Could the Carlton Centre lose its title of Joburg's tallest tower by 2017?

In the recent blockbuster Marvel’s Avengers Movie: Age of Ultron, the villain voiced by James Spader whispers threateningly ‘I am going to show you something beautiful’. What he revealed was the Johannesburg Skyline.

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Johannesburg skyline, image courtesy of The Winston Hotel

The city’s signature buildings are barely 40 years old; it is near impossible to even imagine the City of Gold without them: The Hillbrow Tower, Ponte City, Marble Towers and the Carlton Centre. Each building's location, shapes and height tell parts of our history.  The 1970s were an age of skyscrapers and signified a time when the country's gold production was at its peak. Later, the Diamond Building located on Diagonal Street was constructed – a reflection of the 1980s, a time of defiance and ignorance of the state of emergency that had been imposed outside of the metropolitan city centre and white suburbia.

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Ponte City, Image courtesy of How Africa

Since then, the current generation of statement buildings in Johannesburg have taken different footprints, opting for design concepts that promote sustainability. Each space and structure is consciously environmentally friendly, characterized by the award-winning Alice Lane project located in Sandton.

Internationally renowned architect, Rem Koolhaas, recently revealed to the international media the construction of what will be Africa’s tallest building. Although the project is still a closely guarded secret, it has been reported that it will be the largest construction project ever on African soil, and the cost is estimated to run into the billions of rands. It has been revealed that the building will be covered in an intelligent glass designed to shade and protect the building from the warming rays of the sun making use of the latest advances in nanotechnology.  

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Alice Lane Towers. Image courtesy of Archi Lovers

Rem Koolhaas, who will personally head up the project, explains how the intelligent glass works, “The dimming effect is the result of an electrified gel sandwiched between two thick pieces of glass. As the electric current increases, the gel darkens and as it drops, the gel lightens”. The building has been named the Egoli Towers and will be well over the existing 223meters of the Carlton Centre. Expect to see this architectural marvel in 2017.