Conservation Planning in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood
The Status of Activities of Urban Revitalisation in Historic Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar

Historic Cities Support Programme
Darb Al-Ahmar Community Development Co.
A subsidiary of Aga Khan Cultural Services - Egypt





ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................. SUMMARY .............................................. INTRODUCTION
Conservation and Revitalisation in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood

3 5

COMMUNITY PROFILE Social Survey ......................................... 76
Lifestyles and the Supportive Physical Environment ...........................


Types of Intervention Actions to be Applied in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood ........ Actions to preserve: Preventive maintenance and repair of elements Restoration Rehabilitation Adaptive re-use Reconstruction Actions to transform: Partial demolition Demolition without reconstruction Redevelopment New development


A Historical Perspective of al-Darb al-Ahmar .................................


SUMMARY OF PHYSICAL SURVEY Land Use .............................................. 22 Infrastructure and Services ........................ 26 Land Ownership and Tenure ..................... 30
Building Types in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood Significant Structures and Architectural Features

.............. 32

..................... 44 54 58 66

Case study 1: Rehabilitation Case study 2: Case study 3: Case study 4: Case study 5:

Assessing the Physical Condition of the Buildings ................................. An Assessment of the Transformations within the Built Environment ................. Street Morphology and Open Spaces ...........

..................... 107 Reconstruction .................... 119 New development ................. 129 Partial demolition ................. 135 Rehabilitation .................... 145

Continued on the following page




IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES ..... 156 Legal Considerations ............................... 160
Building Costs and Financial Mechanisms

BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................ 166 SUPPLEMENT
Building Inventory Sheets

Recommendations for Immediate Actions ......


Research, writing, design, production, and copy editing of the report by J. Allen, K. Ibraheem, S. El Rashidi, and D. Rodrigues. All illustrations, drawings, and photographs were produced by the team unless otherwise noted. Copyright 1999, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 1-3 Avenue de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Reproduction of this document in whole or in part is prohibited without the express consent of AKTC.

This technical report presents the status of activities currently being undertaken for the urban revitalisation of al-Darb al-Ahmar’s Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. who have been extremely helpful and very welcoming throughout the course of the work. Dina Shehayeb was responsible for the social survey and lifestyle assessment. Eric Baratta. as well as from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. are gratefully acknowledged. the Ministry of Culture. Egypt (AKCS-E). under the leadership of Francesco Siravo. Ashraf Abdu 3 . assisted by Sherif El Wagih. Kareem Ibraheem.C R E D I T S A N D A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S conducted the demographic survey. Gaballa Ali Gaballa. directed by Dr. Additional photographs of the study area were provided by Hussein Aga Khan. Senior Project Officer. Frank Matero of the University of Pennsylvania. The support and guidance received from the Governorate of Cairo. an interdisciplinary team from Aga Khan Cultural Services. and Dr. Abdelhalim Ibrahim Abdelhalim of Community Design Collaborative. Seif El Rashidi. AKTC. Stefano Bianca. and Maha Maamoun. and in particular its Secretary General Dr. and also contributed to the case studies and implementation strategies. and Debora Rodrigues. The study has been developed by Jeff Allen. The work is part of the planning and conservation efforts of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Historic Cities Support Programme. Special thanks are also due to Prof. This report could not have taken form without the assistance and cooperation of the residents of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. Dr.

leading to the expulsion of both the current residents and the existing activities. a section of historic Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar district. first as a area that is both socially and environmentally fragile: marginal settlement on the outskirts of Cairo. many of east of al-Darb al-Ahmar. the initiative by the Aga Khan Trust for The report is divided into an Culture (AKTC) and the introduction and seven Governorate of Cairo to create sections: the 36-hectare al-Azhar Park Although the Aslam Mosque still stands on top of the Darassa Hills. which is to become metropolitan Cairo’s its rise as a wealthy residential quarter. through al-Azhar Park. Awareness of these potential risks prompted AKTC to initiate a general investigation of the Darb al-Ahmar district and. speculative pressure may physical survey that was carried out in the soon determine a pattern of uncontrolled development neighbourhood in 1998. will no doubt represent a powerful late nineteenth century when it began to decline. neighbourhood as part of the the neighbouring buildings. the neighbourhood— like other areas of historic Cairo—has witnessed a decline in socio-economic conditions and an increasing deterioration of its building stock and infrastructure. CONTENT OF THE REPORT Today. neighbourhood. tenure. In recent years. and outlines possible strategies for the future rehabilitation of its traditional housing with the participation of the residents.S U M M A R Y T his report presents an investigation of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. including land use. BACKGROUND The Aslam Mosque neighbourhood is notable both for its turnof-the-century architecture and its role as a hub of artisanal activity. up until the major green space. 5 . • the introduction describes the after more than six hundred years. Unless held in check and properly channelled through a • section two presents the results of the detailed conscious planning effort. attraction and a catalyst for private investment. rehabilitation efforts in the Islamic Cairo. But the creation of the new park also presents serious risks for an • section one traces the history of the area. thus paving the way for a total substitution of the traditional urban fabric. This report presents the results of the survey on the pilot area and the initial conclusions regarding prospects and opportunities for future rehabilitation actions. in the area. in particular. have disappeared. to earmark the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood as a pilot initiative for the identification of planning policies and housing strategies aimed at the preservation and appropriate development of the entire area. by and large provides an opportunity for district and the larger context of constructed less than a century ago. however.

as well as available institutional and financing programmes that can be used to facilitate implementation. The report identifies nine levels of intervention subdivided into actions aimed at preserving the historic fabric and actions aimed at transforming individual buildings considered inappropriate or structurally unsafe. Darb Shoughlan. • the last section contains general recommendations for the neighbourhood. problems. infrastructure and public services.building types. Eventually. • section four identifies possible forms of intervention in the neighbourhood based on the quality and condition of its structures. Small trucks can often be seen bringing supplies to local workshops. (Opposite page) When local workshops are closed. These investigations complemented the information of the physical survey in order to reflect the way of life. • an unclear planning framework and general insecurity among the residents about their tenure status. The latter. income levels and tenure status. which can play a positive role in the future rehabilitation of the neighbourhood. is a centre of artisanal activity. • the lack of financial and credit mechanisms that can be used by the residents to finance the upgrading of their houses. As the five case studies indicate. CONCLUSION The physical and social investigations presented in this report emphasise the fact that the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood consists of a closely-knit 6 . there are a few major obstacles to the development of a long-term rehabilitation programme involving the residents: • the lack of technical advice. • section five contains detailed analyses of five properties in the study area that best reflect the diversity of urban issues found in the neighbourhood. security of tenure. In addition. is indicated as a major deterrent to direct investment. and expectations of the neighbourhood residents. which often has impeded the identification of potential structural problems in the buildings and their prompt resolution. Darb Shoughlan is transformed from a busy commercial thoroughfare to a quiet residential street. In its conclusions. However. similar strategies and methods can be adopted in the rehabilitation of other historic neighbourhoods in Cairo. • section six of the report assesses current building costs and reviews legal and financial aspects to identify and propose strategies that can be followed by the residents themselves to improve the quality and condition of their buildings. in particular. building conditions. • section three contains a demographic survey and lifestyle assessment. the neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare. the case studies presented in the report propose a series of models for housing rehabilitation and new construction that take into account residents’ lifestyles. as well as problems requiring urgent attention. a revision of the current planning regulations. most of the required interventions depend on improvements that can be undertaken through the use of local skills and resources and that can be afforded by the community. the report outlines the need for increased technical assistance. as well as suitable housing finance options. community that is determined to continue to live in the area and willing to invest directly in the rehabilitation and upkeep of the existing houses. open spaces.

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Following a detailed survey of both the social and physical fabric of a small neighbourhood within greater al-Darb al-Ahmar—a district occupying a strategic position at the heart of Islamic Cairo—the plan exemplifies a procedure for assessing existing social and physical conditions and recommends methods for appropriate interventions. towards the distant summit of the Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali Pasha. has had minimal impact in the centuries since the closure of Bab alMahruq. a major thoroughfare that runs parallel to the historic wall from the vicinity of the Blue Mosque to Aslam Square. Hozayen alleyway to the south. At Aslam Square. Of secondary importance is a road leading west to Bab Zuwayla. BACKGROUND Located at the eastern edge of the Fatimid city. The Ayyubid city wall. 8 . bordering the Darb al-Ahmar district on the other side of the Ayyubid city wall. the Ayyubid city wall to the east. as well as to other parts of historic Cairo. the same approach can be applied to the rest of alDarb al-Ahmar.I N T R O D U C T I O N CONSERVATION AND REVITALISATION IN THE ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD T his pilot project focuses on the formulation of a detailed plan in which policies that have been identified at a general level are tested at the neighbourhood level. the Darassa Hills for centuries served as a dumping ground for the old city of Cairo. Without available and accessible destinations to the east. though historically important. Used as a model for future rehabilitation action in similarly distressed areas. The initiative by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Governorate of Cairo to transform this former dumping (Above) View from the dome of Aslam Mosque. an Ayyubid gate adjacent to the square. has created an impenetrable barrier to the urban expansion of al-Darb al-Ahmar. the primary arteries of Darb Shoughlan and Fatma al-Nabaweya converge from the south and link to form Abdallah al-Geuweiny Street. together with the Darassa Hills and cemetery that lie beyond. Bisecting the area is Darb Shoughlan. GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION Bounded by the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar to the north. past Aslam Square and Darb Shoughlan Street. the neighbourhood under investigation forms part of the eastern periphery of the Darb alAhmar district. street circulation in and out of the study area is predominantly of a north-south nature. which moves traffic northward and is the only major access to al-Azhar Street—arguably historic Cairo’s most important thoroughfare. which. and Fatma al-Nabaweya Street to the west.

9 . another project of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The two areas are divided by the historic Ayyubid wall. which leads to the Citadel in the distance.The study area (lower right) lies adjacent to the future al-Azhar Park (middle left). currently under construction in the Darassa Hills.

Not surprisingly. it nevertheless provides an accurate The built environment in the study area indication of the urban conditions prevalent in the consists of a combination of turn-of-the-century strip along the Ayyubid city wall.site into an urban park has prompted parallel rehabilitation efforts in the areas neighbouring the future al-Azhar Park. indicating the area can be treated as a semi-separate urban entity. the study community centre. Darb Shoughlan. among other things. presents practical rehabilitation proposals based on the actual needs of the residents. this area can clearly be defined as area also contains a fair amount of commercial a section of a commercial spine linking two important activity—many of the buildings on Darb Shoughlan community nodes: the current Aslam Square and the have shops and workshops at street level. structures that are no more than partial ruins. the housing units and post-war buildings. inadequate water and electricity supplies. In particular. Often. (In fact. THE STUDY AREA IN CONTEXT Like the rest of al-Darb al-Ahmar. With the current or more storeys. existence of commercial space even in non-commercial yet one that forms an integral part of east al-Darb albuildings. and institutional coordination are seen as fundamental components of the process. the study area is in urgent need of rehabilitation: dilapidated buildings. the study these shops are the residential units. while the latter are usually connects the neighbourhood square to a formerly vital built on larger and squarer plots of land and have four building. the adaptive re-use of the former Darb Shoughlan School.) al-Ahmar district. The former are area was chosen for encompassing a group of generally built on narrow plots of land and are usually residential and commercial buildings located along a two to three storeys high. project to transform the former local school into a Although predominantly residential. the square in front of the mosque is one of the most important centres of activity within the neighbourhood—numerous shops. community involvement. among them: the conservation of the Ayyubid city wall. Because of this. many craftsmen have its immediate vicinity. 10 . But particularly relevant to this pilot project are the efforts to implement clearly defined rehabilitation projects in smaller neighbourhoods. the Darb Shoughlan School. disintegrating sewers. often with cantilevered balconies. selected for this pilot project is space in this densely built-up only a small portion of the Darb neighbourhood. Darb Shoughlan. specifically. This planning approach. had to set up shop in the ruins of collapsed structures in order to stay close to Although the neighbourhood Aslam Square is the only open their homes and business contacts. and unsatisfactory rubbish disposal are a few commonly found problems. a bakery. which. offers a better chance of success than past attempts at comprehensive conservation planning. in many cases with section of an important spine. and the restoration of the Qaytbey complex. which is still being used for worship 600 years after its construction. Among the area’s most striking features is the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar. this neighbourhood is a lively community of residents and artisans who have a strong desire and the economic means to stay and invest in the area. a DEFINITION dye-house. in which the use of appropriate conservation methods. But like other parts of al-Darb al-Ahmar. which projecting upper floors. Above future community centre. and a Because of the shortage of proper OF BOUNDARY coffeeshop are all to be found in commerical space. Also used as workshops are the numerous Ahmar and.

