Architect and urban planner Leon Krier once drew a flaccid Gherkin, London famous tower by Foster + Partners, to parody the phallic shape of contemporary skyscrapers he called “architectural priapism”. Actually, many super towers are have masculine names, starting from Burj Khalifa -Caliph’s Tower- in Dubai. But the highest architecture to come is called The Bride, wears a veil and won’t need to compete in size.
Designed AMBS Architects, The Bride is not a skyscraper, but a vertical city with its own transport system, schools, clinics and neighbourhoods both to live and work. The 1.152 m high architecture will rise in Basra City in Southern Iraq, and, so far, also above all other skyscrapers on earth.
The project. features four conjoined towers that are connected at many levels creating ‘sky gardens’ and ‘sky squares’. A large canopy known as the veil shelters and protects an area of over 600.000 sqm below.
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ArchiPanic: Why vertical?
Marcos De Andres, founding director of AMBS Architects: “Avoiding urban sprawl was top priority in order to protect the precious environment. Therefore the need to go vertical”.
Which is the difference between The Bride and a skyscraper?
“The two key objectives for this project were safety and efficiency. Super tall towers are not safe because in case of emergency there in only one way down to escape. The Bride’s four connected towers offer several alternative access and escape routes via horizontal and vertical circulation.
Super tall towers are inefficient either. To achieve their height and stability they need to be very deep at the base with a very thin top which isn’t functional”.
How democratic will this vertical city be?
“In contrast to a conventional tower, The Bride will be a place that may be enjoyed by all, not only for the ones that live and work there, but also the rest of the public. Super tall towers are perceived as an object in the distance. An alien planted in the city, disconnected from the urban scale at ground level”.
What about sustainability?
The Bride will produce as much energy as it will consumes. We optimised daylight and minimised solar heat gain by creating shade. The towers are strategically positioned to shade others, the canopy cools and shade the large area below.