For 3,800 years the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza was the largest man-made structure in the world, built as a monument to just one man.
Modern Egyptian builders are now hoping to set another construction record as they clear a massive plot of land to house up to 30,000 people on the outskirts of Cairo.
The Skyline building, under construction in the southeastern suburbs of Kattameya, has been officially recognised as a contender for the title of the world’s largest residential building.
Antidote to Overcrowding?
Scheduled for completion in 2025, it will contain 13,500 apartments under one giant roof, with a 40-acre garden, the world’s largest infinity swimming pool and a network of cycle paths. Conceived as an antidote to overcrowding for upper-middle-class residents in the Egyptian capital, it will boast shops, restaurants, Imax cinemas, an ice-skating rink, a climbing wall and other attractions built around a central courtyard.
Greater Cairo is the largest city in the Middle East and is estimated to be the fastest-growing urban area in the world, with a population approaching 21 million and rising by more than 500,000 a year.
Amenities will include a 40-acre garden, the world’s largest infinity pool, cycle paths, shops, restaurants, cinemas, an ice-skating rink, and a climbing wall.
Separately, since 2015, the Egyptian government has been building a new administrative capital 28 miles east of the city center. Skyline’s developers have spurned the new capital, saying that most Egyptians will still aspire to live near the banks of the Nile, but must learn to accept smaller living spaces than they have been used to.
One possible fly in the ointment is Cairo’s notorious traffic congestion, which will make it difficult for residents in the new flats to commute to the old city. Among the designers is the Palestinian-born real estate tycoon and architect Mohamed Hadid, father of the models Gigi and Bella Hadid. He is working with the Spanish firm Van der Pas and the Egyptian engineer Raef Fahmy.
Guinness World Records have confirmed the £420 million project as an official attempt but note that there is no record as yet for the largest residential building, as opposed to the tallest, the 426m-high 432 Park Avenue building in New York.
“It’s Not Only About Setting a Record”
The Skyline building will only be 11 storeys high, but each of its four sides will measure 450 metres. Its base will be 202,500 square metres, creating a floor area bigger than the Pentagon, or four times the base of the Great Pyramid.
Hassan Morshedy, chief executive of the Morshedy Group which is behind the project, told The Times that Skyline was intended to be “iconic, beautiful, but also affordable”, with prices ranging from about £35,000 for a studio apartment to £90,000 for a three-bed flat.
“Skyline is solving a housing problem, it’s not only about setting a record,” he said. “It will have 13,500 apartments yet everyone will have privacy, and all the facilities and amenities they can dream of.”
More than 3,000 buyers have already put down deposits for an apartment in the building, with the first expecting to move in by the summer of 2022.