Building in Cairo, building over Cairo
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Maurice K. Smith.
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The section of the Medieval city of Cairo centered around Shari' AI Moe'iz which connects the Northern gate of Bab AI Futuh with the Southern gate Bab Zowayla, is now known as AI Gamaliya. From the time the city of Cairo was laid-out, in 969 A.D. to the arrival of European colonialism with the Napoleonic Campaign. AI Gamaliya has been the site for buildings that serve as superb examples of the formal beliefs. technical capabilities and social patterns of the respective eras that built them. For this project, I have elected to inhabit the now empty pockets that riddle this dense and seemingly homogeneous environment. in an effort to place an architecture of the late twentieth century among the historic struCtures of Shari' Al Moe'iz. Fundamental to this effort is a definition of a contemporary formal vocabulary that would be in harmony with those historic vocabularies which exist. Many of the elements of the various styles. From Fatimid to Mamluke, such as arches and vaults were a direct result of technical limitations, others such as the distinctive mashrabiya screens were an accommodation of social patterns, while the gilt inscription band carried from one building to the other down Shari' Al Moe'iz served as religious icon. The power of such elements lies in their historic integrity as direct expressions of climatic. technological and social conditions of their time. The mere replication of existing or historic formal vocabularies or the reorganization of such vocabularies in a pastiche of iconic elements to house current uses totally alien to them, does not adequately satisfy the conditions of our time. The issues involved are simultaneously simpler and more profound Climate remains a powerful factor but the availability of materials and technology offers opportunities until recently unknown. The cultural or behavioural patterns which simultaneously inspired and resulted from these historic struCtures prompts a recognition of formal, particularly dimensional concerns. and the exigencies of modem life, as mundane as vehicular access and parking on streets designed only for pedestrians, present an additional set of requirements to which we must respond. This thesis is an attempt to manifest an understanding of these conditions. as a result of observation, and, based on such understanding. to develop formal principles, which offer a transformation of the traditional as well as a reflection of the contemporary.
Thesis (M. Arch)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1987.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCH.Includes bibliographical references (p. 41).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology