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Architecture | Urban | Illustration 

 PORTFOLIO  AMIN EL-DIDI

'17 

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AMIN EL-DIDI 20/05/1994 Cairo, Egypt

EDUCATION

German Univerisity of Cairo Architecture and Urban Planning Graduate

amin _ aldidi@hotmail.com +20 122 562 6650

Mar 2016    Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona   Urban Planning Bachelor Thesis in Barcelona Sep 2015    GUC Berlin   Semester abroad Oct 2012    German University of Cairo   Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning     Graduated with Honors in 2017 Jun 2008     The Egyptian Language School    IGCSE system

EXPERIENCE

Mar   2017    Architecture Association GUC   Media and Design member Nov 2016     Al-Azhar's Nasr City Campus   'Failed Architecture' Workshop: Deconstructing Al Azhar Jul   2015    Lincoln School of Architecture and Design   International Summer School: Renewable Energy, Technology and Sustainability Jun 2011    The Egyptian Language School Junior English language teaching assistant for 2 Semesters


RECOGNITION

Nov 2017    Medina Portal: Egypt-based Urban Research Journal 'What Happened, Major Tom?' as a Published Video Article Aug 2017    Urban Transcripts Journal: UK-based Urban Research Journal    'What Happened, Major Tom?' as a Published Video Article Jun 2014    History of Architecture III Spring Course: Downtown Cairo seminar project Work featured in the book:   Discovering Downtown Cairo: Architecture and Stories by Vittoria Capresi and Barbara Pampe (eds.)

SKILLS

SOFTWARE

GENERAL

Autodesk Autocad Autodesk Revit Adobe Photoshop Adobe Illustrator Adobe InDesign Adobe Premiere Adobe Aftereffects Rhino + Grasshopper Sketchup + Vray

Freehand drawing Model making Video editing LANGUAGES Arabic:    Mothertongue English:    Fluent German:  Beginner


CONTENT

06  A New School for Downtown Cairo

12   Restoration Center in Al-Fustat

18    Housing: Low Rise/High Density

24    Spatial Dichotomies: A Contemporary Art Space

30    Museum of the 20th Century


Multi-leveled Connections    40   

 What Happened, Major Tom?    48   

 On Reclamation: 120 Hours Competition    54   

Gheit El Hamam: Alexandria Dialogues     56   

Still Alice: A Stage Adaptation    66


A NEW SCHOOL

FOR DOWNTOWN CAIRO

The early concept was based on the formation of 3 different shapes, and their connection through one which is raised on slabs. The context in which our school would stand inspired the concept design, where the highest point in our building would reach the average height of the local apartment buildings. This project was heavily influenced by the ideas of Le Corbusier, his 5 rules of architecture and modernist ideas in general. Simplicity was kept in mind, to try and keep Cairo’s Downtown atmosphere as unchanged as possible. Functionality in the plan was what inspired the elevation design, as well as the idea of allowing as much light to enter the study areas as possible, while manipulating exactly how much is needed through the use of vertical louvers. The school building also plays a social role in the area, as Downtown Cairo is known for being the knowledge and event hub of the city, while hosting a large population of all casts of people, from the educated to the uneducated masses. A core principle that remained unchanged, and shaped the school design, was the presence of a publicly accessible library, with a nearby shaded reading area. This is meant to incorporate the pedestrian life within the building, and not alienate it as is the habit of public schools in Cairo. The design is meant to overhaul the traditional public school building design, that has become the standardized, sterile and impractical norm in Egypt. With sustainability in mind, and the sunny context of Cairo, locally available materials that form the built mass of concrete and wooden louvers, extending to the materials of flooring tiles and school furniture. It is meant to play on the viable materials usually used for building in Cairo, while changing the forms they take in the final design, through incorporating smart architectural solutions to heat, light and circulation.

Design studio II  |  Prof. Barbara Pampe  |  w/ Hussein Salem & Abdallah Mostafa

Downtown Cairo site photos


Exterior collage render

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A

a

b A

c

a site plan   b ground floor   c  section A-A


PROGRAM Entrance hall/indoor break area

A

12 classrooms 6 group learning areas 2 multipurpose rooms 2 storage/material rooms Cafeteria Library Teachers' office School management's office Secretary's office Caretaker's office Teachers' rest rooms Students' rest rooms

d

A

e

d  first floor   e south east elevation

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Axonometric view w/ exploded curtain wall & louvres showing the interior spaces


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RESTORATION CENTER IN AL-FUSTAT

The restoration center is a place of specialized work, from ancient artifacts to modern day art piece renditions, as well as a place of learning. When it comes to the site of Al-Fustat in Cairo, special attention is to be paid to such a context so heavily steeped in culture, tradition, and history. Our concept revolved around the different orientations our site had and which qualities we wanted to take advantage of the most. 

