Which city will win race for the tallest building in Africa?

Africa has long lagged behind the rest of the world in the tallest building department. For the past four decades, the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg has been the continent’s tallest building. While many consider it a particularly lack-lustre piece of architecture, it is also four times shorter than the world’s tallest building. Africa does not have a building which features in the top 300 tallest buildings in the world. However, this will soon change.

Simon Allison of the Daily Maverick reports: “Just this week, Ethiopia announced its entry in the race to the top. “Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, may boast Africa’s tallest building by 2017,” announced the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency, somewhat breathlessly. Although no plans or sketches have been released yet, plans for the 99-storey building – to be built by a Chinese corporation – have apparently already been approved, and the necessary land acquired.

Ghana too is getting involved. Hope City, launched by President John Mahama in March, is supposed to be a $10-billion tech hub just outside Accra, the centrepiece of which will be a 75-storey, 270-metre-high tower surrounded by five other not-quite-as-tall skyscrapers (the unusual cluster design is supposed to channel the spirit of traditional Ghanaian compound huts).

But South Africa, eager to keep the prestigious title on home soil, has unveiled the most ambitious new project. Tshwane Municipality is putting its political weight (although not funding) behind the construction of the Symbio-City project in Centurion, a business park that would include a monster skyscraper measuring an estimated 447 metres and 110 storeys, making it comfortably the tallest building in Africa, even with the new competitors. On completion – projected for 2022 if all the funding and regulatory hurdles are crossed – it would punch its height on the world stage, becoming the 14th tallest building in the world (taller even than New York’s iconic Empire State Building).”

For the full story visit The Daily Maverick.

Image via Wikimedia Commons user PZFUN.


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