Nabil Gholam architects has designed the Cairo Eastown residential project located in the residential area of the Cairo Eastown development; bordered by a pedestrian green spine, the plots are structured around a central green space that is shared between the different clusters. The plots benefit from a strategic view towards a public green space.
The massing of the project is a result of a combination of different pre-existing as well as newly introduced guidelines:
The existing site particularities: the concern to work with and enhance the overall landscaping strategy proposed for the whole development (the landscaping stripes, the serpentine pathway, the parks)
Flexibility: The overall project being at an early stage, flexibility becomes a concern to be able to accommodate possible changes without sacrificing the project’s integrity. This has been incorporated on different levels.
On the level of the building bars: the project was conceived as a pilot sample for future implementation for the adjacent plots. The flexibility of the building bars is obtained by having it at various lengths to accommodate for different combinations of apartment types, creating internal protected green zones, alleys and passageways, avoiding the street-front barrier effect. The model of the building bars configuration allows for adaptive repetition at other instances in the residential district of the development.
On the level of the apartments: the flexibility is carried through to the different apartment types. The building unit is a bar of 5.4m x 16m. When combined with a core it generates the 1 bedroom apartment type. Joining two building units creates the 2 bedroom apartment type, three units for 3 bedroom and 4 units for four. The combined units are designed to slide horizontally in 2 directions resulting in a protrusion from the façade plane as a natural extension of the interior living spaces, working as an inside-outside room allowing for view corridors along the sides of the building bars. The same slide makes way on the opposite end for a space that works as a recessed loggia.
The frontage of the building bars differ on both ends of the project: the park front and the road front. At the park front the buildings are bridged to have more apartments with full exposure to the park, with the ground floor left free to create underpass connecting physically and visually to the internal gardens. At the road front the building blocks are worked to have the least exposure to the public highway and more to the internal gardens.
The apartments are an interpretation of the Mediterranean living. Central hall, cross ventilated and double exposure apartments are offered in most of the apartments.
Deep balconies, terraces, and external living rooms become a natural extension of the interior.
Modern interpretations of some vernacular elements are incorporated. The mousharrabiyye, the protruding kiosk, the underpasses and the gallery spaces.
The number of apartments using the same building service core is minimized in order to achieve a higher standard of luxury and privacy.
Sustainability and Environmental Concerns
Modularity: For ease of manufacturability, ease of upgrade, and cut down of waste and energy consumption. This increases the sustainability by reducing the re-design cycle in case of replacing, or upgrading or customizing. This advantage lies in the fact that a product can be designed to have many options that the customer can choose from without having to make custom modifications. A base unit designed, could accommodate many number of options.
Each option can then be designed independently and if changes to that design are needed, only that particular module is affected.
Most of the residences have double exposure, creating cross ventilation in the apartments in order to offer a higher level of comfort, and minimize on air conditioning and electricity consumption during the warm season.
A system of façade glazing and shading is studied in order to maximize views yet minimize the heat absorption of the buildings. Deep windows, adaptable louvers and operable panels are provided to best serve the end user’s comfort.
The green roof: Besides the aesthetic benefits of being surrounded by gardens, the ecological and economic benefits include the recovery of green space, helping to stabilize the temperature inside the buildings by absorbing temperature extremes, improving rain water management, water and air purification, and a reduction in energy consumption. In addition, green roofs have a longer life-span in their ability to absorb radiations that tend to deteriorate roof membranes.
The roof gardens and terraces are sheltered with solar tube pergolas. This system benefits from the all year long sun of Cairo in order to provide low energy water heating.
+ Project credits / data
Architecture and Urban Planning: Nabil Gholam architects
3D images: nabil gholam architects and Naji Sleiman
Client: Solidere International and SODIC