NORTH

EAST

SOUTH

Facing the empty future expansion area, which is connected to local buildings of vernacular architecture, this level plane is the most serene area in the site. 

Facing the ruins, which are the landscape element from which the design of the building initiated, are the workshops. The workshops being the heart of a restoration center, it was aimed to create a direct connection between the archeological site and the workshops holding restorative work. 

Facing the local and original workshops in the area, created for clay workers and salesmen, and built in vernacular architectural styles, is the frontal elevation and entrance of our building. We aimed to create a relationship between that context and the restoration center. 

Integrated Design  |  Prof. Thomas Loeffler  |  w/ Ahmed Nashaat, Muhammad Ashraf & Kirollos Awny

Exterior render showing the eastern ruins


Tonal site plan

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a

b

c

d

a west elevation   b east elevation   c north elevation   d  south elevation


Ground floor plan

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Detailed continuous section


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HOUSING

LOW RISE/HIGH DENSITY

In an attempt to explore non verticality focused housing solutions, and to try our hand at planning a hypothetical 1 hectare piece of land, this concept was created. Focusing on circulation axis of both pedestrians and vehicles, prevalent wind movement and sun direction, each unit was designed, and then placed in a repeated fashion to achieve the same goals.  Also deciding the project, was the Egyptian building law and how it governs housing. In a previous study, these laws were scrutinized and then this housing project was created accordingly. 

Housing  |  Prof. Cornelia Redeker  |  w/ Ahmed Nashaat

Diagram of the progression of the single unit put in rows, reacting to the elements


Site plan, emphasizing green spaces, parking spaces & main unit entrances

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a

b a  unit plans in a zoomed in portion of site    b  section A-A


c

d

e

f c  ground floor plans    e  first floor plans    e  second floor plans    e  zoomed in frontal elevation

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Exploded axonemetric of the single unit


Street view render

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SPATIAL DICHOTOMIES A CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE

The site is distinguished by having massive grounds, therefore plenty of light. It is surrounded by historical context and low rise buildings. The Italian consulate beside the site appears abandoned, and the buildings behind the site, that of the Maspero triangle, are quickly deteriorating. Busy street and a busier bridge. Mindless flow of cars and public transport. Low amount of pedestrians. No shade except for the one provided by the bridge, and inside highly dense Maspero triangle.  The sounds of car horns and the smell of burning fuel are predominant in the seemingly infinite axis of the street. The goal was to create that which is missing to the pedestrian, and to manipulate the light subjected to the grounds. 

Design studio IV  |  Prof. Vlatka Seremet

Photo montage & spatial mapping collage of both sides of the bridge


Spatial, process & final model photographs

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'Building up' process in 3D render showing interior light gradients


Bird's eye view of site w/ inserted art gallery

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An irregular form of straight lines will also fit within the existing context of intertwined low rise buildings, and provide a similar walking experience to the pedestrian, but rather focused on the art. In the working and final building concept, I sought to incorporate these qualities to create a building open to the public, to attract outisde attention, as well as the attention of the locals, to its shell, and to use indirect lighting as a guiding tool.  The exhibition space was divided into two contrasting sides. A side that is open to a central atrium, seeping in indirect light from the north direction. The exhibition space ascends upwards towards the atrium, with folded uneven and unorthogonal walls guiding the experience. The exhibition space finally descends into the darker side of the building, with a semi-closed space in the middle for other forms of contemporary art, such as light and sound shows. 

a

b

a interior render   b ground floor   c  first floor

c


Exterior collage render w/ the 6th of october bridge & the Maspero triangle in the background

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MUSEUM OF

THE 20TH CENTURY

For the M20, the location was key, the site existing beside 20th century masterpieces of architecture, the new national gallery most importantly. In our design process, we’ve focused on contrasting the gallery’s modernist approach, its transperancy, reflectivity and smooth finish, raised on a pedastel of its own.  We began thinking of materiality and the use of rough cast in situ concrete to create a monolithic block, in an attempt to create a backdrop and a building of starking contrast to the new national gallery, empowering each others impressions. Linking the two buildings, as both served the same purpose of showcasing art, was done through the basement, which opened onto the gallery’s below street level garden.  The art gallery’s administrative and other functions were put in a seperate monolithic block of their own, simply put in parallel to the M20, carving out a longitudinal space with minimalist values in between, a bit like a rock that’s been split in two.  This open courtyard is surrounded on both sides by continuous glass walls, showing a glimpse of the interior of the building and the artwork inside, and contrasting the mostly concrete facades surrounding them.  The interior of the building was created according to an opposing concept. To feel reflexive and not rigid, unlike the building’s exterior. Through the use of different slopes, and levels between different exhibition spaces, similar to the principles of the Raumplan. Indefinite walls were also used as a tool to guide the circulation and never completely enclose the artwork in definites spaces. 