ISLAMIC CAIRO AND ENVIRONS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The study area in context ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The Aslam Mosque neighbourhood is pictured below in orange (see the following page for a detailed map). Th eN ort he Bab al-Futuh rn Wa ll Bab al-Nasr To Attaba al-Khadra C A O I R Mosque of al-Hussein Midan Hussein C I Khan alKhalili M A L S Mosque and Khanqah of al-Ghuri To al-Tahrir Square Mosque of al-Azhar I Al-Azhar University Mosque of al-Muayyad Bab Zuwayla Mosque of al-Maridani To the Mosque of Sayyeda Zaynab T h e A y yu bi d W al l THE FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK Al-Mugawerin Cemetery Mosque of Aqsunqur Bab al-Wazir Mosque of ar-Rifa’i N Mosque of Sultan Hassan To the Mosque of Ibn Tulun THE CITADEL 0 100 200 300 400 500 Metres 11 .

TARGET NEIGHBOURHOOD STUDY MAP ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Building Identification Numbers ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ All of the buildings within the study area were assigned a number for easy identification. Information for each building was catalogued and transferred to a detailed inventory sheet and a specifically created database as a basis for the subsequent proposals for intervention. Ha ret Sa’ ad Alla h 170 169 hA l-G eu 168 we iny 111 da lla 125 112 113 117 115 116 203 204 Aslam Mosque Midan Aslam 211 172 143 144 146 147 489 151 150 499 181 182 114 133 134 137 135 139 138 141 142 Fa tm aA l-N ab wa ya 171 140 173 491 198 177 178 Dar bS hou ghl an AL-DARB AL-AHMAR AND ISLAMIC CAIRO 174 148 149 154 153 152 209 213 183 212 215 447 303 445 302 442 301 300 299 298 297 296 295 440 439 436 434 432 431 430 292 291 290 289 487 424 283 409 408 423 422 412 414 413 415 421 420 607 418 419 612 488 425 426 427 428 429 469 435 433 438 444 287 441 216 217 285 286 605 FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK 218 446 294 293 416 417 Th e Ay yu bi d 12 W al l 437 Ha ret As lam 131 132 136 448 Ab 130 196 .

substandard or information. date and type of construction. These were plotted on separate base maps of the area.they are converted into workshops to provide additional space for the large number of craftsmen residing in the area. The sample area for this housing stock is on average particular pilot initiative quite old. as evidence of serious structural problems. All of this information was transferred to a detailed inventory sheet as well as to a specifically created database. tenure. which often zigzag into innumerable dead ends. which are often placed in close proximity to one another on the neighbourhood’s narrow streets. The need to intervene is evident both in owner-occupied Of equal importance to the physical survey was METHODOLOGY and rented units. Although several of the buildings have deviated from traditional Islamic architecture with a more European-influenced design. and were instrumental in the subsequent definition of the criteria for intervention. comprehensive information on each building. The collapsed due to protracted deterioration and the 1992 physical survey also included a drawing of the earthquake. of ruins and vacant plots. evidence of includes approximately 125 buildings located in the recent transformations can frequently be observed. due to the imposition of rent controls and the insecurity of tenure. where buildings have extent of alterations. especially when coupled with buildings that have overhanging balconies or projecting upper floors. In some cases. as well as from the area’s high water table and poor namely its location. as well as the number of residents. use. although to understand the needs and desires of the AND FINDINGS houses occupied by tenants are area’s residents. The latter A survey sheet was used for recording is in part the result of damage from the 1992 earthquake. In order to the available space within the units to make room for update previous surveys and gather new expanding families. (This database can be expanded to accommodate additional categories and information. The proposed interventions are products that derive from the social setting usually in worse condition. Most buildings are inhabited but generally poorly maintained. The analysis of the study area’s streets and urban resulting vacant plots. are used to dispose of solid waste 13 . and the type of ownership and tenure for each building. the fate of abandoned ground plan for each building and a morphological properties has been collapse or demolition. ownership and plumbing. four team members conducted a field overcrowded housing conditions were found. and state of integrity. along Changes are usually aimed at subdividing or increasing the eastern portion of al-Darb al-Ahmar. condition. This creates one of the most striking features in the area. The based on input from the community. the state of integrity. The investigations of the physical fabric show a combination of different housing conditions as well as the presence of several ruined structures and empty plots.) Of particular relevance were the analyses on the typology. Almost always. vicinity of the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar. the neighbourhood has short and highly irregular streets. as well survey of the neighbourhood on a plot by plot basis. the arrangement of the area is less Europeanised: with the exception of a few thoroughfares. the state of conservation. however. neighbourhood. It is perhaps ironic that economic stagnation over the years has helped preserve the historic character of the streetscape. visible throughout the spaces. valuable The survey also identified a high percentage architectural features.

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They cite the proximity of work as well survey corresponded to the relative percentages of as the social support from their relatives and neighbours each of the major building types prevalent in the area. place of work. with the potential of unemployment is high. In-depth interviews of a smaller sample group helped In some cases. and vacant plots of land represent an opportunity for were surprising and defy the commonly held image of future residential development. sites for special revitalisation efforts: the various ruins The results of the social survey. where traditional values includes the Mamluk Mosque and a sense of community are of Aslam al-Silahdar (also often lacking. component. in fact. the families interviewed also noted as valued values. length of residence in When asked about the neighbourhood’s positive the area. and a general sense of security. as well as rent aspects. the northern marginal activities. expectations. and the neighbourhood is.and to store materials belonging to nearby workshops. assests the lack of vehicular traffic. and leaky roofs.) as reasons to stay. damp right. the survey showed former gate in the Ayyubid city that the adult population is wall and now overlooking a overwhelmingly employed in square of reasonable size. the high density of people and activities. in particular. fifty years. and. known as Aslam Mosque). walls. and to accommodate the residents. potential of becoming a link more. The Aslam Mosque while the many commercial neighbourhood. the proximity of services. for it has the lived in the area for thirty years or Those who have moved out of the area expressed their desire to return. the area. Their lists for house (Opposite page) This aerial view shows the density of the urban fabric of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. Contrary to these constructed adjacent to a perceptions. but of choice. Out of choice. Length of residence in the area was found to In addition to the physical survey. many families square leading south to Bab negligible. indicating as primary concerns the The information gathered included demographic very traditional values and sense of community that are statistics on household members such as occupation. and almost twenty percent between the Darb al-Ahmar has resided there for more than community and al-Azhar Park. previous place of residence. commute to work. occupancy rates. improvement were simple and straightforward: in addition A portion of the Ayyubid city wall can be seen in the lower to the obvious concerns about structural safety. This productive activities and the combination of the historic presence of crime in the mosque. with Darb Shoughlan Street running parallel and leading to Aslam Mosque. and how the present fabric serves or The physical survey also highlighted potential impedes these. is often the main thoroughfare of Darb characterised as a slum area Shoughlan are an important where the incidence of crime and asset. priorities. recent immigrants occupied in Furthermore. unrelated families who have to 15 . where generating more employment residents are presumed to be and income in the area. shacks have been built on these plots in understanding residents’ lifestyles. Most survey was carried out on a representative sample of inhabitants feel comfortable and safe in the the area’s residents. often said to be lacking. and basic housing facilities. a social be the result not of necessity. Furthermore. and indeed all activities and workshops along of al-Darb al-Ahmar. the former gate. over sixty have lived and worked in Zuwayla is a valuable percent of the population has the neighbourhood for generations. (The buildings chosen for this neighbourhood. as a boundary of the study area result.


investigating and proposing process. There is no doubt that the residents are committed to the area. The examples were selected to encompass all the possibilities for the urban encompass the widest possible range of urban conservation of the area. and. there was a preference for buildings that not only were architecturally valuable. or new development—was relevance of Egyptian housing banks to the financial recommended for each of the 125 structures surveyed. Consequently. they are ready to invest their own resources. A ruined plot was also chosen to provide possibilities for new infill projects to be explored. the proposals put forth in this pilot project In the selection process. most of which have similar urban environments. The selected case possible forms of intervention for studies presented the best hope each individual unit or group of buildings. five buildings were selected as case studies reviewed in the light of local investment potentials. existing form of intervention—be it preservation. choices were This woman’s house collapsed during compared. they provide preliminary conditions. This for intervention on the current economic realities of constituted the second phase of work. financial institutions were examined to establish the rehabilitation. at least ininitially. criteria of intervention could be proposed. Based on the social survey of Cross-referenced and the study area. preference was given can serve as a model for the rehabilitation of other to buildings that were owner rather than tenant areas of al-Darb al-Ahmar. Given the importance of the Ayyubid city wall as regards the rehabilitation of the area. thus providing a basis on which suitable proposals for intervention on a neighbourhood scale. 17 . occupied. demolition. and after moving analyses of the physical and individuals to follow through on to the outskirts of Cairo. preferring to live in a totally ruined building. These initial representative (Opposite page) Although the study area displays projects can serve to offer alternatives of revitalisation a combination of modern and traditional buildings. In future. social surveys were the basis for a particular intervention she returned to the area. In categories that examined the potential for rehabilitation.share a bathroom complained of the lack of private facilities. there is the will to actively explore ways of achieving greater security of tenure as well as making improvements to the buildings themselves. What is clear from the interviews is that the residents view this neighbourhood as their permanent home. and urban management. but which were also strategically located. a more realistic opportunity for intervention. means of local residents and alternative schemes were In particular. and which would thus present. for the area and greatly enhance its future prospects. restoration. but they say that alternatives are not available in al-Darb al-Ahmar. financing. Moreover. the findings and made concerning the abilities of the 1992 earthquake. that would best reflect the different conditions observed Although the five case studies do not in the study area. given a more enabling environment in terms of legislation. The survey also found that many households living in tight quarters could afford more space. it still retains much of its turn-of-the-century character. in which a specific residents in al-Darb al-Ahmar. A perennial concern in any selection process is the owners’ CRITERIA financial ability to invest in FOR INTERVENTION improving their own property. it was essential to include at least one building constructed against the wall in order to examine the delicate issue of how best to intervene when inhabited structures are located in close proximity of a monument.

