New Cairo, Egypt
2019 - Present
- Urban Design
ONCairo is a sprawling city in the desert initially designed to accommodate the growing Egyptian capital city of nearly 10 million inhabitants. The initial result has largely yielded an unsustainable model for contemporary urbanism: glass boxes built within gated communities connected by large highways, powered and cooled by fossil fuel.
SvN’s design response is a counterpoint to this logic. Our challenge is to reconnect this 28-acre site to its local environment by harnessing the local hot and dry climate. An overabundance of sun and heat, the extreme lack of water, and the northerly breeze’s inherent cooling potential comprise the primary “materials” shaping this masterplan.
The impetus for this project centres around two Venturi parks, micro-climatic devices that utilize the cooling capacity of air currents to distribute them across the site. These parks establish the project’s main public spaces: one is a dense forest providing a shaded zone with native species; the other is a linear urban plaza built using local limestone and punctuated with edible gardens. A “water budget" defines the landscape—a finite resource consisting of the greywater for onsite re-use.
The mixed-use program consists of 800 residences, offices, a community/health centre, food market, retail, mosque, church and recreational centre.
The architecture draws inspiration from intensive research of the local vernacular design and its centuries-old logic for passive cooling. Wind catchers will cool public and office buildings. The massing and façade of the residential buildings are perforated by large voids to disperse the wind through internal circulation spaces and units to minimize air conditioning use.
The project’s infrastructure embeds several principles of responsible circular economy principles while reducing energy use, water demand, and waste. All the roofs are used for photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity onsite with a planned 4MW installation—the largest in Egypt for a single residential project.
- Trinity Design, Landscape
- Arup, Sustainability