Design studio V  |  Prof. Bernd Bess  |  w/ Mark Tarek & Ahmed Nashaat

Massing process from the top down


Site plan

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a

b

c a  ground floor plan    b north elevation   c  section A-A


Inner courtyard render viewing the Kunstbibliotheque in the background

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a

b

c a  first floor plan    b east elevation   c  section B-B


Exterior render from the platform of the Neue National Gallerie

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Physical site model in 1:1000


Exterior render from the east direction of the Neue National Gallerie

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Physical building model in 1:200


Several shots of the physical model

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MULTI-LEVELED CONNECTIONS

This project explores the possibilities of urban redesign, shifting between different urban scales, and studies on the city of Barcelona. Parc de la Ciutadella, a park steeped in history and a notable public space, is the core of the project, followed by its adjacent spaces. With the philosophy of working with an existing reality, the project was carried out by a group of four, with each member focusing on a different aspect of the design. The main goal was to reconnect key spaces, emphasize the historical value of the site, and to contrast that with an exploration of a metropolitan public spaces through vertical structures and aerial pathways, encouraging the rediscovery of Barcelona’s urban fabrics from a higher point of view. The base idea of the project is the reinforcement of visual connections, from the mountain range of Collserola and the Mediterranean sea, as well as the urban planning successes of the city itself sitting in-between.  If the aim of architecture is to incorporate buildings into their surrounding area, then man-made constructions like skywalks and viewpoints take this concept to the next level by enabling visitors to experience natural and built surroundings in a more intimate way. It is a typology that is based on the philosophy of dealing with a built environment, not demolishing said environment and creating a new one. When met with a largely successful public space in as interesting a setting as Barcelona, this project attempted to, minimally, reveal why this setting is incredibly interesting, while following the current urban movements being undertaken by the city. The group and individual proposals were equal parts study of the context given and design, and in this respect, it sought to be as well rooted in said context as it could be.

Bachelor's Design Project  |  Prof. Rita Pinto De Freitas  |  w/ Mark Tarek, Mayar Salama & Pakynam Gheith


Isometric of the group proposal

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Eixample view

Chain of continuity around La Ciutadella Gothic Quarter view

Sant Marti view

Barceloneta view

Diagrammatic plans of the original (left) and the proposed (right) & representations of each part (top down)


“The city was turning into a single, almost unbroken mass of construction. It is said that in those days it was possible to go all the way from the bell tower of El Pi to Santa Maria del Mar from roof to roof without having to come down” (Solà-Morales) By working on the higher level of Barcelona, this arc of the project would attempt to ressurect this part of the history of the city, the discovery of Barcelona’s urban culture and the idea of non-privileged public spaces through the perspective of 21st century architecture.   Specific buildings were chosen to host usable spaces, that would, in turn, serve the buildings they’re on. They would then be connected through pedestrian bridges to Parc de la Ciutadella that descend by vertical structures. The proposal became a deliberate intervention that would aim to minimally disturb the site, its natural elements and architectural structures, taking into consideration where the vertical structures would be located and how they would least disturb residents in the respective urban fabrics.

Rooftop views from opposing sides

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Diagrammatic plans of the original (left) and the proposed (right) & representations of each part (top down)


Rooftop network & close-up of Les Aigues Library's rooftop public space and skywalk plans

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Vertical structure & skywalk connection renders

Click this link to see the full details of the project


If the aim of architecture is to incorporate buildings into their surrounding area, then man-made constructions like skywalks and viewpoints take this concept to the next level by enabling visitors to experience natural and built surroundings in a more intimate way. It is a typology that is based on the philosophy of dealing with a built environment, not demolishing said environment and creating a new one.â€

Rooftop public space & skywalk isometrics

46 | 47


WHAT HAPPENED, MAJOR TOM?

A FANTASTICAL VISION OF AN ELEVATED HIGHWAY

Considering the state of metropolitan Cairo a decade from now, this short film speculates on the state of a vital vehicular bridge in a state of gridlock. With the ever increasing population of both citizens and cars, a fantastical reality is imagined where said bridge is put to consideration, a tabula rasa, creating an example of a new urban setting strongly tied to Egyptian culture. The investigation is primarily concerned with the identity of Cairo, how to enhance it and embed it into the Cairene cultural realm through funneling its prominent features into one singular public vein, this vein being the 6th of October Bridge.  The bridge spans over a multi-layered set of neighborhoods with various key characteristics that define the character of Cairo. The short film speculates a future in 2026, where each of these unique areas expand onto the bridge, creating meaningful public spaces, in the spirit of building monuments for the future. In this vision of future Cairo, its billboard ghost town is turned into a reinvented urban reality. Through using the overflow of billboards surrounding the bridge, the intention is to explore the multidimensionality of reusing a recurring element that adversely affects the city in a visual and socioeconomic manner. This reuse of all elements deemed redundant, from empty billboards to car frames, is a precedent to a vision evoking the potentiality of utilizing what is widely perceived as superfluous and subsequently transforming into a tool to strengthen the city’s identity. 