Part of this area’s importance lay in the fact that it formed the eastern edge of the Ayyubid city. The area to the east of the Fatimid city remained vacant until the end of the tenth century. and thus was linked to the movement of people to and from Syria. these mounds prevented the city from expanding eastwards and thus served to define this boundary of Cairo. Among those who fled were Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar (1345) Mosque of Amir Qijmas al-Ishaqi (1481) Bab Zuwayla (1092) Mosque of Sultan al-Mu’ayyad (1420) Mosque of Amir Altunbugha al-Maridani (1340) . initially named Bab al-Qarratin after the market for animal fodder. but the area continued to be used as a dumping ground until 1997. Bab al-Mahruq was in its heyday an essential junction connecting the city to important trade routes as well as to the numerous activities that took place outside the city walls. as well as to a market for animal fodder located outside Bab al-Mahruq. the city had expanded considerably: the construction of Salah al-Din’s Citadel to the south gave this area of al-Darb al-Ahmar great importance. the eastern periphery of what is now known as al-Darb al-Ahmar was located just outside the southeastern corner of the walled city of Cairo. the southern gate of the Fatimid city. and the old Fatimid walls were extended to connect the new seat of power to the old imperial capital. obtained its present name in the mid-thirteenth century when a group of 700 Mamluk princes burnt it down in order to flee from Aybak. the reigning sultan of the time. which by Ayyubid and Mamluk times had become imbedded in the heart of the city. The Bab al-Mahruq Gate. the capital and military stronghold of the Ayyubid empire. it provided direct access to Bab Zuwayla. This I former peripheral zone was integrated into the steadily growing city.HISTORY A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF AL-DARB AL-AHMAR n the Fatimid period. one of Cairo’s east gates. Furthermore. The extent of this initial dumping cannot be ascertained. Popularly referred to as the Darassa Hills. by which time centuries of debris had formed mounds that were thirty metres high in some areas. when the Caliph al-Hakim ordered the dumping of debris to prevent flood water from entering Cairo. By the Ayyubid conquest of Egypt in the twelfth century.

Qalawun and Baybars I, who would soon return and rule as sultans of Egypt. The area surrounding Bab al-Mahruq remained important at least until the mid-fourteenth century when Aslam al-Silahdar, the sword bearer of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad, chose to build his religious complex there, indicating that the neighbourhood was sufficiently prestigious and well frequented. The endurance of the Citadel as the seat of power through the Mamluk and Ottoman periods ensured that the area surrounding it remained important. Bab al-Wazir Street, to the west of the city wall, had become a significant processional route, and thus numerous religious and residential complexes were built along it. Several of these still remain, among them the thirteenth-century Palace of Alin Aq, the fourteenth-century mosques of Aqsunqur (known as the Blue Mosque) and Aytmish al-Baghasi, and the sixteenth-century religious complex of Khayrbek, named after the first Ottoman governor of Egypt. By the eighteenth century, the connection through Bab al-Mahruq had been blocked and mounds of debris had accumulated outside the city walls, indicating that the area’s role as a link t o t h e e a s t h a d d i m i n i s h e d c o n s i d e r a b l y. Although the north-south thoroughfares remained important, the closure of the route leading to Bab Zuwayla meant that this area of al-Darb al-Ahmar became a considerably more


marginal zone, somewhat isolated from the thriving commercial activity taking place elsewhere. By the late nineteenth century, however, a sharp increase in population growth coupled with an economic boom led to notable urban expansion in Cairo. This was felt in areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar, where there was a steady influx of people, especially between 1890 and 1900. The construction boom in this area was remarkable, for it coincided with attempts to modernise the city through the newly created Ministry of Public Works, which spearheaded a campaign to set guidelines for urban planning. The approach instituted by the Ministry of Public Works was one concerned with giving Cairo a more “modern” appearance—in other words, a European façade, with much less concern over interior spaces. Although this was a somewhat superficial approach, it ensured that areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar had some sense of visual harmony. There was, however, a clear distinction between the new districts of Cairo and the older, more traditional areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar, which received less attention and therefore changed more slowly. In spite of this, there was a definite trend towards Europeanisation—often by merchants who had acquired wealth and moved back to the older areas of Cairo, but sought to imitate
A panoramic view of Islamic Cairo, taken in 1880 by the French photographer Pascal Sebah. The striped façade of the Aslam Mosque is clearly visible in the left foreground.

Mosque and Tekkiya of Muhammad Bey Abul Dahab (1774) Burg al-Mahruq (1170s) Mosque and Khanqah of al-Ghuri (1503) Mosque of al-Azhar (970) Qalawun Complex (1284)

A historical photograph of al-Darb al-Ahmar taken in the 1920s (above left), and the neighbourhood as it appears today (above right).

European building types being constructed in newer districts of the city. Nineteenth-century photographs of the area depict a generally prosperous residential neighbourhood. The Aslam Mosque, which appears whitewashed, is surrounded by an abundance of large Ottoman-style houses, complete with courtyards, wind-catchers, and elaborate wooden balconies. It is from the last few decades of the nineteenth century that one can attribute many of the buildings in al-Darb al-Ahmar, which show a tendency towards the regularisation of their external appearance and a movement away from traditional Ottoman architecture. During this period, there was also a movement to construct buildings to be rented out; these had to follow strict building codes, and, given the number of inhabitants that were moving into areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar, a substantial number of such buildings could be found there. The regulations concerning this type of building meant that there was little room for deviation from the model set by

the Ministry of Public Works, hence the similarities between the buildings found in the area. Although different eras brought with them a multitude of architectural styles that have continuously redefined the urban fabric of al-Darb alAhmar, street patterns in the area have remained basically unchanged for several centuries. Moreover, many of the buildings constructed in the past fifty years or so have respected traditional plot lines, and a few new buildings still follow late nineteenth-century conventions of spatial distribution. The result is that al-Darb al-Ahmar, despite recent campaigns of indiscriminate building, has, by and large, retained a great deal of its historic character.



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The study area in historical context
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The Aslam Mosque neighbourhood



22 . are strictly residential. This space also incorporates one of two green spaces in the area (the other is the small garden on the grounds of the former Darb Shoughlan School). such as the small metal shop on Aftet Hozayen. by an extended family. Darb Shoughlan. Lastly.” the square is usually congested with parked vehicles. But as a result of the earthquake. which also house commercial enterprises. Buildings used solely for commercial purposes are another important land use category. The fact that the three religious buildings in the study area are not used exclusively for said purpose emphasises the link between religious and non-religious activities and the pervasiveness of mixed-use buildings in the area. several vacant lots located in formerly residential alleyways were converted to accommodate commercial activities. and a swing set. in several cases. Most are located along the study area’s major thoroughfare. while alleys were strictly residential. though a few can be Residential component Commercial shop Mixed-use buildings are a common feature in the study area. This three-storey residential building has a small grocery store facing the area’s major thoroughfare. Aslam Mosque and a small historic shrine. from turn-of-thecentury townhouses to modern apartment buildings. Although classified as “open space. found scattered in the smaller alleyways. Most of the buildings. Prior to the 1992 earthquake. The former includes two religious buildings. they are also used by coffeeshops and bakeries. they are usually shared by more than one family. located on both the area’s major thoroughfare as well as the smaller alleyways. commercial activities were confined to main streets. Although carpentry and metal workshops occupy most of these buildings. Two other land uses form part of the study area: those combining religious and commercial activities and those combining religious and residential uses. and. street vendors. however. As regards open space. there are a large number of buildings used for several purposes simultaneously. while the latter includes only a small shrine located within a larger residential building. vacant land includes the several ruins that can be found scattered throughout the neighbourhood. there is only one within this densely built-up neighbourhood: the small square in front of Aslam Mosque. In addition to buildings that are used exclusively for either residential or commercial purposes. the large number of commercial shops as well as residential buildings that have commercial space on the ground floor stresses the importance of commercial activity in the area. Residential buildings that have commercial activities on the ground floor are very common in structures from different periods as well as in different building types.S U M MARY O F PHYS I CAL S U RVEY LAND USE A lthough the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood is by nature residential.

○ The Ground Floor Plan of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD GROUND FLOOR PLAN MAP ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK ○ ○ Th e ○ ○ Ay yu bi d ○ ○ ○ W al l ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Midan Aslam Da rb ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Sh ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ou ○ gh lan AL-DARB AL-AHMAR AND ISLAMIC CAIRO ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ 23 .

Land Use Residential Commercial Mixed Use Religious / Residential Religious / Commercial Vacant / Ruins (56) (23) (32) (2) (2) (12) 25 .

el- Ga Th e Atfet al-Fourn me l Ay yu bi d W ak al l Atf N et H o zay en To the Mosque of Aqsunqur and the Citadel 26 .ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD INFRASTRUCTURE Ab u ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Streets and destinations To Khan al-Khalili. al-Azhar Mosque and University we iny ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Hu re ib a St re et eu ha l-G Z. el -H or ey a To al-Darb al-Ahmar. A yb Z. and Bur Said Street Ha ret Sa’ ad All ah Aslam Square AL-DARB AL-AHMAR AND ISLAMIC CAIRO Fa tm aa l-N ab aw ey a Ab Aslam Mosque da lla Dar bS hou ghl an To Shari Suq el-Silah and the Mosque of Sultan Hassan H. Bab Zuwayla. al- To u r kom any Z. Karn al-Sarif Z. Ha ret Ay ou Bab al-Mahruq b Ay Z. B ara mb Haret Aslam is a cul-de-sac Ha ret As lam Z. al-Sa’ayda ou b THE FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK A. Ezz el-Din Z. al- Ma hru q A.

The study area’s narrow. Traffic tends to be concentrated on a few of alDarb al-Ahmar’s main streets. masonry. the major portion of movement is pedestrian traffic. however. irregular. that most houses in the study area are connected. and Bab al-Wazir. and Darb al-Ahmar. since leaky pipes cause damage to both the interior and exterior woodwork.S U M M A R Y O F P H Y S I C A L S U R V E Y INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES L ike other parts of al-Darb al-Ahmar. Ahmad Maher. though a much narrower artery. it is difficult to determine whether or not certain areas in the neighbourhood are serviced by smaller networks. and unpaved streets make it difficult for large buses to pass through. and finishes. such as al-Azhar and Bab al-Wazir. ROADS AND TRAFFIC Within the neighbourhood. Houses in the vicinity of the Ayyubid city wall are an exception: their location Although temporary traffic jams such as the one seen above are infrequent. THE WATER SYSTEM Given that the Water Network Authority for Greater Cairo—the entity responsible for the provision of potable water—only maps networks with conduits. maintenance attempts are sporadic and long-term infrastructure improvement schemes are rare. other movement is limited and split between animal-drawn carts and vehicular traffic. the narrow roads make it difficult for more than one vehicle to pass at a time. 27 . and on the northsouth route of Bab al-Wazir. is an important shortcut for vehicles coming from the Citadel and heading towards the business district. This does not mean that infrastructure is completely lacking in the area. Most buildings need to have their plumbing systems upgraded. the infrastructure in the study area has been subjected to neglect and gradual deterioration. therefore. however. bus service is only available on the main east-west routes of al-Azhar. the latter consisting mostly of cars and small trucks. which is just outside of the study area. It is likely. Al-Azhar Street is the main commuter route to and from Cairo’s central business district.

The current water supply. and those that are not must depend on communal taps. several of these houses are connected. Parallel new systems. the old sewers will be repaired and the number of maintenance manholes will be increased. with carrying capacities roughly equivalent to the original networks. eventually destroying the masonry. The newer pipes are in no better condition: finished in cement. stonework. It is ironic that in a desert climate it is not uncommon to find large puddles and running water flooding the streets. plans to improve and develop the wastewater networks of Greater Cairo. 28 . will be increased from 120 litres per person per day to the international standard of 250 litres per person per day. Of particular relevance is the poor condition of the water network in greater al-Darb al-Ahmar. their joints have cracked open. which were laid a century ago. which has affected the foundation walls of buildings in the study area. are now brittle and often cracked. In addition to the rising water table. nearly one third of the potable water in Cairo is lost through ruptures and leaks. within a monument domain—the historic wall— prohibits them from being legally connected. The resulting acids from these leaks become concentrated in the groundwater and interact with the atmosphere. In a move to remedy back flow problems.By some estimates. which is the entity responsible for the installation and maintenance of sewage and stormwater networks in the area. and plaster of buildings. the Regional Cairo Sewage Network Authority. as well. resulting in back flows and sewage leakage. causing sewage to leak into the ground. The poor condition of the sewage network has had a negative impact on several of the buildings in the study area. loss of water during distribution has caused further damage to the woodwork. mortar. will double the drainage capacity in the city. Many of the older pipes. But this situation may ameliorate: the Water Network Authority plans to replace primary and secondary 100-millimetre lines with lines 150 millimetres in diameter. and plaster finishes. In addition. Nonetheless.

they prefer more affluent places where the recyclability is higher. RUBBISH COLLECTION The General Authority for the Beautification and Cleanliness of Cairo—the entity responsible for rubbish collection in the metropolis—has limited manpower. which leaves large portions of the city without adequate service. The result is that the rubbish in the study area is dumped on the street. these services depend largely on the income generated from the waste they are able to recycle. which otherwise have no convenient outlet for refuse disposal. (Ruins and vacant plots are also used as informal dumping sites for workshop waste. usually in heaps around ruins. so it is forced to concentrate its resources on the major arteries. Besides being unsightly and unsanitary. and picked up by the authority truck every few days. Unfortunately. vacant lots often become informal dumping grounds for nearby businesses. the often large mound can inhibit the movement of vehicles up and down the street. (Above left) Government collection is presently inadequate and cannot keep up with the rubbish that piles up in the area. 29 . (Above right) This particular location along Darb Shoughlan has become a neighbourhood rubbish dump.(Top) As seen in this ruined structure located on Darb Shoughlan. there exist private collection services. charging only a small monthly fee. the rubbish in al-Darb alAhmar is rarely collected by such services: unable to recycle much of the area’s rubbish.) In addition to the General Authority.

as well as properties that have been endowed by individuals to the state. and secondly.S U M M A R Y O F P H Y S I C A L S U R V E Y LAND OWNERSHIP AND TENURE I nformation concerning land ownership and tenure patterns was obtained through field investigations. These buildings remain under the jurisdiction of the ministry. 30 . forty are tenant-occupied. and the government owns two (one is tenant-occupied and the other is vacant). An understanding of the subdivision and tenure status of building units and plots is important for two main reasons: firstly. and thirteen are vacant. most are under private ownership. to identify the limits of the building units that can be subjected to direct interventions. totaling 110 in number: twenty-four are owner-occupied. The results of the survey show that the majority of the buildings in the study area are privately owned. Of the buildings surveyed. to single out the potential actors of future building actions within the neighbourhood. The remaining buildings are under religious and public ownership: the Ministry of Awqaf owns ten (nine are tenant-occupied and one is vacant).and tenant-occupied. Types of Land Ownership 8% Religious ownership 2% Governmental ownership 90% Private ownership Pie chart showing the different types of land ownership in the study area. The Awqaf buildings are religious buildings and shrines. The other governmental buildings are properties owned by the state and utilised for a wide range of purposes. thirty-three are owner. depending on the government organisation under whose jurisdiction they lie.

State of Ownership Private (owner occupied) Private (owner occupied with tenants) Private (tenants) Private (vacant) Awqaf (tenants) Awqaf (vacant) Governmental (tenants) Governmental (vacant) (24) (32) (45) (14) (8) (2) (1) (1) 31 .

The categorisation of buildings in such a manner allows for a better understanding of their socio-economic status. the traditional townhouse prevailed—more or less in a similar form— even after the 1950s. and yet. construction technology. traditional building conventions continued to be used long after building materials had been replaced. a collective housing unit. indicating the demand for housing and of workspace in the area. From this. elevation. where traditionally there were no commercial activities. where space for commercial activities is almost always provided. and at others they are based on the persistence of conventions of spatial distribution across several building periods. even in small alleyways. design. Although ruined structures cannot be considered a building type—indeed. they are the remnants of former building types—they have been included in this typology. religious or residential. the only difference being in the level of detailing and architectural ornamentation. use. there are often links between different building types: at times these links are based on similarities between the construction techniques and the architectural vocabulary used. as well as in the quality of the workmanship. given that they form a relatively large component of the area. in spite of this. the post 1950s era can be considered the point at which traditional materials were abandoned in favour of more modern materials. One feature common to almost all of the following building types is the existence of commercial spaces even in non-commercial structures. and materials. as well as the lifestyles and needs of their residents. and the nineteenth-century rab’. This is especially true in the case of modern structures. Although declining economic conditions brought about the end of traditional building types that were considered to be too luxurious for the area. whether traditional or modern. siting. Generally. which was a more efficient and economical means of housing large numbers of people. traditional buildings of different typologies were constructed using similar materials and finishes. Thus. namely their plan. Categories of Building Types of the Aslam Neighbourhood Traditional Residential Traditional Collective Housing Modern Construction Substandard Housing Ruined Buildings Religious 32 .S U M MARY O F PHYS I CAL S U RVEY BUILDING TYPES IN THE ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD T he building typology employed for the study area assesses buildings in terms of several factors. As a rule. a sounder and better-directed set of urban intervention schemes can be proposed. was replaced by the modern apartment building. modern buildings almost always served the same functions as their traditional counterparts. Consequently. Many are used for commercial or even residential purposes.

In such cases. buildings were constructed to be solely residential. their architectural principles remained popular even in the later part of the twentieth century. when more modern building types had taken over in other parts of the city. However. Three to four storeys with a flat roof Upper floors of rough cut stone or brick with a plaster finish Large upper-storey windows Wrought iron transom with a radial design Small square-shaped ground-floor windows with iron grilles Cut limestone ground floor Large stone portal surrounding a wooden door with two leaves 33 . while the rest of the ground floor retains a more residential function. thus providing additional space. indicate it was built with added expense. however. the spaces with direct access to the street are generally designated for commercial activities.Traditional Residential TRADITIONAL TOWNHOUSE Traditional townhouses are residential buildings that were initially constructed between 1880 and 1920. namely in buildings located on important streets such as Darb Shoughlan. many of the buildings in the area follow architectural conventions and patterns of space that were first developed in the late nineteenth century. given the fact that most of them have only one façade. indicating that ever since the late nineteenth century there was a distinction between residential and mixed-use streets. therefore with a linear-based arrangement of interior spaces. Since the average plot size rarely exceeds forty square metres and is sometimes as small as twenty square metres. the decorative elements. Even today. and. stone corbels or wooden beams are frequently used to allow the upper storeys to project over the street. to allow light and air into the rear of the building. Many of these buildings are constructed on small and narrow plots of land. In smaller alleyways. commercial activities are often found on the ground floor. in view of the fact that they had developed to meet the specific urban and social conditions of the area. In spite of the fact that most of these buildings are essentially residential structures. such as the ornate moulding lines. they often include a lightwell or a courtyard Although this structure has many of the typical features found in traditional townhouses.

to tworoom units and often share the bathrooms with their neighbours. Many of the traditional townhouses have projecting upper floors. the upper storeys have projecting wooden balconies. stone portal surrounding a wooden door with two leaves and decorative grillework. In general. four storeys high. which. and the upper floors are of brick with a plaster finish. The occupants live in one. in rare cases.) Buildings of this type tend to have a large.The legacy of earlier building elements can be seen in the lattice screens and mashrabeyya window. almost all buildings of this type house more than one family. The windows are usually large (approximately 1. creating a distinction between public and private space. but now often subdivided into smaller residential units occupied by lower income groups. The window treatment in these buildings is of several types: in many cases windows have a lattice screen that slides up and down. and in other cases traditional wooden shutters are used. these can be distinguished by the fact that their staircases are clearly separate from their living areas.20 metres wide and 2. though often simple. essentially constructed for a single extended middle-class family. And on the ground floor. the construction is of alternating courses of plastered stone and brick. which are in very close proximity. The load-bearing. and can thus be viewed as townhouses. which provide more space. square-shaped windows with iron grilles are used for security. Both the wooden balconies and the window screens are designed to maximise privacy. in rare instances. Occasionally. At times. which are aligned on each storey. especially in buildings where the ground floor was initially intended for non-residential purposes. On the upper storeys. stucco cornices. At present. the windows. and only a few. so as to maximise light and provide adequate ventilation to houses that are almost always located in narrow streets and surrounded by buildings. at times incorporates elaborate floral and geometric designs. illuminating and ventilating the dim interior corridor. there is no such differentiation—the staircase is fully integrated with the rest of the house. tend to be placed at regular intervals along the façade. smaller.50 metres high). Some buildings of this type were initially constructed as multiple-family residences. the water tap is also shared and is usually located on the ground level. ground-floor walls are built of limestone ashlar. In buildings originally constructed for single families. these flat-roofed structures are three or. such as the one seen above. however. still survive. Most of the wooden balconies have rotted. In most examples. (Occasionally. The stonework on the ground floor has decorative detailing. these are a development of the mashrabeyya windows that were commonly used until the end of the eighteenth century. Most units have electricity and sewage systems but some lack running water. serving to seclude each house from its neighbours. a wrought iron transom with a radial design surmounts the doorway. Decorative elements are usually limited to simple mouldings above the windows and. 34 . sometimes with intricate carving.

consisting of a few semi-separate The use and orientation of ground-floor spaces were often dictated by whether the structure faced a main street or an alleyway. In general. this type of structure is greatly influenced by European architectural trends. It is because of this flexibility that buildings of this type continued to be constructed in the area. The first is generally an upper middle-class. generally 35 Da rb Sh oug hla n . three. TRADITIONAL MANSION The second type of traditional residential unit intended to house one or a few families takes two main forms. their success lies in the fact that they generally consist of small independent or semi-independent spaces. they have remained functional even today. but was popular in other areas of Cairo between 1900 and 1925. (Above left) Darb Shoughlan is still lined with turn-of-the-century traditional townhouses that have commercial activities on the ground floor. Furthermore. In part. it reflected a more bourgeois lifestyle. The exterior detailing is generally inspired by neo-classical and neo-baroque architecture. Houses on major thoroughfares (top right) usually have commercial space on the ground floor. and was therefore not representative of this section of al-Darb al-Ahmar. apartments. This type of building was not very common in the study area. and conducive to subdivision into several small residential units. In general.to four-storey structure. consisting of a formal ground plan characterised by a central hall surrounded by rooms. As for the other form within this category. thereby proving to be versatile. both considerably larger than the previously-mentioned townhouse. this is a much more palatial structure. all with a similar ground plan. in a less prosperous community. multi-functional.Commercial spaces line the main street Zuq Residential living space aq Ayb ak While these buildings were initially constructed for middle-class residents. while those on cul-de-sacs (bottom right) are mainly residential. the absence of a symmetrical spatial arrangement makes buildings of this type feasible on awkwardly-shaped plots of land. it was better suited to areas that were less traditional and more Europeanised.

