Masterplan for Basra, Iraq, includes 3,000ft vertical city in the clouds

by Kim Megson | 18 Nov 2015

Basra, site of some of the most fierce fighting during the Iraq war, has revealed a redevelopment masterplan which will include the construction of a vast vertical city called The Bride.

The scheme is described by its designers – AMBS Architects – as “the tallest structure and first vertical city in the world and a groundbreaking project in all disciplines of engineering.”

The development will featuring entire neighbourhoods, commercial centres, leisure facilities, public parks and even its own vertical rail network. It’s the biggest component of a downtown masterplan commissioned by the Basra Government to hugely increase the city’s capacity by 2025.

As Basra is surrounded by natural oil reserves, planners have made the avoidance of urban sprawl a top priority, saying the need is to develop upwards rather than outwards.

To meet this criterion, AMBS have proposed a 1.5 million sq m (16m sq ft) development of four conjoined towers, the largest of which will be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at a record-breaking 964m (3,000ft).

The towers will be built using repetitions in the structure to control costs, and AMBS said no usable space will be wasted. Each tower will be connected at many levels to create sky gardens and plazas. For security reasons, multiple access and escape routes have been designed both horizontally and vertically.

In an exclusive interview with CLAD, AMBS director Marcos De Andres explained that despite its unorthodox layout, the city has been designed as a huge public space to improve the lives of residents and visitors, saying: “The Bride will be a place enjoyed by all in endless ways, from walking in the vast shaded parks and promenades at ground level, to having lunch or shopping in a sky lounge hundreds of metres above sea level.”

“Basra was once the most beautiful city on the Arabian gulf,” he continued, “Famous for its cosmopolitan flair, cuisine, arts, dance and music. This project will bring back that rich and varied culture. It will send a message to the international community that Iraq is back in business.”

Basra is believed by some religious scholars to be the location for the Garden of Eden, and the local government wanted the project to represent the giving and sustaining of life. This has influenced the architectural approach of the designers.

AMBS said: “We’ve taken on the challenge of building a city that produces as much energy as it consumes, making it independent to Basra’s electrical grid.

"To reduce carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, natural daylight must be optimised while minimising solar heat gain. The most logical intervention is to simply create shade.”

To achieve this, the designers have worked with engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald to create The Veil – a 600,000sq m (6.5m sq ft) canopy extending off the tallest tower and covering the low-rise buildings and public areas below in shade. Photovoltaic solar panels will generate power and also feed absorption chillers driving the city’s cooling cycle.

Basra is one of the hottest cities on earth, with temperatures regularly reaching 50ºC.

Planners are currently deciding how much of the development will be dedicated to leisure, residential and office space. A project budget has not been disclosed, but De Andres said "revenues generated by the city are likely to far exceed the costs”.

Basra contains the bulk of Iraq’s oil reserves and is Iraq’s main port, making it one of the fastest-growing business centres in the world and an in-demand location for property developers and investors.

Despite this, De Andres insisted to CLAD that The Bride will remain first and foremost a project for the people, saying: “This is an important social development, unlike any other project in the world. Despite being the world’s tallest structure, the design is not a gimmick or an architectural statement, like some super-tall towers. This is for the people of Basra.”

It seems that architects and masterplanners are increasingly opting for high rise, dense development. Architects OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren recently won the Building of the Year award at the World Architecture Festival for ‘Interlace’, a vertical village in Singapore.

Basra, site of some of the most fierce fighting during the Iraq war, has revealed a redevelopment masterplan which will include the construction of a vast vertical city called The Bride. The scheme is described by its designers – AMBS Architects – as “the tallest structure and first vertical city in the world and a groundbreaking project in all disciplines of engineering.” The development will featuring entire neighbourhoods, commercial centres,
CLD,AAC,PRO,ARC,DES,DEV,INV,ECO,TEC
A lead architect on the project said: 'The Bride will be a place enjoyed by all. It will be used by thousands of people in endless different way – in it, on it or under it' / AMBS Architects
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7320     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7320     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering, and pool and spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The orchard view platform has a glass floor and railings at 40ft-high
Alan Metcalfe
"When people are a bit scared, they gather together"

