vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
paris-based practice vincent callebaut architectures has revealed plans for a multi-use complex to be built in the egyptian capital city of cairo. envisioned as a symbol of the country’s desire for a progressive type of architecture, ‘the gate residence’ combines vegetation and structure, metamorphosing the city into a vertical, green, dense and hyper-connected ecosystem. the main objective behind the urban proposal is to raise awareness of sustainable architecture designed to combat global warming and maintain an eco-friendly global environment.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
all images © vincent callebaut architectures

 

 

 

unifying the complex, the entire scheme is enclosed beneath by a solar roof that covers the green rooftop terraces and sky villas. in addition to supporting solar panels and heating tubes, the canopy also provides shade where necessary, thus decreasing the reliance on mechanical ventilation systems. in total, 1,000 apartment units are contained within a series of rectangular volumes that are subsequently organized around a central boulevard. the program provides four storeys of underground parking, with a supermarket positioned directly above. three levels of commercial outlets starting at ground level are connected with the adjacent street, while nine storeys of housing are integrating with three further levels of offices.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
the main objective behind the urban proposal is to raise awareness of sustainable architecture

 

 

 

the three commercial levels above grade present two facade typologies. a transparent curtain wall set all along the promenade is punctuated by green walls that indicate the main entrances towards the shopping mall, and the lobbies of each apartment block. inside the patios, the façades are developed with a voronoi structure presenting organic shapes that reference the form of a coral reef with a progressive density from bottom to top. each of these elevations are linked by footbridges that traverse the green terraces inside each courtyards. the roof of the whole complex is transformed into a big community garden that becomes the fifth façade of the project – a common area of orchards, infinity swimming pools and sports facilities.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
unifying the complex, the entire scheme is enclosed beneath by a solar roof

 

 

 

the scheme boasts eight green architectural features that are integrated within the project:

 

1. windcatchers
nine windcatchers, which reference traditional egyptian architecture, stand as huge trees in middle of each green patio. each of these structures can function in three different ways: directing airflow downward using direct wind entry, directing airflow upwards using a wind-assisted temperature gradient, or directing airflow upwards using a solar-assisted temperature gradient.

 

2. passive geothermal cooling and heating
passive cooling is a building design approach that focuses on heat gain control and heat dissipation in a building, in order to improve the indoor thermal comfort with low or nil energy consumption. integrated air shafts naturally venitalte each apartment, while geothermal heat pumps move heat energy back and forth between the building and the earth to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly method for heating and cooling internal space.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
in addition to supporting solar panels and heating tubes, the canopy also provides shade where necessary

 

 

 

3. solar photovoltaics cells
most conventional solar cells use visible and infrared light to generate electricity. in contrast, the innovative new solar cells developed as part of the project also use ultraviolet radiation. used to replace conventional window glass, or placed over the glazing, the installation surface area could be large, leading to potential uses that take advantage of the combined functions of power generation, lighting and temperature control. in the project, the solar roof will be covered by walkable solar panels that create shadows above the patios and the promenade, generating a big part of the electricity necessary for the building.

 

4. solar water heating tubes
solar water heating systems have been incorporated within the design to deliver hot water to all the bathrooms and kitchens of the building throughout the year. glass-metal tubes collecting the warmth of the sun will be integrated in the elliptical shapes covering the mechanical rooms in each core on the roof.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
the roof  is transformed into a big community garden that becomes the fifth façade of the project

 

 

 

5.vertical axis wind turbines
located along the inner street, helical wind turbines benefit from the site’s prevailing winds and generate a great deal of electricity. the new self-sufficient prototype entitled ‘the phylolight’, is a hybridization between an urban light and a vertical wind turbine.

 

6. rooftop community gardens
community gardens are proposed to transform the roof into a place of innovation for all the residents of the project. the ‘big garden in the sky’ will integrate playgrounds for the children, sports areas, food gardens and orchards. a green roof will compensate the high density of the construction serving as a perfect insulation coat above the residential levels.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
elevations are linked by footbridges that traverse the green terraces

 

 

 

7. green/living walls
reducing overall temperatures within the building, 9 megatrees will be covered by living green walls. along the inner street, curtain walls will be punctuated with areas of plantation, designed to identify the main entrances of each individual housing block.

 

8. smart homes with automation.
multi-sensors are used to detect number of people in each room, motion, temperature, and light level, while natural HVAC automation enables inhabitants to chose their optimal climate.

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
aerial view of the site

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
the scheme boasts a number of green architectural features integrated within the project

vincent callebaut architectures the gate residence cairo egypt designboom
CAD model indicating the project’s sculptural forms

 

 

 

project info:

 

type: architectural commission

international design architect: vincent callebaut architectures, paris

client: abraj misr, urban development, cairo, egypt
location: heliopolis district, cairo, egypt

program: 1,000 apartments, offices and shopping mall 

surface area: 450,000 sqm
budget: EGP 4,5 bn.
start of the construction: march 2015
delivery: 2019

current phase: schematic design / building permit 

green certification: LEED gold plus

local architect: K&A design, injaz development 

VCA’s team: agnès martin, jiaoyang huang, fabrice zaini, maguy delrieu, vincent callebaut