I am an egyptian architecture student, who studied 8 semesters at the German Univesrity in Cairo, completed my Bachelor project and then spent a year working in offices around Germany. The architectural Scene that I have grown up and studied in has been a very special backdrop underlaying my academic career. Cairo is a rapidly developing metropolis. It has a constantly shifting political and urban landscape, and a fascinating phenomena of informality springing around a malfunctioning â€œformalâ€?. Hence, the vitality of architects in society has taken new prespectives for me; with the possibility of learning from, and providing expertise to and mediating between, self-made creative survival solutions and profit hungry top down regulations. In the light of the pivotal role I could play in my community and as my passion for architecture itself as a science and an art grew, for the long nights of gradual design development, for the moment the right idea clicks, the beautiful simplicity in graphical representation, the impression of a crowd in a presentation, I pulled through my studies maintaining the 3rd place in the cumulative ranking of my batch. With the belief in unbreakable driven committment rowing has taught me, and the wonders of cultural exchange that travelling opened my eyes to, and with my certainty that I am still in thirst of furthering my architectural education, my eyes are unwaveringly set on undergoing yet another sensational experience and finally take my masters in one of the top architectural univesrities in the world. In the following pages of this portofolio, I am to leave you not only with a sample of my work, but rather attmept to use it as a story-telling tool, split into three broad sections, to show the development, of what in my eyes is, my journey with architecture.
Institute for Cimatic Design and Thermal Comfort
Stage Design Opera Aida: A reinterpretation
Then a shift to
Urban Scale .. and a leap of Maturity
Seattle Public Library: Building Analysis
architectural /varied explorations..
GUC Knowlege Center
Maspero: Urban Upgrade framework
Refugee Housing: Idea Presentation Learn Move PlayGround And branching out in parallel
Maspero Parallel Project
Bauwelt: Cairo issue
Allmann Sattler Wappner Architekten
To a strike of Passion..
Freehand Sketching Modelling 2.0
A “Habitat” for hot climatic conditions experimenting with form finding. Focus on innovation in low-tech solutions for sustainable thermal comfort.
A stage design of the famous opera Aida. Process based on the literary understanding of the pera’s text and its reinterpreation in the modern day Egyptian context.
A new library in the center of the German University in Cairo campus. Radial geometry, flying platforms and an interesting facade highlight the project.
A purely analytical exercise analyzing OMA’s Seattle Public Library. A diagramatic represetnation and a model for the design are produced.
This design challenge was in a very special site in Cairo. The program (also to carried out in a site in Stuttgart and compared), was of a reseach space for 3-5 researchers/artist that would accomodate them staying over. Although Cairo as a city is considered a mega-city and has so many overlapping layer of complexity, this particular part of the city isnâ€™t the same. The area is called New Cairo. It is mostly characterized with oversized empty areas, blocks of strictly resedintial villas and other isolated facilities. Hence, the site, inside a University campus is not surrounded by much. This proposal attempts to create an introverted complex that would create a the interesting and thermally comfortabe atmosphere missing around.
Cairo Site : Hot Desert Context
Inroversion | Climatic comfort
Form finding systematic efforts
/ Low tech Low cost climatic solutions
Although the same as in Cairo, the task of design in Stuttgart was rather summarized in the need to create a new landmark in the city. This need for a landmark comes from a closer look at the context of the intervention. The project stands on the top of the roof of the architectural building.The K1 building of the university is sitiuated in in the heart of the city; a very dynamic and active spot where so much is happening. Due to a hilly typography all around, the roof becomes of extremely significant due to its high visibility. The concept of the fifth facades is born and further investegated.
Stuttgart Site: Rooftop
Parasitic Architecture: "Headpiece" anology
Dynamic Sculptural form
Contrast of shell and intersior spaces
Functional Organization | Left to right: spatial constriction and private use to openness and public use
A stage design project with a very strong literary grounding; the first exercise invloved reading an extract from â€œThe poetics of Space - The Dialectics of Oustisde and Insideâ€?, a text written by Gaston Bachelard. The aim was to digest the text and develop an understanding that allows one to relive its deep atmospheric abstraction, until gradually the freedom of connecting to the text and a hugely subjective interpretation bridges the gap between abstraction and materiality; a combination of text art and three dimensional physical modelling is used to represent the text. The same process is then reapplied to the text of the famous Aida Opera, written by Giuseppe Verdi. The Original text and storyline are reinterpreted in the light of the daily lives of the Egyptian society and the archtiectural scene in Cairo.
The original play of Aida revolves around love; it is the fuel that steers the actions taking place. This modern depiction, â€œWall of Surveillanceâ€?, disects this concept of love, which no more fits in its majestic romantic sense that Aida represents , and depicts it in a context fitting our modern day. Love suddenly represents the ties of friendship and family between the residents of an informal neighbourhood on one hand, and the thirst for money and power evident in the coorporate sector and its competitive gurus, on the other hand. As with the original play, the storyline revolves around getting torn between these two kinds of modern love and how they ultimately induce our behavior.
