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Sanctuary, Safe Haven Medical Retreat

Part 2 Project 2013
Azza El-Nahas
Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, Egypt
Nowhere to go but up... Not just an optimistic view of the many hurdles we face in our lives; but also a rather popular visualization of "future architecture". With an ever-growing world population, and land becoming more precious with every passing day, in many regions of the world the introduction of "vertical communities" becomes imperative. Unlike the more iconic/sculptural quality of western skyscrapers, a noticeable shift has been occurring within Asia and the Middle East, with designs that focus more on sustainable and contextual approaches, resulting in the emergence of "local skyscrapers".

Our studio was based on the exploration of different approaches to the design, as well as development of a locally inspired mixed-used high-rise building in Egypt. The design had to be directly influenced by the urban, environmental and socio/cultural aspects of the context. Moreover, The building should not only be iconic, but also "an active ingredient of its social/urban setting". The introduction of a project of this magnitude into an appropriate setting became a major concern. An intensive series of research into possible justified site locations ensued. The aim was to locate a site that could not only encompass the incorporation of such a large scale project, but also to provide enough character, stimulation as well as restrictions, to help mould and "localise" the design.

The site I finally chose was located in Al-Mansura, a city with much history and a colourful heritage; But, most importantly, a city which was well on its way to become Egypt's first "medical city". I was inspired to design a building that fulfils some of the more urgent needs mentioned by local residents, as well as concluded within our own studies. My goal was to create a catalyst of development that attracts local and international individuals and organizations into the city. Thus, not only re-establishing Al-Mansura's image as a potential medical city, but also taking it one step further into realising this much awaited dream.

Azza El-Nahas


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