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World’s tallest timber apartment tower to be built in Zanzibar

28-storey Burj Zanzibar would be Africa’s first sustainable high-rise

ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA – EQS Newswire – 4 October 2022 – The Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar is planning the highest green building in the world, a 28-storey apartment tower designed in hybrid timber technology. Named Burj Zanzibar – “burj” meaning tower in Arabic – the spectacular high-rise is designed to reach 96 metres in height. Dubbed “vertical green village”, it would represent an iconic landmark not only for the island but for the whole of Africa and a global environmental milestone, being the first timber structure worldwide of such proportions. The design of the mixed-use apartment and commercial building, in a playful beehive style with breathtaking ocean views, was unveiled to the public in Muscat, Oman on 1 October. Dutch-born architect Leander Moons, responsible for the concept, said: “Burj Zanzibar is not just an outstanding building but a new ecosystem for the future of living”.

The residential tower with 266 residences is to be located in Fumba Town, East Africa’s pioneering eco-town developed by German-led engineering firm CPS. Categorised as a strategic investment and fully supported by the Zanzibar government, the growing city near the capital, where foreigners are allowed to buy, stretches along a 1.5-kilometre seashore on the southwest coast. “Burj Zanzibar will be the highlight and natural continuation of our efforts to provide sustainable housing in Africa, thereby empowering local employment and businesses”, elaborated CPS CEO Sebastian Dietzold in Muscat.

With turquoise seas, white sandy beaches and a UNESCO-protected historic Stone Town, Zanzibar recorded 15% annual growth in tourism in recent years and 6.8% economic growth. Earlier this year, the semi-autonomous archipelago, 35 kilometres off the coast of Tanzania, stretched its wings also into another direction, launching an initiative to attract African tech companies with a total worth of six billion dollars.

Benefits of timber

Timber is the oldest building material in the world. As timber technology, it currently enjoys a renaissance because of its environmental benefits and longevity. New timber products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam are considered the building material of the future. One cubic metre of wood binds half a ton of carbon dioxide, whereas conventional concrete construction is responsible for 25% of CO2 emissions.

Once realised, Burj Zanzibar would be the highest timber building in the world and Africa’s first high-rise ever in this innovative technology. A few weeks ago the 86.6-metre Ascent Tower in Milwaukee, US, was certified as the world’s tallest timber hybrid building by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).  Africa’s highest conventional skyscraper is a 385-metre office tower named “Iconic Tower” in Egypt, still under construction.

Tanzania’s top skyscraper is the 157-metre Ports Authority building in Dar es Salaam. The world’s tallest conventional building is Burj Khalifa in Dubai with 828 metres.

Consortium of specialists from New York to Switzerland

Burj Zanzibar is planned as a hybrid timber tower.  A steel-reinforced concrete core is designed to meet all required fire and life safety standards. The project is to be executed by a consortium of leading specialists from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, South Africa, Tanzania and the US. Green roof gardens and planted balconies further reduce the carbon footprint of the building. “Burj Zanzibar will be a widely visible new landmark for Zanzibar and beyond, not only because of its appearance but because of its construction method”, said architect Leander Moons during the launch event.

Set to promote locally available wood as a building material, Tanzania and its vast land resources for agroforestry would also benefit from the ambitious green mega tower. A large forest development in central Tanzania near Iringa already covers twice the size of New York; “an enlarged forest industry could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the East African country”, said CPS Director Dietzold.

Playful, elegant style fitting any culture

The playful architectural style – reminiscent of a beehive with honeycombs – combines modern urban trends with local culture. “Panorama windows, closed-in green loggias and a modular layout will enhance the green nature of the tower and allow for flexible apartment floor plans, tailor-made for any cultural preferences”, explained lead architect Moons. Residents can have their outdoor garden even on the top floor.

Representing a young, vibrant and most of all sustainable lifestyle, the building allocates a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and deluxe penthouses. The elegant tower stands on a terraced podium with shared and private gardens , shops and a common pool. Sizes of units range from studios starting at $79,900 to a vast penthouse with a private pool on the 26th  floor at $950,880. “As a global architectural highlight the Burj Zanzibar will be setting a new benchmark of building in the 21st century”, CPS director Sebastian Dietzold concluded


Burj Zanzibar – The Art of Urban Living



Zanzibar, Tanzania



New York, United States


OMT architects GmbH

Berlin, Germany

Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten GmbH

Stuttgart, Germany


KNIPPERS HELBIG advanced engineering

Stuttgart, Germany



Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


IGNIS fire design consulting

Zurich, Switzerland

KSI smart brandschutz

Zurich, Switzerland


WEBB URONU & PARTNERS Dar es Salaam, Tanzania



Fügen, Austria


Zanzibar Town, Tanzania

Download Images:

Image 1: Iconic landmark for the tropics: Burj Zanzibar, designed in climate-friendly cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam technology, acts as a cold and heat insulator, and does not lose its structural strength under fire. Precision technology allows for prefab CLT buildings to be assembled at a speed of one floor per week. (Render by CPS)

Image 2: Green power tower: 96 metre-high, the planned Burj Zanzibar would be a landmark beyond Fumba Town. The growing eco-development on Zanzibar’s southwest coast already harbours more than 1,000 residential units and will eventually be home to 20,000 inhabitants. Sales of Burj Zanzibar units have commenced; construction could begin end 2023/2024 (Render by CPS)

About CPS:

CPS is a Tanzanian-based real estate company with a German background developing vibrant, affordable urban communities. The focus is on sustainability and the empowerment of local businesses. CPS currently implements two large building projects in Zanzibar, with further African projects in planning. Fumba Town is the fastest growing urban development in Tanzania with permaculture landscaping, 94% waste-recycling, health care, educational facilities and a total volume of $400 million to eventually house 20,000 people. The Soul is Zanzibar’s first-ever residential leisure resort along the East Coast of the tropical tourism island with hundreds of holiday apartments. Zanzibar already has a factory for prefabricated cross-laminated timber houses ( Ltd.) employing 80 workers.  CPS founders Sebastian Dietzold, his wife Katrin and his brother Tobias Dietzold hail from Leipzig and have lived in Tanzania for decades.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of CPS Zanzibar Limited.

Press inquiries:

CPS communication

Baraka Strato Mosha