Zanzibar has created a reputation for itself as one of Africa's most sought-after vacation spots and bucket list entries. As a result, the Tanzanian archipelago has set sights on building the largest tower on the continent made of timber, dubbed the 'Vertical Green Village.' Located in Fumba Town, the tower will house 266 apartments comprising studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and deluxe penthouses. The new development will have units ranging from studios starting at $79,900 to a vast penthouse with a private pool on the 26th floor at $950,880.
The Burj Zanzibar, unveiled to the masses on 1 October, will be an apartment and commercial building. Its development is led by the German engineering firm CPS.
"Burj Zanzibar will be the highlight and natural continuation of our efforts to provide sustainable housing in Africa, thereby empowering local employment and businesses," said CPS CEO Sebastian Dietzold.
"Burj Zanzibar is not just an outstanding building but a new ecosystem for the future of living," said Dutch-born architect Leander Moons who spearheaded the concept of a team of experts from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States. The hybrid wood tower will be fitted with a green roof garden and planted balconies to reduce its carbon footprint.
This is a massive project for Zanzibar as a strategic investment. They have the state of Milwaukee in Northern America to look to as they erected their 86.6-meter timber tower called the Ascent Tower. The Ascent is currently hailed as the world's tallest timber hybrid building by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). However, Zanzibar's tower will overtake it upon completion.
Why use timber? It is the oldest building material globally, and its environmental benefits and durability make it a favourable material for those looking to build more eco-friendly structures. Timber's resurgence in popularity is due to new technology and products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber. Future Africa states, "One cubic metre of wood binds 0.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while traditional concrete structures account for 25% of CO2 emissions."
"Apart from the materiality, we also included multiple design elements to further address sustainability. This includes passive design, for example, [from the] permanent sun shading provided by the facade to limit heat-gain on the inside, to the integration of roof gardens and planters," Moons told Forbes Africa.
The tower will not only be structurally safe and secure, but it also promises gorgeous ocean views. Modeled after a beehive with honeycombs, Burj Zanzibar will be an attractive blend of modern urban trends and local culture. It will stand out amongst the existing architecture for its cutting-edge and innovative technology. Lead architect Moons described the tower as having panoramic windows and closed-in loggias. "A modular layout will enhance the green nature of the tower and allow for flexible apartment floor plans, tailor-made for any cultural preferences,"
"As a global architectural highlight the Burj Zanzibar will be setting a new benchmark of building in the 21st century", director Dietzold added.
The 28-storey construction is projected to be completed by the end of 2026.