Location Cairo, Egypt
Total GFA 500,000 sq.m
Client Ministry of Culture, Egypt
In Citadel of Cairo building, around 800 years ago, Saladin realised something commonly forgotten today: urban life is a metabolism. Just like a body, the city cannot survive without the transport of life’s necessities. By connecting two points such as a water source and those who
need it, a linear path transmitting life is created. In antiquity an aqueduct served as a linear catalyst for life¬–restored to convey both water and people–and now Cairo’s Lifeline functions as a linear park for the city offering public space and connectability. It aims to create a linear
landscape intentioned to breathe life into the heart of the city, and also reflect heritage, history, culture, and human interaction. Looking back at history and forward into the future, this landscape reflects the connection between what was before and what is to come in the urban fabric of a vast city. The “Hadiqat Alqalea”–or Citadel Park–catalyses life in the neighbourhood, energizes the park, and connects to local archaeological heritage. It is a live site, as its secrets and treasures are constantly revealed, resulting in a living memorial to the urbanism of the past. Reflecting a traditional vernacular design, the remainder district coalesces around tightly massed courtyards that follow the establishment of the Lifeline. These are connected by secondary pedestrian Lifelines in the form of tree-lined sikkas that serve both to unify the district, and connect residential and commercial districts. By existing under basement parking garages, they can be fully pedestrianised, recalling the 5,000 years of non-motorised habitation in Cairo’s history.
At the heart of Cairo’s Lifeline, we also find sustainability in its constructions and design itself. Material for the towers’ construction is acquired from sustainably farmed cross laminated timber along the River Nile, while energy and water are harvested on site as well. Building-integrated photovoltaic windows provide power from sunlight, while water comes from both the aqueduct and through atmospheric harvesting on rooftops. Linear parks along the landscaped line also allow for food to be grown, and in each subdistrict, four floors of one building provide 6,000m2 of vertical farm area. This allows the production of 850,000 kg of fresh organic food per yearfor its residents. Cairo’s Lifeline honours the spirit of Saladin and his desire to make the metabolism of Cairo sustainable. We aim to ensure the Lifeline shows the future of the city while simultaneously celebrating its past.