Featuring a vibrating glass platform and one of the US’s longest tree canopy walks, Whiting Forest has been designed to bring visitors closer to nature and to one another

The reception features a Karel Teige collage artwork
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

The Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant features 12m-high floor-to-ceiling windows
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
The Electric Lemon restaurant features glamorous interiors by Rockwell Group
"Further hotels have been confirmed for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, Chicago and Houston"

Rockwell Group and Joyce Wang on the inspirations behind the guest rooms, public spaces, spa and gym at Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards

The views of the mountains take centre stage
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

features
Scott Lee became president of SB Architects in 2000. Tracy Lee founded TLee Spas in 2015
"We design to connect the guest to the place, positioning people at the centre of the design"

Architect Scott Lee and spa consultant Tracey Lee on marrying the worlds of design and wellness in a series of interesting projects

The waste-to-energy plant has a ski slope, hiking trails, an 85m climbing wall, restaurant and apres ski bar
"It was born from the sheer anxiety of having to submit something brilliant in a very short timescale"

How a moment of desperation led to BIG’s CopenHill, the clean power plant that’s doubling as a skiing and leisure destination. Magali Robathan speaks to the architects that made it happen

The museum’s glass veil encloses an atrium and ground floor lobby
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

cladkit product news
Tom Dixon Rock collection inspired by Dixon's travels to India
The Rock collection is made with green marble and was inspired by Tom Dixon's travels to India
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer studio, Tom Dixon Studio has launched a new collection of marble sculptures inspired by his frequent trips to ...
Pelle DVN Table inspired by traditional Japanese carpentry
The DVN Table was created using Japanese joinery techniques
Lauren Heath-Jones
Jean and Oliver Pelle, the husband and wife team behind New York-based design studio Pelle, have created the DVN Table, ...
John Pomp Studios expands Tidal collection
The Eclipse Pendant light was inspired by the lunar eclipse
Lauren Heath-Jones
John Pomp Studios, a design practice based in Philadelphia in the US, has expanded its Tidal collection to include five ...
cladkit product news
Canteen collection combines nostalgia with modern aesthetics
The Canteen collection was inspired by post-war British design techniques
Lauren Heath-Jones
Very Good & Proper (VG&P), a British furniture brand, has curated a new dining collection that combines traditional woodworking techniques ...
ZHD'S MEW Coffee Table explores relationship between surface and structure
The MEW Coffee Table is described as an investigation into the relationship between surface and structure
Lauren Heath-Jones
Zaha Hadid Design has partnered with Italian furniture design firm Sawaya & Moroni to create the Mew Coffee Table. The ...
Arlon Graphics debuts architectural collection
Arlon's architectural range is aimed at interior designers looking for innovative and affordable renovation solutions
Lauren Heath-Jones
Arlon Graphics, a plastic and vinyl manufacturer based in The Netherlands, has launched a range of architectural graphic vinyl films ...
cladkit product news
Tino Seubert x Theodora Alfredsdottir lighting collection inspired by mid-century furniture making traditions
The Corrugation Lights were inspired by midcentury and post-war furniture making techniques
London-based designers Tino Seubert and Theodora Alfredsdottir have teamed up to create Corrugation Lights, a lighting collection inspired by midcentury ...
Naval architect launches solar-powered floating pods
The Anthénea pod is a luxury floating suite that could be used as a spa or treatment suite
Lauren Heath-Jones
Naval architect Jean-Michel Ducancelle has designed a solar-powered floating hotel suite aimed at offering an eco-friendly and nomadic place for ...
Space Popular creates video installation for the Gwangmyeongmun Gate in South Korea
Gate of Bright Lights was designed to show visitors how screens and digital interfaces have replaced physical objects the gateway between us and the rest of the world.
Lauren Heath-Jones
Multidisciplinary design firm Space Popular has created a video installation for the Gwangmyeongmun Gate at the Deoksugung Palace in Seoul, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates