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

EDUCATION

Full-time architect CLUSTER | Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training, and Environmental Research

email: amin _ aldidi@hotmail.com mobile: +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

Oct  2018

Formal-Informal Interface Workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Workshop participant, as a member of CLUSTER

Jan  2018

  CLUSTER: Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training & Environmental Research   Full-time architect

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

RECOGNITION

May 2018    Venice Architecture Biennale 2018  Work featured in, and design team member of, CLUSTER's Egyptian pavilion exhibt 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

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CONTENT SELECT ACADEMIC & POSTGRADUATE WORK

06   What Happened, Major Tom?

12   P2P: A Close Encounter

14    Formal-Informal Interface

16   Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear

18    The Streets of Cairo

20   Spatial Dichotomies: A Contemporary Art Space


2018 | MULTIDISCIPLINARY PORTFOLIO

26     Multi-leveled Connections      

34    Gheit El Hamam: Alexandria Dialogues   

42   Still Alice: A Stage Adaptation

48   A New School for Downtown Cairo

54   Restoration Center in Al-Fustat

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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.


DESIGN STUDIO VI PROF. HOLGER GLADYS W/ HUSSEIN SALEM & MINA GEORGE

Working video frame sketches

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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.

Several still frames from the film


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

FEATURED ON:

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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.

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P2P A CLOSE ENCOUNTER

Five years ago, and with the rise of right wing conservative parties, financial crisis around the world, dictatorships in the third world, M realized that it would be impossible to live in their homeland. They seeked asylum in one of the North European Countries famous for their LGBTQ acceptance. As soon as they arrived they started the long process ‘naturalisation’ procedure where they learnt the new language, re-did their master’s in graphic design, and went through multiple ‘integration’ exams. Finally, M is ready to be part of the community, with a small government loan, that happens to be of a great interest, they bought a second-hand laptop, rented a small room, and started applying for jobs. Our story begins with M setting up her new, yet old, laptop. It is a conversation between M and their new AI software, in which the introduction between the human and the machine tells us a lot about the world we live in, and the realities we created.

Several still frames from the film


POSTGRADUATE ANIMATION PROJECT W/ HUSSEIN SALEM & MINA GEORGE

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

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FORMAL-INFORMAL INTERFACE A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS IN THREE EGYPTIAN CITIES

This research was commissioned by the African Urban Research Initiative, as part of a program fostering a comparative research agenda in African cities. It comparatively investigates the relevance of the formal-informal interface in Cairo, Alexandria and Minya, looking at conditions of borders, crossings, activities and flows. This report aims to provide a framework for conducting urban research in other African cities, focusing on both the Egyptian capital and second-tier cities. It proposes a methodology and a toolkit for such research, based on a set of variables and analytical categories, including different scales of the formal and informal interface, and particular identifiable urban patterns of each.

Overview of each city w/ specific districts studied highlighted


POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH PROJECT CLUSTER

Building a comparative framework across the three cities, at three scales, based on four key variables

Parameters w/ which the node scale is studied

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OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR A TRANSIT EXPERIENCE FROM THE PERI-URBAN

FEATURED IN: 16th

as part of CLUSTER's Egyptian pavilion exhibition In an effort to create an urban narrative, as part of the previously mentioned ‘Formal-Informal Interface’ study, this animation depicts, in the typical daily commute from the informal periphery to the formal city, common soundscapes and landscapes exist. The transition from the informal to the formal is marked by common elements throughout the commute, such as the presence of street vendors, informal fruit and vegetable stands, or vendors in the metro. It also highlights that informal practices do exist with the heart of the formal city, emphasizing a continuity rather than rupture. This animation seeks to illustrate the interface connecting formal and informal areas, and challenge the perceived distinction, let alone divide, between one area and the other, showing how they are both connected.


POSTGRADUATE ANIMATION PROJECT CLUSTER

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

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THE STREETS OF CAIRO AS PART OF THE EGYPTIAN PAVILION IN THE 16TH VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE

Egyptian pavilion exhibition space, image credit: Robabecciah curatorial group

For the second cycle in a row, and the third by its members, CLUSTER was invited to participate in the 16th Venice Biennale. The 2018 pavilion curated by architects Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, architecture professor Cristiano Luchetti, and art director Karim Moussa proposes the theme of redevelopment and strategies of requalification of spontaneous commercial spaces across the entire country. The phenomenon of “free”, unstructured, often abusive and illegal trading is predominant in many urban and suburban areas. The traditional souk is no longer confined to narrow streets and interstitial spaces of the historical fabric. Indeed, the space of commerce extends its tentacles seamlessly along the lines of urban streams without any apparent rule. The project for the pavilion focuses on these strategic spatialities but also on their content. The trading of “roba becciah” is a large portion of all market activities. Disused items produced and dismissed by consumerist societies are first collected, and then stacked in areas of such dimensions to create mono-functional enclaves for future trading purposes. The “roba becciah” represents for the curators an important metaphor of the anthropological-urban condition of the contemporary world. CLUSTER presents here projects highlighting central themes related to streets and their appropriation: Street Vendors and the Contestation of Public Space (2017), Formal-Informal Interface: A Comparative Research in ThreeEgyptian Cities (2017-2018), and Suq Bab al-Luq (2017). These projects have respectively analyzed the adaptation of space by mobile street vendors in Downtown Cairo and their cycles of eviction and return; examined the interface between informal and formal urban areas in Cairo, Alexandria and Minya; and studied the informal encroachment and appropriation of spaces in the established market of Bab al-Luq over time.


