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Workshop: UrbanFormHub, Cairo University and KTH Stockholm

By on May 28, 2015

A sketch for a new Capitol Centre for Cairo April 2015 – Linking New Cairo with Cairo

Professor Alexis Pontvik KTH Urban Design, Royal Institute of Technology

Professor of Architecture & Urban Design Sahar Attia from Cairo University

Coordinators: Ingy Barmelgy and Nourhan Abdel-Rahman

The workshop had the aim to discuss current issues on urban design on a conceptual level. During 5 days the KTH and Cairo University students debated and collaborated on an urban large-scale project outside Cairo. The workshop was intertwined with study trips to the site in question and to neighboring New Cairo and other relevant references. Other study trips were made to Old Cairo and main Islamic monument and the main Egyptian sites around Cairo, Giza and Sakkara. The meeting between students with different background and values were highly rewarding. The Egyptian students provided the KTH students with valuable first hand material.

The project will be completed in Stockholm, where there will be a further encounter between the students. The KTH students continued their study anther five days on a trip to Luxor and Aswan.


The task

The task was to conceive an alternative to ‘a new financial capital city dream in the desert’ recently conceived. The students instead created a conceptual scheme based on reading the location, aiming for pragmatism and sustainability. The site chosen laid between suburban New Cairo (2000), an informal settlements and Nasser City (1960), a dense gridded cityscape.


The task was demanding; requiring making strategic decisions on a very large-scale site, identifying existing typologies and main routes of communication, analyzing existing borders and patterns and to decide how to extend them in a meaningful way. The task also involved sketching up a series of large volumes representing a governmental quarter, financial quarters and divide up the large site in neighborhoods of an adequate and realistic size.


The analysis of the site began with identifying existing patterns surrounding the un-built areas. Analysing main existing- and testing new arteries of communication towards central Cairo. It may involve some Haussmanian insertions to liberate Cairo from its straightjacket, Cairo shall not be left aside for a dream in the desert!