Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Medina Tower

Mediterranean Investments holding (MIH), in which Malta's Corinthia Group has a 50% stake, has signed an agreement with the Economic Development Real Estate Company of Libya for the development of a 40-storey tower on the Tripoli seafront in Libya. Medina Tower, will be constructed on 12,500 square metres of land adjacent to other high-rise developments. The project will comprise 180,000 square metres of floor space spread over 40 floors above ground level and four levels of underground parking. Medina Tower will feature 336 apartments for sale, 26,000 square metres of office space for rent, 22,000 square metres of commercial, conference and food and beverage facilities, and 24,000 square metres of underground parking that will cater for up to 850 car parking spaces. At 40 storeys, the €300m (£269m) scheme will be taller than the 28-storey Al Fateh Tower, which is the tallest building in the city at present. Medina Tower is designed and planned by Sidell Gibson Architects (London) and Paul Camilleri & Associates (Malta) who have formed SidellGibsonCamilleri for this project.

The uses envisaged for this building, when operational, are various ranging from retail, financial services, professional services, restaurants and the hospitality industry. Such uses will provide employment for approximately 3000 persons. The types of employment will range from cleaners, maintenance personnel, security guards, sales staff, waiters, cooks, professionals (lawyers, architects, etc.), banking staff, financial services personnel, hospitality related staff (chambermaids, etc.) and others.

The type of building and its mixed uses will enhance Tripoli, and especially this important central part of Tripoli, as a commercial and financial services hub, not only in Libya itself but also in the region.

The shape of the building is in the form of the letter “S” on plan, and which also rises spirally from one of this “S” to the other end.

Such a footprint for this site emanated from considerations given to both the existing Al-Fateh Tower as well as, the still to be constructed, Al-Ghetthafi Tower. Both buildings are oriented into the two concave curves of the “S” shape. Furthermore such a shape attempts to enhance, as much as possible, the views of the sea, considering that the rectangular site has short side facing the sea – the curves of the “S” shape give a much longer portion of the building fa├žade which have views towards the sea both directly opposite as well as diagonally over other buildings.

The orientation of the building starts off as being perpendicular to the “Organization of African Unity Road” in the front, but shifts, towards the middle of the site, to be oriented in line with the Mosque at the rear, and Makkah. This latter orientation, which is carried though the shopping mall, gives the required focus to this building, which otherwise could be sited anywhere in the world.

The building shape and orientation is acknowledging the culture, the features and history of Tripoli, despite the fact that very little remains in this area. As a result these acknowledgements have a strong bearing on the design of the building.

The ‘window’ in the rear part of the “S” symbolically opens up the hinterland of Tripoli; portraying the message that the high buildings being constructed on the coast are not barriers between the prime sites and the rest of Tripoli.

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