Pedro B. Ortiz
The urban fabric before demolition.
Quite an Arab/Egyptian tight urban structure out of cultural and climatic character.
I did walk around. Derelict but fascinating.
The Foster project understood and preserved that in the proposed new rational fabric. What a pity the actual official project.
I cry for you Cairo
Pedro B. Ortiz
location in central Cairo.
I was the President of the Jury 4 years ago. I was proud of the Jury decision.
The Foster and Partners project was quite good. (above photo).
It blended all types of housing typologies to allow actual slum settlers to stay in the area. But that is not what they are doing.
The actual project is a series of international corporate architecture blocks (below photo). A project eager to give an image of ‘modern international’ Egypt.
Egypt is not London.
Egypt is more than that.
Do the Egyptians understand that or it is an inferiority complex what makes them try to like like the ones they wrongly admire?
I am very sorry for Cairo…
I had addressed their issue several times while it was progressing..
Unfortunately, urban preference is not usually an economic or political one.. I understand that there were 3 parameters that were not shared with the competitors or the jury:
1. Cairo CBD should be cleared from low-income residential to allow for comprehensive face-lift, considering land value and tourist use
2. Development conglomerates offered high bids for regeneration and developing the ancient planned parts (Not slums but deteriorated townships). Then legal and administrative mechanism works hard.
3. Influential Egyptian architects and urbanists were unable to educate the government for adequate and practical solutions.
Like any other 3rd world government, welfare is not preserving old urban patterns, but to feed bellies and shelter increased populations
It is a true dilemma, and a daily de-facto situation
Then legal and administrative mechanism had delivered the necessary land-pooling.
In Egypt, since Ottoman era, all land are owned by military, unless set within recognized urban borders. This had enabled the Land Managers to be skillful, while ruled all new developments since 1970. During the eviction process, many abuse and frauds had been recorded; while both government and NGOs had stretched their muscles.. Of course, government wins.
Dubai Syndrome had mutated the inexperienced urban managers across the 3rd world; provide any easy formula of Political, PR and Business WOW factors.. Egyptian managers are no exception due to many historical, bureaucratic and system glitches.
However, the syndrome had been hardly criticized among the efficient Asian managers; who were pioneers in rapid urban developments, based on technical skills, economic resources and mature real estate mechanism..!
Maspero Triangle was not the First, nor the Last..!