Basra is the business hub of Iraq. A city that is growing at an impressive rate, with businesses expanding and commerce shining, despite the turmoil in the country. Basra is also home to the main port of Iraq, making it an important trade hub in the Gulf. It is but obvious that a city like this is rapidly expanding. But Basra is located in a province rich with oil reserves. Let’s not forget, Iraq has the world’s fourth largest oil reserves. The region is also fertile – agriculture is also an important activity for the province, sourcing a lot of food supply of the country. Yet, being the second most populated city of Iraq, Basra needs homes, offices and other city infrastructure to meet its rapidly increasing requirements. The problem is that such an expansion would mean a loss of fertile agricultural land and construction over precious oil reserves. The solution? Look upwards!
The Iraqi architectural firm AMBS that has worked on projects in both Iraq and the United Kingdom was recently commissioned with a highly confidential project. Basra governorate wanted a new downtown master plan, with an aim of maximizing the city’s capacity by 2025, without having to see an urban sprawl. And so the idea began – a city that rises upwards. The project proposed by AMBS – the Barsa Bride – is something that reminds one of all the futuristic dreams of the 20th century pop culture. The CGI models look like something right out of SimCity, yes – it is that amazing. The project isn’t just about a supertall skyscraper – which, let’s be honest, is now becoming a common sight in the middle east. It’s a vertical city, distributed between four interconnected megatowers. They’ll all be linked with a canopy that provides a huge amount of area for all those in it. The towers will be designed in such a way, that they will be able to shade each other from excessive heat and there will be gardens and parks within these structures, especially on sky-bridges connecting them with one another. And that, in a city where summer temperatures regularly exceed 50⁰C, is a major respite. But that is not all! Apart from shading and cooling which is provided by the horizontal canopy on the entire lower region, the south façade of tower 1 – which will be the tallest – the ‘veil’ will integrate hybrid solar cooling PVT panels (a photovoltaic-thermal combined system). This means that the buildings aim to meet their own electricity and cooling needs, that too from renewable sources.
The Bride Tower, the one with the supercool ‘veil’, will be the tallest building in the world – surpassing not just the Burj Khalifa, but also the kilometer-high Jeddah tower that’s expected to be ready by 2020. At 964 meters, not counting the antenna, the building will have 241 floors. The project itself will have commercial areas, residential areas, and even community services like schools and hospitals within the structure itself. It will have its own mostly-vertical transport system. Basically, whole neighborhoods – complete with parks and malls – will exist in this vertical city of tomorrow. While there has been no date set yet, AMBS seems to be taking this project seriously, and hopefully, the future we’ve all longed for while watching the Jetsons, is not too far away!
Country of Origin: Iraq