Stemming out of the practical need of the university to build a new Central library building to replace the current temporary one, this projects takes places in a very realistic context. In the center of the campus, the new â€œKnowledge Centerâ€? is placed at the most lively space that functions as a hub for hang outs, student activities and intellectual interchange. And naturally, in the midst of this academic institution, the library represents a metaphorical center but also a physical central point for reading, studying, presentation, discussion and intellectual stimulation. The form of this new landmark is purposfully shaped so that it intercepts the main circulation routes in the university, hence affecting the direct line of sight and the walking paths of students. Two focal circles form the basis of the form, out of which a radial grid emerges.
On the inside, a shift is made into a different atmosphere from the surrounding lively campus. Calm, scenery and inspiration take over the space. In the main hall of the Knowledge Center, there are three cylindracal cores. Their main purpose is penetration of light into the interior and the provision of small pocket-outdoor-spaces on different levels within themselves. The books shelves lie on the ground floor, whereas the reading spaces are on â€œflying plaformsâ€? between these cores, accessed by stairs spiraling around the cores. The perfectly magical reading atmosphere dawns on the library readers from the feeling of elevation in a bigger space with an open view to all the surrounding levels of the hall. In addition, the envelope of the building is a matrix of squares comprising three different materials transparencies: opaque, translucent and completly transparent. While enough light penetrates to the reading spaces, the visiual disturbance of the entire campus is framed throught the transparent facade sections only towards surrounding scenery. The second core of the building hosts a tranquil, protected and introverted outdoor working space, surrounded by study and presentation rooms.
In a very interesting and strictly analytical exercise, OMAâ€™s Seattle Public Library is untangled and its functional stacking, interior zoning, circulation and facade system virtually relived. Simplified diagramatic representations are then reproduced showing the buildings basic elements and envelope. Following an understanding, the Library is finally modelled.
A design studio addressing the malfunctioning of the Maspero district in the heart of Cairo. The project transforms the area into a mixed use district.
An issue of the German architectural magazine Bauwelt, focusing on the post-revolutionary architectural scene in cairo. I illustrated the maps of the city.
An internship surving as the exact parallel real onground project of the previous design studio, facilitating the shift between academics and practice.
A 6 months internship in the internationally operating architectural practice based in Munich, under Markus Allmann, Amandus Sattler and Ludwig Wappner.
Bachelor Project which takes a holsitic approach in upgrading an informal settlement , addressing layers of social, historical, economical and physical importance.
Crowning of the four year benchmark of the GUC architectural department, the exhibition in the wechsel Raum featured my bachelor project.
The ‘Maspero Traingle’ is a district right in the heart of Cairo, by the Nile. The basis of this project is the existing extreme seperation, condradictions and malfunctioning between the different users of the area. A row of skyscrapers, including govermental institutions and high end hotels tower the waterfront, blocking the housing of the poor community behind them. The core of an ‘informal settlement’ is literally blocked by high fences and they have no direct access to the river. This project aims to solve the problem, in concept, by tranfering the housing core in the middle into a mixed use area, where the primary use is not only residential, but also commercial and cultural. The area starts to have different users at different times of the day, making it more lively and safe. New standards of minmum appropriate housing applied and slightly higher income levels injected in. The area becomes a diverse city center attractive to the different levels of the community.
A set of guidlines were developed generally for the whole area and made into a booklet. One street was taken as a pilot project. The framework covers pivotal factors such as percentages of uses, maximum heights, allowable setbacks, roof use and facade transperancy. The aim of their application is the attainment of the mixed use atmosphere making the area more attractive to all stakeholders. Although, no specific architecural detailing was made, the general street atmosphere is presented.
The area starts to have different users at different times of the day. Each with a different cycle of operation, between housewives, children going to school and playing on the streets, residents working in the work shops, running shopping errands, shop visitors walking through the area, customers of the different restaurants coffeeshops, wokrers at the governmental instutions walking to and from work. Drived mainly by the diversity of uses, especially on the ground floor and its maintainance with transparent and intersting facades, makes the area automatically much more lively and attractive to walk through. That also means more shop owners have eyes on the street and it also becomes more interesting for the residents to watch. With more watchers, it also becomes a mucher safer environemnt. New standards of minmum appropriate housing are then applied to upgrade the existing community housing or to build newer houses for them and, in addition, slightly higher income levels injected in. A second level of development is created through roof garden and private or pulic roof uses. The residents become more proud of their area, get a new sense of empowerment. The walkable warm atmosphere of a city center is suddenly available.
An on-ground project run by MADD Platform, a local non-governmental intiative that works on participatory design in low-income areas, one of which is precisely where the previous Maspero design studio took place. It facilitated a shift from behind the safe academic walls to the parallel real project running on ground. I participated for three weeks as a full-time member of the project team, then maintained contact to MADD throughout my bachelor project; relying on their accurate surveying efforts and statistics and contributing diagramatic and graphical representations to their output.
