An ambitious eco-friendly project containing 1,000 apartments is to be built in the Heliopolis district of Cairo. Jim Drury has more.
The Gate Residence is a multi-billion dollar eco complex. Featuring 1,000 apartments powered by solar panels and wind turbines, construction could be complete by 2019. Its location.....Cairo. The Egyptian capital has been in crisis since the country's popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak four years ago. But Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut insists it's the perfect spot for the complex. Callebaut says his designs incorporate a host of innovative features. SOUNDBITE (French) ARCHITECT VINCENT CALLEBAUT SAYING: "To bring down the energy consumption of the building, we work with bio-climatisation. The building is sculpted according to the direction of the prevailing winds, according to the path of the sun, and then we bring that architecture to life using new technologies. These include wind turbines, geo-thermic systems, a huge photovoltaic roof, vertical gardens. All will bring down the energy footprint of the project." Waste water is recycled through the building, while a series of "megatrees" arranged in the shape of chimneys and lined with plants will encourage a wind-tunnel effect, cooling buildings without the need for electricity. Solar tubes on the roof heat water, another key component. SOUNDBITE (French) ARCHITECT VINCENT CALLEBAUT SAYING: "On the roof in the project you have 'volcanos' on the roof containing solar tubes -- tubes through which we pass cold water which is then heated naturally by the sun's rays. It's then pumped straight into bathrooms and kitchens so they can have clean hot water without requiring electricity." Nine levels of housing will be joined by four levels of underground car packs, and one consisting of shops. Callebaut hopes the complex will generate energy savings of 50 per cent, and decrease the local carbon footprint. At least 10 percent of apartments have been sold and construction is due to begin this Spring.