Talking about Heritage. Bottom-up projects to rediscover the heritage of Downtown Cairo
Downtown Cairo is the district developed under the Khedive Ismaeil at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The city plan was inspired by the streets and squares pattern introduced by Haussmann in Paris, and several European, Egyptian and Levantine architects built in several phases palaces and apartments buildings using a stylistic vocabulary which referred to European, Ottoman and local architecture.
Nowadays Downtown is the main lively heart of the city, hosting small shops, offices, houses, cafes and restaurants in a complex social, religious and functional equilibrium. A general lack of regulations regarding how to deal with the heritage and an old rental system, which had frozen the fees since the 1950ies, are the main reasons for the neglect of the architecture and numerous demolitions of the old Ismaelia buildings.
The lecture will focus on several bottom-up projects started in Downtown (2012-2014) aimed at raising awareness for its tangible and intangible heritage
Vittoria Capresi has been senior researcher at the Habitat Unit / Chair of International Urbanism and Design at the Technical University of Berlin since October 2016, as a Principal Investigator of the International European Project MODSCAPES – Modernist Reinventions of the Rural Landspace, a fully granted HERA Project (2016-2019). Vittoria studied architecture at the University in Florence and at the Technical University in Berlin, before moving to Vienna to work as a Teaching Assistant (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter) at the Vienna University of Technology’s department of History of Architecture and Building Archaeology (2002-2011). Here she achieved her PhD with a research on the Italian rural centres built in colonial Libya. From 2011 until 2014 she was appointed as Associate Professor in History of Architecture and Urban Design at the German University in Cairo – GUC, where she funded “baladilab”, a spin-off project associated to the GUC, to work with students to discover and activate the hidden potentials of urban surroundings. Her main research interests are fascist architecture and urbanism, both in Italy and in the former colonies, strategies for sharing heritage to daily users and oral history methods related to social analysis and participatory urban design.
Organization: ESAP: MIA | Mestrado Integrado em Arquitetura; CEAA | Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo - Projeto MODSCAPES
Support: Erasmus ESAP - TUBerlim