Da rb Sh ou gh lan 36 . upper-class. the arrangement of rooms follows a much more European pattern. Not surprisingly. Wooden balconies with intricate decorative elements are common and considerably more ornate than those seen in other buildings from the period. Buildings of this type tend to date from the second half of the nineteenth century. Given that these buildings date from a period when European architecture was starting to become popular in Egypt. often with pseudoEuropean designs. as it first became popular in the early twentieth century. was typical of the traditional. Cairene house. Although very few such buildings remain in the area. these buildings are much more elaborate than most others in the area. One thing that is important to note is that. (Top left) One of two examples of a traditional mansion in the study area is a complex featuring ground-floor commercial space. this building type died out in the early twentieth century. such as the courtyard entrance. the first form in particular is especially rare. The idea of a central courtyard. before the economic decline of al-Darb al-Ahmar. this structure still retains characteristics that suggest the wealth that once existed in the neighbourhood. when the area began to decline sharply. for example. although they were essentially residential structures for relatively well-off individuals. when al-Darb al-Ahmar was an area in which wealthy individuals still resided. (Bottom left) Although most of the residential section lies in ruins. as did the traditional townhouse. the walls and ceilings of the reception rooms are painted. This emphasises the commercial importance of the area and the fact that even its richest residents were likely to have been merchants. emphasising the commercial importance of the area. with the relationship between the interior spaces formal and often relying on symmetry. Not surprisingly. On the other hand. they display a combination of both local and foreign architectural styles. both of these large residential structures were not widespread in the area. there is evidence that they were not uncommon at the turn of the century. these buildings often had commercial spaces on the ground floor.A temporary structure infills the original courtyard space Commercial spaces line the two cross streets Ab u Hu re ib a The remains of the main living space lie opposite the courtyard entrance constructed surrounding a large courtyard. On the whole. when the area was already unfashionable. In the grandest buildings.

usually in small units with shared utilities. This building type. whereas the townhouse was an independent unit. after which it was replaced by the modern apartment building serving the same purpose. however. has a prime location on Aslam Square. although historic reports indicate that there was at least one other—which has now disappeared— opposite the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar. as was typical of most contemporary structures. there were also buildings built to house numerous families. Generally. for example. the function remained the same: serving to house large numbers of people in one building. which has undergone several alterations over the years.” Nevertheless. The study area’s one remaining rab’. was initially developed in the Mamluk period as a residential structure for the lower and middle classes. only one remaining building can be classified as a rab’. The nineteenth-century rab’. Generally. This type was not as common as the townhouse: the rab’ would have required some kind of organisational framework to coordinate the rental of the various units. in the stuccowork. known as the rab’. differed from its medieval counterpart in that most of the units were single-storey “apartments. often privately owned. 37 . The rab’ continued as an architectural typology only until the early twentieth century. the architectural features of this type of structure did not differ from the townhouses built during the same period: there was a slight European influence. it consisted of a series of similar housing units—often duplexes or triplexes—that were rented out. In the study area.Traditional Collective Housing RAB’ In addition to the buildings that were constructed to house one or two families.

which are usually squareshaped. Whereas the traditional townhouse was often meant to be a single-family residential building. 38 Da rb Sh ou gh lan . with floors clearly divided into separate living units. and shutters have replaced the traditional lattice screens.The small. water. Although buildings of this type can be seen as the antecedent to the post-war modern apartment building. Simpler than the traditional townhouse.) These buildings are usually constructed of load-bearing brick walls. Windows. these buildings reflect a more modern infrastructure. One or more shops frequently occupy the building’s ground floor. Like the turn-of-the-century townhouse. each one with its own utilities. including electric. and. and the use of concrete as a building material becomes more common. which are often left exposed. rather than a combination of wood and iron. however. Doors are simpler than those of the traditional townhouse. are not as large as those of the townhouse. in several examples. are compatible with the surrounding urban fabric. there is a greater tendency towards regularity in the plan and a movement towards the standardisation of living units. this building type will often have projecting upper storeys. traditional apartment buildings. and sewage lines. Balconies with iron balustrades. (Unlike the traditional townhouses. Although it has shifted away from the single-family residential building. In many cases. volumetrically. they are completely made of iron. such as the structure seen above and in plan at right. usually two. In general. as was previously the case. they still retain some traditional architectural concepts and features and. TRADITIONAL APARTMENT BUILDING Buildings of this type are multiple-family residential structures. this type has fewer decorative elements and a more uniform treatment of the ground and upper floors. provide a visible link between the old and new forms of architectural concepts and features. the use of I-beams for structural support (instead of wooden beams). usually three storeys high and generally built between 1920 and 1940. building plots remain long and narrow as those of the townhouses. this type was generally built for multiplefamily use—floors are clearly divided into separate apartment units. it still uses traditional building materials and design.

replaces the use of stone as the main building material. such as this one. 39 . Built on a larger and squarer plot of land. a European influence. finished with gunite cement. Modern materials such as reinforced concrete have replaced the use of stone. with cantilevered balconies and a regular division of the façade into modular units. buildings of this type are distinguished by their spacious entrance hallways. have a regular division of the façade into modular units. and irregular plots of the traditional townhouse and the small apartment building. Shutters have now completely replaced the traditional lattice screens. buildings of this type are residential apartment buildings built after 1945. this seven-storey modern apartment building completely breaks with the scale and massing of other tradtional building types in the neighbourhood. irrespective of whether the street is a commercial thoroughfare or a residential alleyway. this building type is generally built on larger and squarer plots of land. Unlike the long. Many of these buildings were designed with spaces for shops or workshops on the ground floor. More than two apartments share the landing on each floor and the roof is not usually used for domestic activities. others do maintain historic plot footprints and vertical dimensions. narrow. Reinforced concrete frame with brick walls. and the windows are usually smaller and less elaborate than those of older buildings. Unlike the traditional apartment building. the doors on these buildings frequently have decorative iron grillework. (The tradition of building the ground floor in stone—or of any decorative stonework—having completely disappeared.) These buildings often have four or more storeys. and decorative elements are hardly ever used on the façades.Modern Construction MODERN APARTMENT BUILDING Located on major thoroughfares. Although not as intricate as earlier examples. Although most modern apartment buildings.

and the use of I-beams for structural support have all replaced traditional materials and techniques. Dates of construction range from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. (These entrances are usually the slated metal doors that roll up and down. metal roof. they are usually very simple. they are generally very small. Given their commercial nature. gunite cement finishes. brick is still a commonly used material. most of the light and ventilation comes in from the shop entrance. therefore. however. Most examples. Entranceways are less elaborate. the earlier examples are frequently of rubble or a combination of brick and stone. Although the use of stone or of any decorative stonework has completely disappeared. Construction materials depend on the period in which they were built: the later examples are usually of brick. Atfet Hozayen features several modern townhouses such as this 1970s four-storey structure. sometimes with a flat. usually two to three storeys high and often housing more than one family. and decorative elements are minimal. if any.MODERN TOWNHOUSE Located both on major streets and smaller alleyways. used either as shops or workshops.) Many of the modern commercial structures in the study area are used by furniture makers. are modern: reinforced concrete. incorporating similar architectural features such as the projecting upper floors and the interior division of space. with only a few examples built prior to 1950. 40 . buildings of this type are modern residential townhouses built after 1945. have a simple plaster finish. They are usually found on major streets or squares and consist of a series of separate units. however. this building type follows the footprint of the traditional townhouse and is comparable in scale and in massing. COMMERCIAL Buildings of this type are one-storey structures constructed for commercial purposes. When window openings exist. which tends to be large. Unlike the modern apartment building. Construction technology and materials. with little. ornamentation. window openings are smaller.

the sword bearer of the reigning Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad. As regards the latter shrine. which is notable for its cut tilework decoration. it is located within a larger property containing a one-story structure that faces Darb Shoughlan and a rear courtyard that is currently filled with rubble. A skylight. the one on Darb Shoughlan is a traditional Ottoman structure dating to 1677. The Darb Shoughlan façade has received numerous coats of paint. whereas (Top) The Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar is the only mosque in the study area. while the courtyard features traditional iron window grilles and decorative stone treatments around the door. 41 . One of the most important elements on the exterior of this building is the inlaid panel above the southern portal. the original minaret collapsed and had to be replaced. occupying strategic sites: one is located on the square in front of Aslam Mosque and the other is located on the study area’s main thoroughfare. and the qibla (Mecca-oriented) wall has a typically Mamluk prayer niche. Today. The shrine on Aslam Square is a modern structure dating to the twentieth century. Both are simple buildings. Darb Shoughlan. The brick minaret. evidently. however. Of architectural significance is its ribbed dome. Elaborate stucco lozenges and medallions with stalactite designs decorate the interior walls. a technique that was rare in Cairo but appeared in several other fourteenth-century buildings. The interior is also impressive: it is cruciform in plan with arcades on two of its sides. it has become an important neighbourhood mosque that serves a large percentage of the population. (Bottom) The small Ottoman shrine seen above dates to 1677. SHRINE This type of religious structure is generally a small building. which was constructed earlier in this century to replace the original. There are two such structures in the study area. its intricate floral panels resemble tent-work designs still being made today in the nearby area of Khayameya. which designates a sacred place.Religious MOSQUE The only mosque in the study area is one constructed in 1343 by Aslam al-Silahdar. is a poorly built Ottoman structure. especially on Fridays. surmounts the large central space. usually one storey in height. with little ornamentation.

to three-storey buildings. however. Several of these structures still retain some valuable architectural features. they are rented out as residential units. (Below left) Typically. total ruins are usually the remains of two. and what is left is beyond repair. 42 . In some cases. These partial ruins are usually used as workshops or as informal storage space. and the stonework is often badly deteriorated. these structures are merely simple wooden shacks built in the vicinity of the historic wall. One storey in height and containing one to two small rooms. several have been around for ten years or more. the plasterwork has delaminated. for the most part. In several cases. usually the site of former ruins. but. although on occasion they have been used as workshops. the doors and windows are in disrepair. while most of the total ruins (below right) remain vacant. Although many of the these structures were erected as temporary housing. partial ruins are often the remains of buildings that were severely damaged in the 1992 earthquake. partial ruins are used for carpentry work or for some other commercial activity. These ruins are often vacant and used as rubbish dumps for workshop waste. Several of these structures collapsed during the 1992 earthquake. TOTAL RUIN Consisting of rubble or only a portion of the ground floor. Many such structures are located in close proximity to one another on large plots of land.Substandard Housing MAKESHIFT STRUCTURES Structures of this type are generally poorly constructed out of brick and rubble and other makeshift materials. Ruined Buildings PARTIAL RUIN Usually consisting of a ground floor. they are used as a dwelling space.

