What do Morocco and Mordor have in common? If you guessed an ominous, dual-spire tower — you are correct.
The 1,771 foot Al Noor Tower, which will be Africa’s tallest, is currently in the planning stages of development. The project was commissioned for Casablanca by Sheikh Tarek Mohammed bin Laden, an exorbitantly wealthy Saudi businessman and yes, the half-brother of Osama bin Laden. The Sheikh is no stranger to large-scale developments, he’s also aiming to build a 29 kilometre bridge over the Red Sea connecting Africa to Asia.
French architecture firm Valode et Pistre designed the Al Noor Tower, which translates from Arabic to the Tower of Light. According to the official website, the structure is intended to evoke a myriad of metaphors — “the feeling of a wedding dress…a fountain pen [which] Sheikh Tarek is using to design the future…an eye from the top to symbolize [his] vision.”
Its 114 stories symbolize the number of chapters in the Quran, its height of 540 metres, the 54 African countries and the pixelated façade, the 1,000 languages spoken throughout the continent.
But even without a fiery eye, we think it looks a whole lot like the Barad-dûr — Sauron’s fortress from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The land for the estimated $1 billion Al Noor Tower has yet to be secured, but soil tests are scheduled to begin in June. Once completed, the tower will include offices, luxury shopping, a seven star hotel and spa, conference hall, stock trading floor and restaurants.
We’re also not the only ones who think the Lord of the Rings comparison is an apt one:
— Engage Construction (@Engage_C) December 30, 2014
Apparently, Mordor is located – or at least will soon be located – in Morocco. The ‘Al Noor Tower’ is a planned… http://t.co/SgABknYBOA
— SuperArtBook (@SuperArtBook) December 28, 2014
The developer has sent a letter of intent to the planning board of the Casablanca-Anfa financial district, but it remains to be seen if the final plans for the sky-scraping tower shall pass.
In other LOTR-related real estate news, an installation of the Eye of Sauron was derailed in Moscow last month after the Russian Orthodox Church identified it as a “demonic symbol.” The artists instead opted to create a virtual eye that can only be seen through a smartphone or tablet. The piece was intended to promote the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.