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European Embassy

Part 1 Project 2002
Christopher Pyle
Newcastle University, UK
Europe in Africa.

The Present; a period of change and instability amongst the European countries, depicts a moment on the rise of a crest in the development of a Unified Nation. However, this wave is still unstable and subsequently every political step in response, will determine its height power and success.

As Architects we must respond to this change: To represent a Unified Europe within the concretion of architecture is not simply to reflect the immediate moment, but to express a desired vision of its development: Architecture is created by the moment to exist within the future.

The complexity of “architecture” to represent a “Unified Europe” is emphasised further when we place its proposed site in a foreign land… a land itself immersed rich in culture, tradition and history.

What then do we mean by a Unified Europe… how do we wish to represent it to the rest of the world… and how may we respond to the host… within an expression of architecture?

Europe shall be a United Nation, yet its diverse cultures, traditions and historical backgrounds mean that the individuality of each country must be protected. We may therefore identify the movement of Europe as: The diverse and multifarious language of vernaculars residing side by side upon a shared journey toward the same goal. The architectural form must therefore express these languages, whilst not sacrificing the underlying unified whole: To express a single identity; created by each European culture, held within an order.

This order is not to be born from the obscure view of a hierarchic Europe, but of the traditions and architecture of Egypt. From the geometry of the Pyramids and the linear progression of temples, to the grid of the Dead City and the chaotic disorder of market life, we inevitably, find order.

Finally, this Unified Europe will de a democracy within and without. Its architecture will respond to the culture of Egypt and its empathy and appreciation toward the monumental vernacular will be expressed. For only with a conscious mind toward each historic culture can the Embassy exist and the aims of a Unified Europe be Realised.

Christopher Pyle

The design for a European Embassy in Alexandria started with a strong idea about how to handle the site and building. Rather than seeing the building as a fragment of colonised territory, Chris arranged it so that the site was in effect 'given back' to the citizens of Alexandria. It is one of the few sites left along Alexandria's Mediterranean coast that is as yet unbuilt, and by sinking the building underground its openness is left palpable, while the opportunity was taken to make the space into a dynamic public landscape. The public and private functions of the embassy are skilfully organised, using courtyards and lightwells in such a way that the accommodation worked well environmentally - learning from traditional methods of climatic modification. The work submitted to explain the scheme was comprehensive and included some wonderful models that showed its creatively considered interior and exterior spaces.

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