Building Typology Traditional townhouse Traditional mansion Rab' Traditional apartment building Modern apartment building Modern townhouse Commercial Mosque Shrine Makeshift structure Partial ruin Total ruin (44) (2) (1) (7) (16) (13) (14) (1) (2) (8) (12) (7) 43 .

the continuity of its urban fabric. there are many buildings that are architecturally and historically important. In addition. the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar was named after Baha al-Din Aslam. especially at the pedestrial level. is neither one individual building nor individual architectural features. for they each contribute to the overall quality of the area. however. The size and location of the building was usually a reflection of the status and wealth of the patron. architectural elements such as the decorative iron window grilles and the elaborate stone Noteworthy for a number of distinctive architectural features. What makes the neighbourhood significant. the Mamluk Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar dominates the study area and forms a backdrop to a host of daily community activities that take place in Aslam Square. but rather the group of buildings taken as a whole—in other words. rulers and important members of the court left their mark upon the city by constructing a building or a series of buildings. and are distinctive features in and of themselves. During the Mamluk era. The 44 . a Qipchak Mamluk who became sword bearer of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad. SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURES Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar Constructed in 1343. W portals lend character. which almost always included a mosque. a few singular structures such as the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar and the former Darb Shoughlan School are worth mentioning.S U M M A R Y O F P H Y S I C A L S U R V E Y SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURES AND ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES ithin the study area. Nevertheless.

given that they were usually found in religious structures with large open courtyards. Creswell recorded this photograph of the tilework in the early part of the twentieth century. Today. RIGHT: ERIC BARATTA (Top) An interesting feature of the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar is the faience tile found on the drum of the dome over the tomb of Baha al-Din Aslam.TOP AND FAR RIGHT: CRESWELL. (Above) The use of arcades in the interior of this mosque is unconventional. (Left) The mosque is monumental even from the narrow intersection of Haret Aslam and the adjoining square. 45 . much of tilework inscription has fallen away.

TARGET NEIGHBOURHOOD STUDY MAP ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Significant buildings The Shrine of Ahmad al-Faqih hA l-G eu we iny ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ da lla The remains of a large mansion Ha ret Sa’ ad Alla h Aslam Mosque Aslam Square 49 Fatma al-Nabaweya Dar bS hou ghl an AL-DARB AL-AHMAR AND ISLAMIC CAIRO Fa tm aa l-N ab aw ey a 1 Haret Beni Ayoub 72 Darb Shoughlan SITE OF THE FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK 4 Zuqaq al-Mahruq The former Darb Shoughlan School Ha ret As lam Ab 54 Darb Shoughlan N The Shrines of Sidi al-Ansari and Sidi Aly Gawish 46 .

was most likely of special importance. the building itself has little significance: it is a modern twentieth-century structure built out of concrete and with minimal ornamentation. Beyond the locality of the historic shrine. Constructed of cut stone. among them: the Sabil of al-Nasir Muhammad and the Mausoleum of Princess Tughay. was by the fourteenth century in the centre of the thriving Mamluk city. dating to 1677 and located within a traditional Ottoman structure. and it is probably for this reason that the minaret was placed at their intersection. Unfortunately. The Shrines of Sidi al-Ansari and Sidi Aly Gawish and the Shrine of Ahmad al-Faqih There are two historic shrines in the study area: one is located on Aslam Square and the other is a few hundred metres south on Darb Shoughlan. Several exterior and interior features indicate that this one-storey structure presumably dates to the same period as the shrine.Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar should be seen in this light: fairly large in size. The former incorporates the grave of Ahmad al-Faqih. its intricate floral panels resemble tent-work designs still being made today in the nearby area of Khayameya. since Bab Zuwayla. while arcades are used on the other two sides. Its ribbed dome is notable for its cut tilework decoration. a technique that was rare in Cairo but appeared in several other fourteenth-century buildings. the Shrine of al-Faqih is found inside a modern structure located on Aslam Square. The interior plan is a variation of the cruciform madrassa. the southern gateway of Fatimid Cairo. the Darb Shoughlan façade has received several coats of (Top) The al-Ansari and Aly Gawish shrines are located in a simple Ottoman building. It has been suggested that tilework of this type was the work of Iranian craftsmen from Tabriz who were in Cairo at the time. two-storey building houses the older shrine of Ahmad al-Faqih. it was built adjacent to Bab al-Mahruq— one of Cairo’s east gates—at the intersection of two important thoroughfares. (Bottom) On the other hand. In addition to being historically important. The fact that the mosque has two entrances (on its southern and western façades) indicates that both streets on which they are located were important. suggesting that its patron was of considerable importance. however. 47 . Of greater importance is the shrine on Darb Shoughlan. The thoroughfare leading west to Bab Zuwayla. A simple. the mosque is architecturally valuable. One of the most important decorative elements on the exterior of this building is the inlaid marble panel above the southern portal. while the latter contains the graves of Sidi al-Ansari and Sidi Aly Gawish. a great portion of this band of tilework around the base of the dome has disappeared. Of special interest is the fact that iwans are used only on two sides of the sanctuary. The mosque was surrounded by other buildings constructed by Baha al-Din Aslam: a sabilkuttab and several residential structures were all located in its immediate vicinity.

the building reflects a high degree of integrity and is a significant component within the study area. A shoemaker in a neighbouring shop currently uses the historic shrine as a space for storage. housing an assortment of craftsmen. It displays a combination of both local and foreign architectural styles: Gothic. The two graves of Sidi al-Ansari and Sidi Aly Gawish are covered with decorative stone. Despite its current usage and state of neglect. wooden latticework. and what is left of the building indicates extravagance in workmanship: ceiling ornament. and headstones. in the interior. As regards materials. the rear courtyard is filled with trash and rubble. With this in mind. the arrangement of spaces follow a European pattern of symmetry and formality. wall murals. Furthermore. which has been braced up with a temporary combination of bulkheads and steel I-beam supports. The large mansion on the corner of Abdallah al-Geuweiny and Abu Hureiba Built in the second half of the nineteenth century and considerably larger than the majority of townhouses in the area. Inside the house. neo-classical. The mansion is probably one of the largest residences in the area. traditional window latticework. The interior courtyard. in addition to the application of stucco over the surfaces and the use of wood in the articulation of architectural forms and decorative treatments. and an abundance of ornamentation. line the structure’s Abu Hureiba and al-Geuweiny façades. this once palatial structure contains the ruined remains of a multiple-storey mansion of which only the ground floor is still intact. Towards the rear. The remains of the cantilevered first floor indicate a continuation of those materials. the ground floor is composed of various combinations of rubble with a stucco finish and cut stone treatments. a large wooden balcony. and. (Top) This partially ruined mansion is one of only a few left from a time of opulence and wealth in al-Darb al-Ahmar.The construction method suggests that the building has always been a one-storey structure: slender rafter beams span the entire space without the bulk support needed for a second level. and stores. has been partially infilled with temporary workshops built of various materials. the east wall (facing Mecca) has a prayer niche while the other walls still retain the original brackets for holding oil lamps. and Ottoman patterns all exist side-by-side. 48 . A series of commercial shops. (Bottom) The mansion and its courtyard are surrounded by commercial space on two sides. entered through a pseudo-European portico. the courtyard side features traditional iron window grilles and a stone moulding around the doorway. the current condition of the building necessitates extensive repairs to the roof. paint. workshops.

is of limestone ashlar and the upper floors are of brick. 49 . giving it a consistent overall appearance. 4 Zuqaq al-Mahruq What makes this building notable is that it is unique in the area while at the same time it is in harmony with its more conventional contemporaries. its craftsmanship and ornamentation reflect the high end of construction in an area where the majority of houses were built for a middle-class. seen both in the formally designed façade and in architectural features such as the stone pediments above the windows. carved stone detailing. In part. Likewise. 1 Haret Beni Ayoub features decorative stucco cherubs. which is different from the usual combination of a stone base with plasterfinished upper storeys. turn-of-the-century building is finished with cut stone on all floors. displays the same sort of attention to details. routine maintenance has kept 54 Darb Shoughlan in reasonable shape. The oriels. Built circa 1930. the exterior of this four-storey. This building has had routine maintenance and upkeep. mouldings.Unlike many of the neighbouring structures. extended family. 4 Zuqaq al-Mahruq displays a high level of craftsmanship. balconies. As the sole existing example in the study area and extraordinary in today’s context. As seen on its chamfered northwest corner. are supported on wooden and steel I-beams. buildings of this type suggest the extreme wealth of some individuals in nineteenth-century al-Darb al-Ahmar. routine maintenance combined with quality craftsmanship single this building out as an outstanding example of the traditional townhouse type in the study area. displaying a mix of traditional building form with then current materials and building technology. however. 54 Darb Shoughlan associated with nearby structures. emphasises the importance of commercial activities even for wealthy families. its importance derives from its preservation and wholeness in original form. which has an added balcony. and oriels. thus avoiding many of the problems Like the townhouse located at 54 Darb Shoughlan. in particular. Unlike most traditional townhouses in the study area. The building shows a strong neo-classical influence. which has an ornate iron staircase and decorative tilework. The interior. being an excellent example of a traditional townhouse incorporating a compatible addition. this three-storey building has several valuable architectural features: a wooden door with iron grilles. decorative wooden panels between the first and second floors. The ground floor. Tucked down a side street. The existence of shops.

Partially disguised beneath later additions, 49 Fatma al-Nabaweya has the remains of an Ottoman building.

With all of its well-crafted features, 72 Darb Shoughlan epitomises the ideal extended-family townhouse.

The proximity of the former Darb Shoughlan School to the Ayyubid city wall makes it especially important.

1 Haret Beni Ayoub Finished entirely in plaster, this building has enclosed, mashrabeyya-type windows on its north façade and open balconies with decorative iron railings on its west façade, the latter suggesting European influence. Especially distinct are the two decorative stucco cherubs that can be found on the chamfered corner between the north and west façades, above the remains of what was probably a small drinking fountain. Although the exterior design of this circa 1900, four-storey building reflects European influence, the interior space has a plan common to local tradition. It features an entrance passageway leading to a centralised courtyard space through which the upper floors can be accessed, suggesting a design for an extended family who required an internal communal area surrounded by distinct divisions of private space. 49 Fatma al-Nabaweya This is the remains of an Ottoman structure located on Darb Shoughlan, which has been incorporated into a modern building that has its main entrance on a parallel street, Fatma al-Nabaweya. The old stone corbel and iron window grilles on the ground floor of the Darb Shoughlan façade indicate that this portion of the

building was probably built around 1750. In particular, the corbel is located close to the ground, suggesting that the original eighteenth-century building was below the current street level. Furthermore, the blocked opening to the left of the corbel was probably the old entranceway. Inside are the remains of an ornate ceiling with interlocking wooden panels, which, besides those found in the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar, are the only surviving examples in the study area. 72 Darb Shoughlan Built circa 1900, this three-storey traditional townhouse had a fourth-storey addition that was significantly damaged during the 1992 earthquake and subsequently demolished. Overall, this building recalls turn-of-the-century Darb Shoughlan at its height as a predominately residential street inhabited by extended families and local shops. It represents the finest of local construction work completed during the period. As is typical of the area, the ground floor is finished with a fine cut stone veneer and the upper floors are stuccoed. Valuable architectural features include a decorative stone portal with a carved wooden door and sunrise-patterned transom grillework, ornate iron window grilles, neo-classical stone pilasters, and windows with decorative stone mouldings. The first


and second floors have high windows that are typical of the study area; they open horizontally in two sections in two-leaf vertical formats and then accordion-fold back against the interior sill walls. In the interior, large regular spaces have proved efficient to adapting to the needs of the inhabitants; the ceilings are high and the rooms spacious. The iron staircase lies at the rear of the structure, next to a lightwell that penetrates the height of the building. The former Darb Shoughlan School The former Darb Shoughlan School is centrally located within the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood, between Bab al-Mahruq to the north and the Citadel to the south. Oral history and physical analysis suggest that the building was originally built as a residence at the beginning of the twentieth century. (Sometime in the 1940s, the structure was converted into an elementary school, hence the building’s current name.) Four storeys in height and of masonry construction, the building has an interior plan that is formally arranged around two central halls entered through an enclosed stairwell, indicating that the floors may have been divided into separate flats. As was prevalent in the area during the time of its construction, the residence was most likely built for an extended family. Sitting adjacent to and connected with the Ayyubid city wall, the school follows the architectural styles and conventions that were prevalent during the early part of the twentieth century, whether in al-Darb al-Ahmar or elsewhere in Cairo. The architectural details and the general appearance of the façade, as well as the interior division of spaces, reflect European architectural trends and a strong neo-classical influence, which was popular during this period. It was not very common, however, to find a building of such size and grandeur in the area at this time, as most were located closer to the centre of the city. Removal of the woodwork followed by a fire in 1996 has left the building in a partially ruined condition. But despite its poor state, the former Darb Shoughlan School retains its garden, as well as its exterior configuration and several significant architectural features.

ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES Exterior mouldings and decorative elements Although many of the building details found within the study area follow classical European prototypes, they are usually limited to simple ornament around the windows. For example, these can include horizontal bands or alternating triangular pediments and semielliptical arch forms, both of which are placed above the windows. In exceptional cases, a stucco cornice may decorate the uppermost floor or stucco details can be found on the façade. Cornice mouldings, however, appear infrequently, but it is possible that many were eliminated as upper floors were added in the succeeding years. Other decorative treatments include water table articulations, quoins, and pilasters; these can be of cut stone or stucco. There are a few instances where isolated decorative elements appear on the façades, although this is rare; one such example are the winged cherubs that adorn the chamfered corner of a traditional building. However, considering historic demographic information and the economic status of the inhabitants at the time of construction, the use of more elaborate decorative elements appears to be limited. Doors Decorative features are not simply limited to wall decoration: elements such as doorways are also subjects for embellishment, and they frequently consist of a monumental frame or panel with a recessed niche for the door. Many of the area’s traditional buildings tend to have a large and elaborate stone portal surrounding a wooden door with two leaves. In most examples, a transom with decorative grillework surmounts the doorway. The door leaves vary in design, but they typically maintain classical ornamentation, often with pediments and decorative moulding. Like the door leaves, the decorative grillework varies in detail, though frequently the metal designs follow art nouveau influences of organic floral shapes. Trimming around these entranceways usually continues the same type


of classical motif. They frame the actual opening with decorative moulding, and, occasionally, a keystone is centered above the door. In other cases, the portal designs follow traditional Islamic geometric patterns, with joggled voussoirs and other cut stone construction methods. And still others merge the two influences, but these are both rare in the study area. Modern entrances lack the detail and craftsmanship of their older counterparts. The expression of design around the door is minimal and the doors themselves tend to be simplified, mass produced, metal compositions. In some cases, grillework is displayed, and although the designs tend to imitate the concepts established in the traditional doors, they lack the same quality in design and craftsmanship. Windows Window treatments tend to be of the following types: windows with wooden shutters, windows with decorative iron grilles, and windows with traditional lattice screens that slide up and down. In particular, the use of lattice screens—in this context, in the form of thin strips of wood usually in a diagonal pattern— has been a noticeable feature of Islamic architecture. Often incorporated into mashrabeyya-type windows, these screens are designed to perform two essential functions: to provide privacy to the occupants while permitting currents of air to circulate through the rooms. (Mashrabeyya is the term for the wooden grilles that are traditionally made from short lengths of turned wood joined together through polygonal blocks so that they form large areas of lattice-like patterns.) The mashrabeyya-style designs found on many of these turn-of-the-century buildings tend to be less traditional in ornament and craftsmanship than their older counterparts; they are influenced by European forms, incorporating decorative elements and latticework of a more simplified nature. Similarly, other window treatments exhibit European influences, such as vertical-swinging shutters with louvered constructions, and an average window size of approximately 1.20 metres wide and 2.50 metres

high. In comparison, modern windows tend to be of a smaller dimension and a less vertical nature than the traditional forms. Unfortunately, there are only a few remaining windows from the Ottoman and Mamluk periods; foremost are the iron grid windows. By and large, the significant window treatments found in the study area derive from European technology and construction methods, although they often show a historical relation in form to earlier Islamic periods. Oriels These are enclosed, box-like projections from the wall of a building, typically with one or two windows. When more elaborate, they tend to be supported by thick stone or wooden corbelling that originates from the ground-floor walls, but more common are a series of timbered supports, either rough or finished beams, that project straight out from the façade. In both cases, the cantilevered support systems are deeply embedded into the ground-floor structure. Often, buildings display two oriels on one façade: they can be vertically stacked as multiple-floored compositions or be placed sideby-side on one of the upper floors. Balconies Found in old and new constructions, open balconies are listed here for their social and architectural contributions to the traditional, Cairene built environment. Their social significance lies in their participation as an intermediate zone between the private and public aspects of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants. Physically, balconies found in the study area contain little ornamentation beyond corbelling details, but a few exhibit decorative iron railing or stucco patterns that are significant. More important, the balconies in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood are horizontal extrusions in the street. Like oriels, they encroach upon a street, changing the streetscape and altering pedestrian vistas. Their real significance to the study area is not in their individual contributions, but in their overall character enrichment of the area.


Balconies with iron railings C E A D . but Islamic influences can also be seen in the design of oriels and mashrabeyya-type windows.Large traditional windows and shutters with mouldings E . most of the buildings in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood contain a combination of architectural elements that derive from European models.Cast-plaster ornamentation B .A balcony with timber supports A . C.Typical decorative stone portal with iron grilled door A.Stacked oriels A and C .Samples of the architectural features found in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood D . and D . 53 .Wooden lattice window screens with decorative ornamentation and a mashrabeyya-type window D E .A traditional mashrabeyya-type window with decorative woodwork B As seen on this model of a typical traditional structure.

they usually have minor ground-floor damage caused by rising damp. deteriorating. and one commercial structure. eight townhouses. modern apartment buildings found within the study area are structurally sound and show evidence of maintenance. and. Considered to be relatively new buildings. With routine maintenance and upkeep. they have avoided many of the problems associated with other traditional structures.S U M M A R Y O F P H Y S I C A L S UR V E Y ASSESSING THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE BUILDINGS T he physical survey included a general assessment of the external condition of all structures in the study area. of these. (In most cases. partially ruined. The remaining three buildings are of traditional construction. Most of the large. This type of assessment was important to evaluate common deterioration and structural problems. Based on the results of these investigations. which for the most part were found to be in deteriorating to poor condition. GOOD Buildings in good condition appear structurally sound and show evidence of maintenance. especially when there were signs of structural instability. consisting of thirteen multiple-storey apartment buildings. to identify the best options for intervention.) Structural elements. Twenty-five or approximately 20 % of the buildings in the study area are in good condition. roofing. each building was then given an overall assessment according to five categories: good. interiors were also assessed. twenty-two are modern buildings. most of the damage to these buildings has been the result of the rising groundwater. poor. As is the case with the modern buildings. consequently. and fittings were all appraised individually. As much as 64% of the buildings were found to be in deteriorating to poor condition. and totally ruined. 54 . finishes. Overall Condition of Buildings 10% Partial Ruin 6% Total Ruin 20% Good 28% Poor 36% Deteriorating Pie chart showing the different building conditions in the study area.

complete sections may have to be rebuilt. and therefore have not aged very well. delaminating plaster. These buildings are in need of urgent intervention. and five are makeshift structures. damaged doors and windows. damaged roof surfaces. exposed stonework and loose mortar. the remaining nineteen are modern buildings.) Serious structural problems such as large cracks and missing components indicate a more advanced state of deterioration. POOR Buildings in poor condition are in advanced states of deterioration and may have serious structural problems such as large structural cracks and missing components. 55 . Totaling forty-four in number or approximately 36%. two are modern buildings. the larger apartment buildings tend to be in better condition than the smaller residential and commercial structures. Thirty-four or approximately 28% of the buildings in the study area are in poor condition.) This circa 1900 building shows unmistakable signs of deterioration and no evidence of recent maintenance. Of these forty-four. in some cases. and minor surface cracking along the walls are a few commonly found problems. most of which are one to two storeys high.DETERIORATING Buildings in deteriorating condition do not have structural defects. as well as doors and windows in poor condition indicate a need for prompt repair and general maintenance work. twentyfive are traditional buildings built before 1945. these buildings show little evidence of maintenance: crumbling stonework. (Most of the structures in this last category are shoddily built out of rubble and other materials. including a mosque and a shrine. Twenty-seven of these are traditional buildings. but do show unmistakable signs of deterioration and no evidence of recent repairs: missing exterior plaster. (Of the structures built after 1945. and. The results of the survey show that the majority of buildings in the study area are in deteriorating condition.

to three-storey buildings. Seven or approximately 6% percent of the buildings in the study area lie in this category. Used mainly for commercial purposes (shops and workshops occupy several of these structures). however. were the result of the 1992 earthquake. such as this one located on Haret Beni Ayoub. the owners demolished their building following the earthquake. are generally the remains of traditional two. they usually have a certain level of upkeep. the remaining ground floor still retains several valuable architectural features such as iron window grilles. Often. most of these buildings collapsed during the 1992 earthquake.PARTIAL RUIN Buildings in a partially ruined condition are fragmented buildings. These buildings. The remaining ground floor of this partially collapsed structure still retains several valuable architectural features such as the stone corbels. In one known example. stone corbels. Like the partially ruined buildings. The 1992 earthquake is the main cause responsible for the partial collapse of these buildings. unlike the totally ruined structures. 56 . which for the most part consist of only a ground floor. Twelve or approximately 10% of the buildings in the study area are considered to be partially collapsed structures. elaborate stone portals. and other decorative detailing. TOTAL RUIN Buildings in a totally ruined condition are collapsed beyond use. Several of the ruins in the study area.

