The Rehabilitation of Sednaoui Al Khazendar and the Khazendar Square: An Attempt to Revive Egypt’s Belle Époque

By Ebtissam Moustapha.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Egypt enjoys a great diversity of architectural heritage. Recently, interest in the architecture heritage of the 19th and 20th Century is gaining a wide audience. Cairo’s unique historic CBD, recognized for its distinctive urban fabric and architectural features, has a vital need for enhancement. It was decided to tender an architectural/urban competition, aiming to reach the best architectural solutions, rehabilitate and restore the significant heritage “Sednaoui” building to become a major marketing complex for cultural and art products and to propose the finest urban solutions for its surrounding context. It was thereby decided to develop “Al khazendar” square, one of the major historic squares in “Al Mosky” district. This winning proposal presents an extremely challenging example as it touches upon yet another surviving listed colonial architectural witness to Egypt’s elongated Belle Époque on one hand and the way it has been interpreted and used by the locals on the other. The building and the adjacent square, right by the north border of Al Attaba district, are part of Cairo’s European built environment. The cultural spirit of that era allowed Egypt and the Egyptians to be up to international standards in terms of art, architecture, fashion, trade, and communication among many more. Innovation is needed especially in adaptive reuse, upgrading, and new additions in valuable areas. This paper debates that conserving urban and architecture heritage, especially of this period, does not necessarily mean freezing the past and copying old solutions for new problems. This would be fulfilled through innovative activities, and appropriate architectural solutions, that would enhance its aesthetic and heritage quality, aiming to understand the history and significance of the place, enhancing of environmental and social conditions in the area surrounding the building leading to social, economic, environmental and heritage sustainability.

Keywords: Competition, Rehabilitation, Heritage

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.125-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 44.056MB).

Dr. Ebtissam Moustapha

Assistant Professor, Architecture Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

I was born in Cairo 1978 and have a B.F.A. from Alexandria University in 2000 and a PhD degree fine arts from Alexandria University in 2007. Currently I have position as an assistant professor at the Department of Arhitecture.

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