on sustainable architecture and news, The Gate is “designed around a central boulevard,” adjacent rectangular buildings with contemporary apartments and façades “inspired by fish gills” which will offer shade from the sun.
About 1000 energy-efficient residences will benefit from green energy sources (wind turbines, thermal solar energy, photovoltaic solar energy, geothermal energy, biomass) which are seamlessly weaved into The Gate’s bioclimatic design which relies on solar cycles, wind directions and endemic plant species).
A community garden will “provide a social and sustainable space for the building’s occupants,” says Green Prophet. The lush rooftop sky garden space (whose amenities include sporting areas, playgrounds, infinity swimming pools, orchards and the food garden) will act as insulation to “reduce urban warming” for all the residences below.
This solar photovoltaic roof will be covered in “walkable solar panels” which will generate a significant amount of electricity for the building. Green living walls will serve an aesthetic and functional purpose—reducing the overall temperature at The Gate. Green Prophet also says the living walls may allow for water reuse via purification of polluted water and absorbed nutrients. In addition, solar water heating systems will deliver hot water to all bathrooms and kitchens at the complex. Meanwhile, smart home technology will create even greater efficiency via sensors that control zones, rooms, temperatures, and ventilation. We also assume The Gate’s plastic and cardboard recycling program will be top-notch.
There’s one more unintended ecological effect: The Gate will still be in the metaphorical shadow of the Great Pyramids at Giza (like everything else in Egypt), where most of the nation’s energy is directed. But we’re sure future tourists who stay at The Gate’s five-star hotel will be okay with that.