A French architecture firm designs a sustainable vertical city to be built in the Sahara desert. Amy Pollock reports.
It's hard to imagine a harsher environment than the Sahara Desert. But French archictect firm OXO thinks it's just the place for a futuristic tower. Manal Rachdi is behind the amibitous concept. (SOUNDBITE) (French) OXO ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER OF VERTICAL SAND TOWER, MANAL RACHDI, SAYING: "We tried to think of a concept which enables us to create not a building but a vertical city in the desert. It's a place which is hostile and where it's difficult to live so we created this tower including a kind of protective shell." The so-called Sand City Tower includes offices and housing, museums, libraries, gyms, pools, and a meteorological observatory overlooking the desert. Shades and natural ventilation will help to keep temperatures down. And the designers plan a central inner tower planted to make a vertical garden. (SOUNDBITE) (French) OXO ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER OF VERTICAL SAND TOWER, MANAL RACHDI, SAYING: "The consequence is that we recreate a liveable and green ecosystem inside the tower, which otherwise could not exist in the middle of the Sahara." The architects tout the tower's eco credentials. Solar energy is key and they plan to collect rainwater for irrigation and to generate geothermal energy. The unlikely desert dwelling is some way off - OXO sees work starting in ten years, with construction phased over 50 years.