It may look like Immortan Joe’s Citadel from Mad Max: Fury Road, but this abstract desert obelisk isn’t a citadel of the post-apocalypse. It’s a self-contained city—also called an arcology—that French firms Nicholas Laisné Associés and OXO Architects propose to build in the Saharan desert.
Although it’s just a concept right now, La Ville Tour Des Sables(translated: “The Sand Tower Town”) would stand over 1,400 feet, if completed. Designed to resemble an outcropping of stone—or, at least, Bjarke Ingels’ idea of what an outcropping of stone might look like—the archeology would contain everything needed for a self-sustaining city, including living quarters, agricultural units, factories, and more.
According to OXO’s official description of the project, the Sand Tower Town would have a total floor space of around 192 acres. Food would be grown in a vertical garden ascending the structure. Roughly 20% of the building would be taken up by office space, while another 30% would be taken up by hotel and living quarters. Inside, the building would be designed to resemble futuristic, 21st Century souks.
Another big aspect of the design involves making maximum use of the desert’s resources. The archeology is designed to collect rainwater, and although the architects propose to build it in the Sahara, they still think it should be able to collect 45,000 cubic meters annually. This water would be stored four kilometers underground, where it would be turned into steam, which would power the building along with solar panels.
There’s currently no plans to actually begin construction of the Sand Tower Town, but the architects suggest that if construction began in 2025.