The aim of this project is to experiment with possible approaches there are to upgrade Bulaq Abu El Ela. It is a neighborhood that holds significance as a case study not only because it represents a sample of the widely spreading but poorly understood and handled â€œinformalityâ€? within Cairo (hence, the title), but also because it is situated in a prime location within the city, carrying many overlapping layers of geographical, social, historical, and economic importance and contrasting interests. The project takes a somewhat holistic approach covering a wide basis of research and understanding of the existing sitiuation, then suggesting solutions on the scale of area, and on the scale of single units.
Then, on the scale of a single street, Atta Ahmed St., which is taken as a model for the area, a solution is put forward which maintains the existing urban fabric by keeping key buildings that hold significant historical value, while transforming the area altogether into a mixed-use neighborhood as part of a vibrant downtown; By re-densifying and by injecting new commercial units and new appropriate housing for the community, housing that attracts a slightly higher income level into the area, and by adding new cultural nodes and public spaces.
NEW PUBLIC SPACES
Parallel to that, economic models for the entire area are suggested. These would use the existing potentials in the area to generate a source of income that would help make a transformation like this more feasible on the longer term possible. An example of the models is implyng the concept of coorporate social responsibility; the towering hotel situated just adjacent to Bulaq Abu El Ela, has an ariel view overlooking the roofs of the area, and would pay for the installation of green roofs in exchange for a beautiful back view from the overlooking rooms. Thus, both parties benefit in a sustainable model as such.
The project takes a final focus, on the smaller scale, on 3 architectural pilot interventions of architectural design to assess how each design can be appropriate for their diverse range of users and fit within its complex surroundings: a single-family house targeting the existing community, a plot where 3 alternatives are made: trendy shared housing, an artist workspace, a sewing company. The third is a higher level income apartment building.
After four years of the founding of the Architecture and Urban Design Program in the German University in Cairo, a critical and sentimental pause and look back was due. The sum of the work was exhibited in the Wechsel Raum, an architectural exhibition space in the heart of Stuttgart. The backdrop for most of the projects is Cairo, a rapidly developing metropolis of some 20 million inhabitants, where things are not always easy, but always thrilling. With a couple of students, I was responsible of assiting in preping the exhibition space and setting up the layout and story line of the presentation boards. My Bachelor project, Cairene Vibe (the previous project) was featured as part of the exhibition.
The â€˜Bauweltâ€™ is a periodic german architectural magazine that has one of the largest portions in job market of German architectural journals. This specific was featuring and focusing on the city of Cairo and the Cairene architectural scene and the phenomena of Informal housing and the Non-governmental parrallel architectural practices that have been springing around the city to interact with the informal practice and put their expertise to practice. Special foucs is given to the developments in the post-revolution time. I was asked to illustrate the map of cairo showing a focus on some these instances of informality and their respective projects.
Ac k n ow l e d g e m e n t : In the four previous projects at ASW my role has been of an intern within a bigger team of architects. The size of the teams ranged between 1 to 3 architects with 1 or 2 interns. I was generally involved in team design-research, discussions and design developed and assigned different tasks from 2d drawings, 3d visiualization to model making. The previous pictures show only precisely my input in the projects. All the drawing, visuals and models have been done by myself in the context of bigger and more complex project.
A design-build workshop joining Egyptian and German students to improve courtyards of 2 public schools in Cairo, with students and teachers participation.
A Comission centered around the idea of resetteling returning Syrian refugees. The task including basic urban clustering in addition to attractively presenting the idea.
An internship at S.L. Rasch GmbH in the modelling department of the office. Given the space to do a personal project, a freeform shell is designed and built.
Between personal portraits, moving subjects, buildings and landscaping, different samples of freehand drawing are exhibited to show the diversity in the skill.
A workshop with the aim of improving courtyards of public primary schools in Cairo which took place in Autumn 2012. The project was organized by the German University in Cairo under the direction of Barbara Pampe and Vittoria Capresi. During the twleve intense days of the studio, eleven students from Germany, twenty-five from Egypt worked together with a team of professors and experts from different fields to realise through participation with the children and teachers a new playing landscape in the courtyards of two Public primary schools.
Given only a verbal description of a concept of the resettlemnt hosing pilot project next to the Syrian border, and simple unit design, my task was to develop urban clustering to present the idea attractively , for a donorâ€™s presentation.
The project was to be carreid out in Compressed Mud blocks, a cheap, and socially / environmentally sustainable material. The basic stages of construction (concrete foundations, Mud blocks walls, and wood roofing) were shown to explain the simplicity of the process for a non-technical audience. Additional diagrams exhibited a cluster environmental advantages.
An internship at S.L. Rasch GmbH in the modelling department of the office. Given the space to do a personal project of preference, a freeform shell is designed digitally and then laser printed on PVC, assembled and sprayed.