Design studio VI  |  Prof. Holger Gladys  |  w/ Hussein Salem & Mina George


Working video frame sketches

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Several still frames from the film


FEATURED ON

Click this link, the above frame, or scan the QR code to watch the film

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The short film was heavily inspired by the studies made earlier in the course, of an inspection made on what was dubbed ‘The Prominent City’. The analysis investigates the prominent characteristics of Cairo with an emphasis on its relation to the identity of the city. The primary hypothesis is that prominence does not equate to identity, however both are not mutually exclusive. The study took into account the definition of prominence and linked it to three urban layers; prominent aspects (noticeable), landmarks (famous) and urban fabric (important). Through these layers it was determined whether a handfull of selected distrcits hold the identity of the city or are prominent for other reasons than its familiarity with what defines Cairo.â€

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ON RECLAMATION

120 HOURS COMPETITION OF '17

The design brief states that the Liang Meng Primary school faces a beautiful valley located in the rural area of Puan City, China. This school is connected by a 4 hours drive to the provincial capital Guyiang. The whole region is home to many Chinese ethnic groups, but the one that inhabits this underdeveloped rural area is known as the Buyi minority. This minority’s economy is mainly based on agriculture and mining and it has been slightly improved by the construction of logistic infrastructures after 1949. Even if their daily life is partially modernized, their culture is still influenced by ancient traditions and activities.  With that in mind, the task is to conceive a library and canteen building hybrid for the school complex, with the functions solved in a rudimentary and pragmatic way.  With the plot occupied by an existing structure, the stituation posed an interesting opportunity to experiment with the inclusion of a purposeful extension. A contemporary structure added to the rooted concrete frame, resulting in a new conglomeration of plates that does not obscure the view and allow for maximum flexibility of plan. The plates are carried by wooden columns, an abundant material in the province, to encompass the intervention with the existing. Shifting the tectonics of the whole entity into a contrasting composition of color, texture, position and re-purposing. The feasibility of the approach is to make the intervention minimal, yet allowing for maximum interpretation of the composition. With the children as the natural protagonists, and through the use of climbable elements and a slide as part of the circulation, the space invites the curiousity of the students, while serving its main purposes. 

120 Hours Competition Entry  |  w/ Mark Tarek & Muhammad El-Fouly

Massing process axonometric


Exterior bird's eye view render

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GHEIT EL HAMAM ALEXANDRIA DIALOGUES

An urban design project in the neighborhood of Karmous in Alexandria. The project aims to subvert the negative reputation of the area as a somewhat drug and gang violence slum, and restore its reputation as a centre for the arts and culture, utilizing the infamous symbol of the Egyptian pigeon coop as they are especially dense in the area. It is a district caught in a decedant cycle, while offering spaces available for its urban expansion. Our aim is to expand on the established fabric, in an effort to bring forth an idea of better use of informalized space. An expansion of new homes and of Karmous’ rich cultural identity, built from a perspective unlike that of the familiar yet estranging planning of the egyptian military. 

Design Studio VII  |  Prof. Holger Gladys  |  w/ Hussein Salem & Mina George

Shots of Karmous & the site


Large scale partial Alexandria plan w/ highlighted Karmous (left) & smaller scale situation plan (right)

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Roof situation graphic


Neighborhood plan & process

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Street situation graphic


Ground floor plan (top) & atypical floor plan (bottom) of one of the building blocks

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Isometric of Gheit El Hamam with several close-ups


Street section of one of the building blocks & a repurposed warehouse

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The monument from different perspectives


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STILL ALICE

A STAGE ADAPTATION

A stage design project for a theatrical production of the 2007 novel “Still Alice” by author Lisa Genova.    The novel is a story of a woman who suffers from early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. This particular adaptation takes place in the protagonist’s mind. Thus her mind being the stage, the characters being her emotions, the disease, the gene responsible for the disease and the main character’s perception of herself. 

Set & Stage Design  |  Inès Schröder & Marco Michel  |  w/ Hussein Salem & Mina George

Path through stage begins from the left


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Entrance to the anxiety stage


Denial & anxiety stages

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Aggression & acceptance stages


Confrontation stage

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e-mail    mobile

amin _ aldidi@hotmail.com +20 122 562 6650

Architecture Portfolio | Amin El-Didi  

A selection of collected student works (2012-2017)

Architecture Portfolio | Amin El-Didi  

A selection of collected student works (2012-2017)

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