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Pyramids of Giza, Giza - c. 2589-2504 B.C.
Nouran Abdelhamid's picture

Architecture to Connect: Egypt

The end of my 16 year long formal education was the best thing to happen to my appetite for knowledge. In November of 2020, I moved back to Cairo after a year long stay in San Antonio as a 'cultural and educational exchange visitor' to intern at Lake Flato. And boy was there a lot of culture and education to be exchanged. 

Working with the wonderful architects and designers at Lake Flato has taught me so much that I could have never learned in school. Beyond learning about the technical skills necessary to bring a design to fruition, it reinforced in my mind just how much of a connection the buildings we create have with the history of not only a singular person, but more importantly, a community of people. The way Lake Flato has been able to shape much of the entire city of San Antonio (and Austin) through its interventions could not have been more apparent.  

So much so that when I moved back to Cairo, the structures I had grown so accustomed to had a newfound meaning to me. And I began researching them from a whole new lens. The architectural history of Egypt, like that of the USA, is not a body of knowledge that could ever be distilled into a single PowerPoint presentation, but that didn’t stop me from trying anyway. 

A few weeks ago, I shared some buildings with the Eco Conservation studio. That included both some I had always admired and some I was beginning to admire, some I had visited and some I hoped to visit someday, and some that were personal to me and some I knew were personal to so many others. My hope was to try and reciprocate the feeling of inclusion I was made to feel in a community many held dear, both when I was in it, but even months after I had left and was zooming into it from miles away. 

It has become more apparent to me than ever, that architecture has as much of an ability to divide as it does connect. It is my hope to always be able to use it to connect.  

Below are most of the works I shared by governate, should you feel inclined to learn more about them: 

Cairo:

Pyramids of Giza, Giza - c. 2589-2504 B.C.  

The Sphinx, Giza - c.2500 B.C. 

The Sphinx, Giza - c.2500 B.C.
 

The Pyramid of Djoser/Saqqara, Giza - c. 2600 B.C. 

The Pyramid of Djoser/Saqqara, Giza - c. 2600 B.C.
 

The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza - 2012-TBD  

The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza - 2012-TBD
 

Nilometer, Rawdah Island (Central Cairo) - 861  

Nilometer, Rawdah Island (Central Cairo) - 861
 

Cairo Tower, Zamalek - 1956-1961 

Cairo Tower, Zamalek - 1956-1961
 

Cairo Opera House, Zamalek - 1985-1988 

Cairo Opera House, Zamalek - 1985-1988
Cairo Opera House, Zamalek - 1985-1988

Manial Palace, Old Cairo - 1899-1929 

Manial Palace, Old Cairo - 1899-1929
 

The Hanging Church, Old Cairo - 690-692 

The Hanging Church, Old Cairo - 690-692
 

Souq El Fustat, Old Cairo - 2001-2002 

Souq El Fustat, Old Cairo - 2001-2002
 

The American University in Cairo (AUC), New Cairo - 1919 

The American University in Cairo (AUC), New Cairo - 1919

Baron Palace, Heliopolis - 1907-1911 

Baron Palace, Heliopolis - 1907-1911
 

Al-Azhar Mosque, El-Darb El-Ahmar - 970 

Al-Azhar Mosque, El-Darb El-Ahmar - 970
 

Our Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral, Heliopolis - 1913 

Our Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral, Heliopolis - 1913
 

Ittihadia Palace, Heliopolis - 1910 

Ittihadia Palace, Heliopolis - 1910

Khan El Khalili, El-Gamaliya - c. 1300s 

Khan El Khalili, El-Gamaliya - c. 1300s
 

Cultural Center by Ahmed Hossam Saafan, Fustat - 2019 

Cultural Center by Ahmed Hossam Saafan, Fustat - 2019
 

New Administrative Capital by ACUD - 2015-TBD 

New Administrative Capital by ACUD - 2015-TBD

Alexandria:

Citadel of Quitbay - 1477 

Citadel of Quitbay - 1477
 

Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa - c. 100s 

Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa - c. 100s
 

Bibliotheca Alexandrina - 1995-2002 

Bibliotheca Alexandrina - 1995-2002

Ras El Tin Palace - 1834-1845 

Ras El Tin Palace - 1834-1845
 

Montazah Palace - 1892 

Montazah Palace - 1892

Sohag:

Basuna Mosque - 2019  

Basuna Mosque - 2019
 

Fayoum:

'Wadi Hitan' (Wale Valley) Fossil Museum - 2016 

'Wadi Hitan' (Wale Valley) Fossil Museum - 2016
 

Luxor:

Luxor Temple - c.1400 B.C. 

Luxor Temple - c.1400 B.C.
 

Karnak Temple - c. 2000 B.C. 

Karnak Temple - c. 2000 B.C.
 

Deir El-Bahari - 2050 B.C. 

Deir El-Bahari - 2050 B.C.
 

New Gourna by Hassan Fathy - 1945-1948 (unfinished) 

New Gourna by Hassan Fathy - 1945-1948 (unfinished)

Aswan:

Abu Simbel - c.1244 B.C. 

Abu Simbel - c.1244 B.C.
 

6th of October City:

Gardenia Park Compound - c. 2000

Gardenia Park Compound - c. 2000
  

 

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