The architect Ali Basbous, founder of the architectural studio Built by Associative Data, with offices in Beirut, Barcelona and Ireland, recently presented a tower project for construction in the city of Dakar, capital of Senegal. The project, which is part of the biomimetic architecture trend, is unique, not only on the African architectural scene, but also internationally and in more than one sense, as it is an exclusive project in terms of its design, construction and operation. It is the Tower of Life.
As for its design, we begin with its dimensions: 290 m high and 50 m in diameter. And while its silhouette is inspired by the baobab tree, which grows in many parts of Africa, the façade’s patterned design responds to the shapes of an animal print. But its appearance is so convincingly biomimetic that it is also reminiscent of the large termite mounds typical of the African continent.
The building will be used for offices and public spaces, including a couple of amphitheaters. It will also have numerous landscaped areas and, on the upper floors, a forest of indigenous African flora. It will also have a heliport and a vertical take-off and landing area for drones. One of its floors will be used as a silo for seed storage. Finally, its first basement is planned to house the Museum of Africa’s Future Economy.
In terms of construction details, the project intends to use 3D printing technology to elevate its façade with locally sourced clays. This will reduce the project’s energy and transport needs, as well as the waste it produces.
Designing for Sustainability
Finally, in terms of operation, the project proposes the use of photovoltaic glass to generate the electricity it consumes. Additionally, a rainwater collection system at the top will channel rainwater to its base, where it will be stored in a large tank for treatment and recirculation. The project also includes a bioreactor that will transform the organic waste produced in the building into energy. The forest and green spaces will serve to regulate temperature and oxygen levels. All the operating parameters, air quality, temperature and occupancy levels will be monitored by a system of sensors distributed throughout the building.