Eco-friendly retrofit plans for derelict Jordan towers

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Jordanian architect Hanna Salameh has proposed a radical solution to the issue of a set of rusting skyscrapers which dominate the skyline of the city pf Amman.

For five years a set of unfinished twin towers have stood with construction halted – allegedly crippled by lawsuits.

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The filthy glass facades of Jordan Towers soar above a street-level footprint ringed by old hoarding, abandoned building material and trash. The empty buildings stand in silent testimony to both the 2008 world financial crash and a more localised crisis in smart urban planning.

Now the architect  has thrown out a nationwide challenge, posting on his website, “Amman, it’s time to talk!”

Salameh, founder of the design firm that bears his name, has collaborated with architects on his staff to propose a radical solution to the derelict structures

Renaming Jordan Towers as Jordan Gate Park, the team envision a facility that returns a sense of place and scale to its neighborhood while serving as a visible beacon to renewable energy and the industry’s best practices in green design. If realised, it would transform them into the most sustainable development in the kingdom.

Salameh suggested replacing facades with solar panels and turning the lift shaft into a wind power generator, while planting several floors with vegetation to create an urban farm.

He said: “We start by removing most of the glass that now wraps the buildings – about 25,000 panels that we’ll re-purpose for other uses on and off site. We’ll sheath the southern facades with photovoltaic panels – we estimate using 1,500 PV panels, the equivalent of placing eight panels on every house in the surrounding neighborhood.

The towers also have 180m tall shafts for elevators and services which Salameh said he wants to put to use.

He explained: “We will open several of these shafts to act as wind towers, siphoning hot air from ground level up through the roof, creating strong air currents in the process, which can be harvested by wind turbines to generate even more electricity.

“But the most important thing we want to do is start urban farming, and turn these towers into vertical farms right in the middle of the city. Each floor is a potential farm with an area of 2,500m2. Farmers can cultivate popular crops such as cucumbers and tomatoes that grow in natural sunlight, and introduce more exotic varieties in special-purpose controlled environments, enclosed in glass and illuminated by low-consumption LED lights.”

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