Bridal Tower for Basra

Bridal Tower for Basra

AMBS architects
Basra, Iraq
Project Year

The Bride vertical city

AMBS architects as Architects

A beacon for Iraq’s future; the Bride weaves together state of the art sustainable measures to form the world’s first sustainable vertical city.

BRIEF INTRODUCTION- the need to go Vertical As it is located in Iraq, the project was highly confidential for security reasons, until recently. The Basra Province in south Iraq has remained very quiet and removed from political and religious tensions. Having the bulk of Iraq’s oil reserves, it is becoming one of the fastest growing business centres in the world (and most precious per square meter). Basra is also the main port of Iraq and home of the Mesopotamian marshes. There is huge environmental and historical value on this land that is believed to be the exact location of the Garden of Eden.

The new downtown master plan was commissioned by The Basra Governorate with an aim of maximizing the cities capacity by 2025. Avoiding urban sprawl is top priority to protect the precious environment and therefore the need to go vertical. The new downtown area would feature a one of a kind landmark to match its importance. The Bride.

THE BRIDE – Relegating Super tall towers as a thing of the past The city of Basra and its surrounding lands have been historically fertile and capable of producing abundant vegetation and agricultural crops. This reputation earned it the name ‘the bride of the gulf’ by local people. This common metaphorical expression envisages the land and its biosphere as the giver and sustainer of life. The Bride project refers to this saying and aims to convey the idea at many levels.

The two key objectives addressed first and foremost for this project were safety and efficiency, already rendering a generic “super tall tower” unsuitable. The brief also demanded a variety of sustainable measures to create a net zero-energy development, independent to the city’s electrical grid. This project forced the design team to go back to the very fundamentals of architecture and engineering. The brief developed into four conjoined towers creating a more logical and stable structure with multiple access and escape routes via horizontal and vertical circulation. Tower 1, located on the south side, is the tallest. It is shaded byaglazed canopy known as ‘the veil’. The towers are connected at many levels creating ‘sky gardens’ and ‘sky squares’. The 4 towers consist of the following indicative and respective building heights (see end of email for more detail):

Tower 1 – 241 floors / 964m high – 650,206m2 Tower 2 – 181 floors / 724m high – 475,220m2 Tower 3 – 121 floors / 484m high – 300,224m2 Tower 4 – 61 floors / 244m high – 125,248m2

KEY OBJECTIVES – Be leading the world in...

Engineering The Bride will be the first vertical city in the world. It will also be the tallest structure there is and will break new ground in all disciplines of engineering, from structures to vertical transportation and services.

Safety The four connected towers offer several alternative access and escape routes via horizontal and vertical circulation. The “conjoined” towers connect at horizontally strategic points, form a more logical and stable structure, creating highly efficient floorplates.

Efficiency Supertall towers are inefficient...To achieve their height and stability they need to be very deep at the base with a very thin top which isn’t functional.

The Bride keeps a constant typical section from top to bottom, maximum space efficiency, and repetition to reduce the cost. Furthermore, The Bride is designed to be a ‘round the clock’ City, with offices, hotels, whole neighbourhoods, commercial centres, sky-squares, parks, gardens and its own rail network. It is expected that revenues will far exceed the costs.

Community 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. The bride, on the other hand, will be conceived as a city itself both vertically but also horizontally from the ground. It will be enjoyed by thousands of people in endless ways, within it, on it or under it. From walking in the vast shaded parks and promenades at ground level, to having lunch or shopping in a sky-square hundreds of metres above sea level.

Vertical transportation The towers are divided into vertical sections. They all share a similar upper, middle and lower section (see areas at end of email; note: tower four only has bottom and top section), with each mid-section having 30 floors with a Sky avenue in the centre. This avenue is three stories high with mezzanines that contain all amenities, services and the train station for the local community. This is where the trains’ very fast double decker lifts arrive, from there, local shuttle lifts service all 12 floor zones above and below.

Sustainability Net-Zero is a building which produces as much energy as it consumes. This principle is seen as a means to reduce carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Natural daylight must be optimised whilst minimising solar heat gain. The most logical intervention is to simply create shade.

The design responds to the external environment so that the HVAC will not have to waste electricity compensating it. Towers are strategically positioned to shade others; the south façade of Tower 1 will be almost completely cloaked by a canopy that extends over 600,000 sqm, covering low-rise buildings, public areas and the first floors of the high-rise. Apart from shading and cooling for the south façade of Tower 1, the “veil” will integrate hybrid solar cooling PVT panels (a photovoltaic-thermal combined system). The water heated within these panels will be used to increase the photovoltaics performance, to then be fed to absorption chillers. The heat provided to the generator drives a cooling cycle that produces chilled water for cooling.

The bride is simply a vertical city with its own transport system, schools, clinics and neighbourhoods both to live and work. The most environmentally advanced development in the world with net-zero energy consumption. A product of the collaboration between AMBS Architects and global management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald.


Typical floor:

4m floor to floor Floorplate 116m long x 38m wide 637 sqm core space per floor 2,380 sqm office/hotel usable space per floor Total =3,017 sqm per floor

The four towers are divided in 3 sections:

- Bottom section:

11 storeys high that includes: 7 story height lobby 1 double story height conference floor 1 typical 1 double height – plant room 9,520 sqm usable space 2,548sqm core Total =12,068 sqm

- Midsections:

30 stories height that includes: 28 floors typical 1 double height – plant room 69,020 sqm usable 18,473 sqm of core Total =87,493 sqm

-Top section:

50 stories height that includes: 5 stories with 3-4-5-6-7 story high entertaining spaces, @ 2,000 sqm usable and 287sqm core 20 typical 15 cut backs @ 2,000sqm usable and 287sqm core 10 “crown” @700 sqm usable and 100 sqm core 94,000 sqm usable 19,180sqm of core Total =113,180 sqm


241 storey, 964m high+188m antenna = 1,152m

= 1x lower section, 6x mid-sections, 1x top section

Total = 650,206 sqm


181 storey, 724m high

= 1x lower section 4x mid-sections, 1x top section

Total = 475,220 sqm


121 storey, 484m high

= 1x lower section, 2x mid-sections, 1x top section

Total = 300,234 sqm


61 storey, 244m high

= 1x lower section, 0x mid-sections, 1x top section

Total = 125,248 sqm


Total = 1,550,908 sqm

CANOPY 590,000 sqm ‘horizontal’ at ground 79,000 sqm ‘vertical’ on tower’s south façade TOTAL = 669,000 sqm

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Burlingame Eichler Remodel
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