Dubai Based architects Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid along with Steven Velegrinis, Drew Gilbert & Abdelrahman Magdy have unveiled “LifeLines,” their vision for the future of Cairo. Centered on the idea of connecting people with water, a series of lines and paths are laid over the city to serve as a catalyst for development.
An aqueduct serves as the scheme’s primary lifeline, a life-preserving system forming a linear park and connective tissue for the city. The “hadiqat alqalea” (Citadel Park) forms an intersection with the aqueduct to catalyze life in the district. In doing so it energizes the park and connects to the Archaeological Heritage of the site. The park is alive archaeological park, continually having its secrets of antiquity revealed. The park is a live exploration of the palimpsest that is Cairo.
With the key LifeLines established, the remainder of the district coalesces around tightly massed courtyards that repeat the grain size of the old city. These courtyards form metabolic cells that are connected by the secondary pedestrian LifeLines – the tree-lined pedestrian “Sikkas” that unify the district and connect the residential and commercial districts. The districts are formed over basement parking garages allowing the LifeLines to be fully pedestrianized, recalling the non-motorized history of Cairo’s 5000-year history of habitation.
The buildings are defined by the metabolic life of materials. All the towers are built from a Cross Laminated Timber construction from sustainably farmed source timber plantations in the Nile Valley. Energy and water are harvested on site and provide for a minimum of 25% of the district’s requirements. Energy is harvested through photovoltaic windows and water is harvested both from the aqueduct and through atmospheric water harvesting equipment on all roofs.
The linear parks along the “Hadiqat Alqalea” are planted with multi-culture oases providing year-round food sources grown on site. In each subdistrict, four floors of one building provide 6000 square meters of vertical farm space, providing 850,000 kilograms of fresh organically grown food per year for each sub-district.