POSTGRADUATE CURATORIAL PROJECT CLUSTER

CLUSTER exhibit in relation to the others , image credit: Robabecciah curatorial group

Photo of the CLUSTER exhibit, 'The Streets of Cairo', image credit: Robabecciah curatorial group

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SPATIAL DICHOTOMIES A CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE

Maspero Triangle is a sample of the larger Cairo metropolitan area. All the main components of the city are present in a relatively small surface (ca. 350,000 sqm). Although Maspero Triangle represents less than 1% of the always expanding Greater Cairo, it includes high rise developments along the Nile, a deteriorated historical city fabric, 19th century structures, workshops and industrial areas. it is surrounded by some of the city’s main roads. If we exclude gated communities, everything that makes Cairo appears within Maspero Triangle. With an inhabited historic core neighborhood, the surrounding developments, billboards and run-down walls allow for little accessibility. The empty plot of land on the edge of Maspero is an opportunity to explore how to create a stronger connection between the neighborhood and its context, as well as experiment with form, and explore spatial dichotomies in the given area.


DESIGN STUDIO IV PROF. VLATKA SEREMET

Maspero Triangle in the context of Greater Cairo

Spatial, process & final model photographs

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


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 the 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.

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

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a

b

c a  ground floor    b  first floor    c  interior render


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

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.â€

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MULTI-LEVELED CONNECTIONS SEWING THE CITY: THE CITADEL AND THE SEA

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.†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.

Evolution of skywalks intervention (top down)


BACHELOR’S DESIGN PROJECT PROF. RITA PINTO DE FREITAS W/ MARK TAREK, MAYAR SALAMA & PAKYNAM GHEITH

Chain of continuity in and around Parc de la Ciutadella, and elevation photographs of each side

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Rooftop network plan


“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 nonprivileged 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.

Close-up of Les Aigues Library's rooftop public space and skywalk plan and isometric

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Rooftop views from opposing sides


Isometric of the group proposal

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Vertical structure & skywalk connection renders


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.

Examples of proposed skywalk structures

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ALEXANDRIA DIALOGUES GHEIT AL-HAMAM, KARMOUS

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. Karmous 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.

Shots of Karmous & the site


DESIGN STUDIO VII PROF. HOLGER GLADYS W/ HUSSEIN SALEM & MINA GEORGE

Large scale partial Alexandria plan w/ highlighted Karmous (left) & smaller scale situation plan (right), and neighborhood planning process (bottom)

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


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

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Street situation graphic


Roof situation graphic

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The Gheit al-Hamam 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. 

1. DENIAL

2. ANXIETY


SET & STAGE DESIGN INÈS SCHRÖDER & MARCO MICHEL W/ HUSSEIN SALEM & MINA GEORGE

3. AGGRESSION

4. ACCEPTANCE

5. CONFRONTATION

Plan (top) & section (bottom) of the stage

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1. DENIAL "As you might’ve guessed, this is our dining and activities room. Predictable routines are important.” The youngest is I think seventy. The average age is about eighty-two, eightythree. It’s rare to see someone with Alzheimer's younger than sixty." You’re looking at one right now, lady. She followed her tour guide back to the locked double doors and watched her type in the code. 0791925. She didn’t belong here.

2. ANXIETY "I've been experiencing some difficulties with my memory for some time now, and in January, I was diagnosed with earlyonset Alzheimer's disease."” "She had genetic screening. She has the presenilin-1 mutation,"” said John. It means we have a fifty percent chance of getting Alzheimer's disease,” said Tom. "What about my baby?" "Anna, if you have the mutation, it's the same for your children. Each child you have would have a fifty percent chance of inheriting it, too."” said Alice.


3. AGGRESSION She hastened back down the hall and opened the door to the bathroom. Only, to her utter disbelief, it wasn't the bathroom... The utility closet. She rushed back to the hallway and held the doorknob. "Please God, please God, please God." She swung the door open... but the bathroom didn't reappear. "How can I be lost in my own home?" Her tears weren't all she wasn't able to contain any longer. John burst through the front door just in time to witness the urine streaming down her right leg, soaking her sweatpants, sock, and sneaker. "Don't look at me!"” "Ali, don't cry, it's okay." "I don't know where I am."” "It's okay, you're right here."” "I'm lost." "You're not lost, Ali, you're with me."” "I couldn't find the bathroom."

4. ACCEPTANCE "Being diagnosed with Alzheimer's is like being branded with a scarlet A." "This is now who I am, someone with dementia. This was how I would, for a time, define myself and how others continue to define me. But I am not what I say or what I do or what I remember. I am fundamentally more than that." "I am a wife, mother, and friend, and soon to be grandmother." "My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment."

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5. CONFRONTATION

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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.

Downtown Cairo site photos


DESIGN STUDIO II PROF. BARBARA PAMPE W/ HUSSEIN SALEM & ABDALLAH MOSTAFA

Exterior collage render

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a

b

A

PROGRAM Entrance hall/indoor break area 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

c

a site plan   b  ground floor    c  section A-A


A

A

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. The concept revolved around the different orientations our site had and which qualities we wanted to take advantage of the most. To the east, there exist ancient ruins, which are the landscape element from which the design of the building initiated. Facing them are the workshops. The workshops being the heart of a restoration center, it was aimed to create a direct connection between the arche logical site and the workshops holding restorative work. To the south, the building faces the local and original workshops in the area, created for clay workers and salesmen, and built in vernacular architectural styles. The intention is to create a relationship between that context and the restoration center, through the building’s entrance and semi-public exhibition area designed on the site’s periphary.


INTEGRATED DESIGN PROF. THOMAS LOEFFLER W/ AHMED NASHAAT, MUHAMMAD ASHRAF & KIROLLOS AWNY

Tonal site plan (left) & ground floor plan (right)

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a

b

c

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

Detailed continuous section

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email mobile

amin_aldidi@hotmail.com +20 122 562 6650

Profile for Amin El-Didi

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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