Architecture for New Desert Communities: Design Guidelines for Sustaining an Emergent Tradition in South Tahrir, Egypt

By Menna Dessouki, Rola Haroun, Mostafa Kholeif, Jayda Hany and Al-Hassan Abo Elrouss.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

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

In an attempt to solve problems of overpopulation, the rise of informal settlements, and the paving away of agricultural land on Egypt’s Nile Delta, the Egyptian government has begun relocating delta dwellers into the desert. However, many of the government’s attempts at doing so have not been successful enough to instigate change. The purpose of this research is to investigate how architecture may be used as a driving force in attracting delta farmers to relocate to the desert. A case study in Khartoum village in South Tahrir was conducted. Two architectural design problems were identified within the architecture built by the Khartoum villagers for themselves: an environmental and a contextual one. The existing architecture does not make good use of the natural resources available to the area and does not reflect the character and traditions of its inhabitants. To attract delta dwellers to move to this area, the research proposes the design of a new self-sustaining village that includes architecture that solves the two previously mentioned problems. The environmental design problem was solved mainly via the implementation of a climatic hybrid envelope; meanwhile the contextual design problem was solved via the integration of the villagers’ habits and traditions into the space program. According to interviews with the Khartoum villagers, the new extension should consist of housing, a school, clinic, community center, and souk (marketplace). The architectural design of the new village will sustain an emergent tradition. The research defines this emergent tradition as a culture of self-reliance, collaboration, and productivity which prevents the reliance on external sources to support living. The proposed village will act as a new nucleus that will support Khartoum and other surrounding villages, and will attract delta farmers to move to it.

Keywords: Architecture, Context, Desert, Design, Environment, Traditions

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.81-105. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.452MB).

Menna Dessouki

BSc Graduate, Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Menna Dessouki graduated from the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in June 2012.

Rola Haroun

BSc Graduate, Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Rola Haroun graduated from the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in June 2012.

Mostafa Kholeif

BSc Graduate, Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Mostafa Kholeif graduated from the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in June 2012.

Jayda Hany

BSc Graduate, Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Jayda Hany graduated from the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in June 2012.

Al-Hassan Abo Elrouss

BSc Graduate, Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Hassan Abou Elrouss graduated from the American University in Cairo, Egypt with a B.Sc. in Architectural Engineering in June 2012.