Bio-Pyramid turns Egypt’s ancient pyramids into a gigantic desertification-fighting skyscraper

David Sepulveda
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Desertification, the degradation of land into desert, is spreading at an alarming rate across our world.

In a bid to reverse one of today’s greatest environmental problems, a U.S.-based design team proposed an ambitious solution: the Bio-Pyramid. The non-conventional skyscraper design builds on the footprint of Egypt’s existing ancient pyramids and encloses them inside a pyramidal greenhouse-like bio-sphere that functions as a “living machine.”

The ‘Bio-Pyramid: Reserving Desertification’ proposal won an honorable mention in the 2015 eVolo Skyscraper Competition and was designed by David Sepulveda, Wagdy Moussa, Ishaan Kumar, Wesley Townsend, Colin Joyce, Arianna Armelli, and Salvador Juarez. The team drew inspiration for the design from Egypt, a country that is not only part of the Sahara Desert, the largest non-polar desert in the world, but is also home to one of the major ancient civilizations founded on early agriculture. The oasis-like Bio-Pyramid uses carefully cultivated microclimates to sustainably support vertical farming, water purification, clean energy creation, and more.

“Our project ‘Bio-Pyramid’ proposes that we throw away the status-norm on historic preservation/ tourism and create a super-hybrid of re-activating areas that truly make a global difference,” writes the design team. “‘Bio-Pyramid’ is a non-conventional skyscraper that not only operates as a “bio-sphere” but also as a gateway from Cairo across the Sahara Desert; linking a sustainable armature to reverse desertification from a monumental to small nomadic scale.”

The 1,280-foot-tall “living machine” skyscraper proposal is fed by an underground water reservoir that is pumped up through the center of the structure. Condensation traps, gray water recycling, and other water harvesting systems replenish the water supply. In addition to farming and historic preservation purposes, the massive mixed-use building also includes a museum, retail market, research labs, tourist attractions, and a university.

Bio-Pyramid turns Egypt’s ancient pyramids into a gigantic desertification-fighting skyscraper