Building Conditions Good Deteriorating Poor Partial ruin Total ruin (26) (46) (35) (13) (7) 57 .

while acknowledging that later buildings and new constructions were not necessarily disruptive. the removal of The Integrity of Buildings in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood 14% Building with Full Historic Integrity 21% Reversibly Altered Building 11% Irreversibly Altered Building 34% New Construction 4% Semi-permanent Housing 10% Partial Ruin 6% Total Ruin 58 . especially in the case of traditional buildings. It was therefore necessary to include an assessment of the modifications to each structure over time. and architectural integrity of any given structure. This type of assessment was important to evaluate the historical. whether or not these changes were compatible with the existing building.S U M MARY O F PHYS I CAL S U RVEY AN ASSESSMENT OF THE TRANSFORMATIONS WITHIN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT T he survey revealed that much of the area. Several traditional buildings in the study area have been altered or renovated in ways that are incompatible with their original design: the addition of a floor. obtains its distinct character from the large number of early twentiethcentury buildings as well as from the fact that street patterns have remained virtually unchanged since the turn of the century. it was felt that the key to preserving the area’s physical identity was to focus on maintaining such buildings and streetscapes. as well as to decide the degree of protection to be extended and other specific measures to be undertaken during intervention. typological. The most common types of alterations and additions were recorded and evaluated in terms of compatibility— that is. Because of this. the demolition of a floor. like the rest of al-Darb al-Ahmar.

exterior modifications such as the addition of a new balcony can also be found on modern buildings. dense cement finish causes greater damage to the masonry beneath. EXTERIOR MODIFICATIONS Common exterior modifications include: addition or removal of a balcony. which often have a ground floor meant to be of exposed cut stone. Several buildings have had only minor exterior changes. this hard. have either been plastered or covered with a new layer of gunite cement. as well as changes to existing windows and doors. introduction of new windows or doors. These additions— built out of wood or exposed brick—are. incompatible with the pre-existing structure.Common Types of Transformation to Buildings in the Aslam Mosque Neighbourhood ADDED STOREYS AND EXTENSIONS Storeys and extensions are frequently added to traditional buildings in order to provide them with extra living space. only a makeshift room has been added on the roof). Although not as frequent an occurrence. 59 . is often applied in order to cover deteriorating stonework and to prevent and protect it from further damage. loss of mouldings and plasterwork. also undermine the integrity of traditional buildings. (Oftentimes. Several of these buildings. In several cases. REMOVAL OF STOREYS Less commonly found is the removal of a storey from a traditional building. The added rooms. while others have been modified to such an extent as to compromise their historic integrity. INAPPROPRIATE MATERIALS The application of inappropriate surface finishes is by far one of the most common types of change that occurs to traditional buildings. The cement finish. which are poorly constructed with makeshift materials. for the most part. Unfortunately. in particular. these storeys were removed after the 1992 earthquake as safety precautions.

and the mashrabeyya-type window. and a total ruin. BUILDING WITH FULL HISTORIC INTEGRITY Buildings with full historic integrity are traditional buildings built before 1945 that have had only minimal alterations. balconies.This building with full historic integrity has retained valuable architectural features such as the elaborate stone portal. a makeshift structure. wooden balconies. the traditional fenestration with iron window grilles. iron window grilles. The condition of these buildings was not taken into account unless they had deteriorated in such a way as to drastically alter their exterior appearance. which can be reversed through rehabilitation work. lattice screens. These buildings have retained their overall form and valuable architectural features such as stone portals. Seventeen or approximately 14% of the structures in the study area are considered to be buildings with full historic integrity. these alterations can be reversed through rehabilitation 60 . REVERSIBLY ALTERED BUILDING Reversibly altered buildings are traditional buildings that have undergone several alterations over the years and have thus lost some of their integrity. new construction. seven categories were used to describe the state of integrity of buildings in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood: a building with full historic integrity. a reversibly altered building. There are cases. This reversibly altered building has had a few alterations such as an inappropriate gunite cement finish to the entire façade. and the use of inappropriate materials are some of the commonly found changes that undermine a building’s historic integrity. After a general evaluation of all alterations and additions. an irreversibly altered building. where traditional buildings were noted to have maintained much of their integrity despite some changes. however. oriels. However. a partial ruin. and other decorative elements. moulded enframements.

Five or 61 . An inappropriate plaster finish. Although a few of these structures were built as early as 1950. with its wrought iron door and projecting upper floors. SEMI-PERMANENT HOUSING Constructed out of rubble and other makeshift materials. or restoration or some other form of intervention. as well as the larger. IRREVERSIBLY ALTERED BUILDING Like the reversibly altered buildings. and even added rooms on the roof are all considered reversible changes. missing architectural elements. multiple-storey apartment buildings. almost all of them have had only minor alterations or additions. new constructions are buildings built after World War II—in other words. irreversibly altered buildings are traditional buildings that have undergone alterations. these are poorly built structures that are well below basic housing standards. these structures have been modified to such an extent as to make it difficult to ascertain their original appearance. This new construction. new external fittings. But unlike the reversibly altered buildings. Twentysix or approximately 21% of the structures in the study area are reversibly altered buildings that can regain their historic integrity. incorporates the scale and architectural features of traditional buildings. they are modern buildings that have no historic value. loss of exterior plaster. they include commercial and residential structures. NEW CONSTRUCTION Unlike the prior categories.This irreversibly altered building has been modified to such an extent as to make it difficult to ascertain its original appearance. Forty-one or approximately 34% of the buildings in the study area are in this category. Fourteen or approximately 11% of the buildings in the study area are irreversibly altered buildings that no longer retain their integrity.

A reversibly altered building Although this building has been modified, most of its alterations can be reversed and the original appearance reconstituted
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Examinaton of the finish will provide evidence of the original underlying appearance.

Although the traditional windows were replaced with smaller and less expensive modern versions, the old frame dimensions can be made out underneath the plaster.

The original ground-floor stonework can be partially seen beneath a recently applied layer of gunite cement finish.

Physical clues of the original entrance door are few, but considering existing evidence of the building’s exterior appearance and other nearby surviving examples, a suitable replacement can be reconstructed.


An irreversibly altered building The changes undertaken on this building are too severe to be reversed and make it impossible to ascertain the structure’s original appearance
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

The entire first floor has been modified, erasing evidence of its former appearance. Furthermore, it is difficult to ascertain the original size and location of the old window openings.

The roofline has been altered, making it difficult to know whether or not a floor is missing.

Although the remaining stone corbels date this building to the late Ottoman period, little else can be determined about its original exterior appearance.

The ground-floor shop façades have been replaced, leaving no clues as to their original appearance.

There is no surviving physical evidence as to the original entrance design.


approximately 4% of the structures in the study area are considered to be in this category. PARTIAL RUIN Generally consisting of only a ground floor, partial ruins are usually the remains of damaged traditional buildings. Twelve or approximately 10% of structures in the study area are partial ruins. Built as residences, these structures are now commonly used as workshops or as storage spaces, although on occasion they have been used as dwelling spaces. Partial ruins have little, if any, historic integrity, given the fact that their form and function have been completely altered. TOTAL RUIN Total ruins are buildings that have completely collapsed. Like the partial ruins, they have been altered to such an extreme as to lose all historic integrity. Seven or approximately 6% of the buildings in the study lie in this category.

(Top) This makeshift structure, constructed of wood and metal siding and located on top of the Ayyubid city wall, is a unique case of squatters in the study area. (Middle) A view of a partial ruin, which is currently used by a carpentry workshop. (Bottom) The interior of this total ruin is used as an informal garbage dump.


State of Integrity Building with full historic integrity Reversibly altered building Irreversibly altered building New construction Semi-permanent housing Partial ruin Total ruin (17) (27) (14) (42) (7) (13) (7) 65 .

and. Although the Street Morphology Map does give some hint into the complicated nature of the physical qualities of the public and semi-public spaces within the study area. in the cul-desacs. as well as the workshops that use outdoor benches during the W hereas a large portion of the physical survey involved an assessment of the buildings in the neighbourhood. such as Darb Shoughlan. However. These may include traditional events or activities such as marriage ceremonies and death rituals that do not occur on a regular basis but do utilise large sections of the alleyways. STREET MORPHOLOGY In the study area. where domestic and commercial activities intermingle in close proximity. it cannot be viewed as evidence of the Darb al-Ahmar society in totality. where children play. proposals can be identified that are compatible with the lives of neighbourhood residents and workers. where possible. prominent vistas and spaces that give the neighbourhood individual character were identified on the separate Prominent Streetscape Vistas and Spaces Map. and present a tangible presence of street elements. Outside activities are difficult to classify because many of the functions that take place on the streets are of a temporary and inconsistently performed nature. It is important to understand the street elements and activities as reflective of the social dynamics of the inhabitants. a part of the survey also examined the public spaces between the buildings. In short. At the same time. The findings were incorporated into the Prominent Streetscape Vistas and Spaces Map. With that in mind. and. the visual language that makes it identifiable and distinctive. This includes the local coffeeshops that place their tables in the street during the evening. the streetscape of the study area was studied for its unique character—in other words. most often daily. where domestic chores are performed. 66 . the findings shown on the Street Morphology Map portray the public physical boundaries and the tangible street elements that are found in the area.S U M MARY O F PHYS I CAL S U RVEY STREET MORPHOLOGY AND OPEN SPACES address them as an integral component of the neighbourhood and not as mere street furnishings. the built environment around them creates the sense of place valued by local residents. those along larger streets. Whereas residents living on lightly trafficked routes are more likely to use the street for their personal use. By doing so. encourage the further definition of these places as visually notable elements. the symbols used on the Street Morphology Map mark the locations of activities that occur routinely. Often. Any future planning proposal must Darb Shoughlan is typical of the major thoroughfares in al-Darb al-Ahmar. tend to have less activity on their doorstep. the street or alley is a place where people work. with the intent that future construction in the area be respectful.

many owners display their goods out on the street during the day and then pull them back inside when closed. two shoemakers. Many buildings in the neighbourhood have multiple entrances. and a residence all share the same space for their entrances. Narrow Atfet Hozayen represents the unique semi-private domain of the cul-de-sacs.Since the interior of shops are often small. the left entrance leads to a residential unit while the right leads to a workshop. As seen above. A cul-de-sac such as Atfet al-Fourn can be a complicated space of mixed uses: a bakery. 67 . where residents perform domestic chores and other daily activities.

As the community’s main street. Darb Shoughlan serves as a daily route for street-cart vendors. This public passage functions as a common entrance for a number of makeshift structures built on a vacant lot adjacent to the Ayyubid city wall. Ruins such as the one seen above are often meant to be temporary residences. 68 . who pass through selling vegetables and other produce. During the day. but due to the current construction restrictions they tend to be used more permanently. the streets of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood usually have an assortment of furniture components lining the sides.

Many of these passages are used as a play area for children or as a workspace for craftsmen. Among the local commercial activities. a grilled meat stand. in the latter case.) Shopkeepers often arrange their merchandise in front of their shop. but also as spaces for social interaction.) These aspects of life in the study area are magnified in the informal infill housing areas. the intersection of Darb Shoughlan and Atfet Hozayen features a number of furniture upholsterers who use the street as their common workspace. while others. however. the neighbourhood has numerous small-scale groceries. coffeeshops. and a dairy outlet. bakeries. extending out on the street. Street vendors are also common in the area. workshop entrances tend to be wide portals with slated metal doors that roll up and down. Like most of the shop accesses. a fuul cart. shop accesses refer to commercial businesses where items or services are bought or sold. domestic activities decline as residents’ privacy is invaded. In this context. since it is often the only place where they have enough space to fully function. clothes washing. residents view them as semi-private domains. (Top) The large metal doors are modern replacements to the traditional wooden folding doors used by most neighbourhood workshops. Beyond the limitations of their workshops. Cul-de-sacs such as Atfet Hozayen and Zuqaq Ezzeldin are considered to be important features in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. The Aslam Mosque neighbourhood tends to have fewer stationary street vendors than other sections of al-Darb al-Ahmar. where local residents are related. on table scraps. Another common activity found throughout the neighbourhood is the quartering of animals in pens or on leashes. However. (For the most part. and stale bread recyclers are a few. vegetable carts. which allow easy access and mobility during work. the washing of clothes is a private activity that occurs inside the residence. perform routine upkeep that can include an occasional hair trimming. and a blacksmith who fixes portable propane burners. They include a government bread kiosk. Several other businesses. when a residence has no running water. and their use is usually limited to those who live on both sides. such as sheep and goats. or where one group of residents have the power to claim the right to use such space. video stores. employees use the street as a shared workspace. where the population density is higher and where most neighbours are distant relatives who have migrated from rural areas. residents tend animals on the streets. There are numerous areas within public street boundaries where residents and businesses store items. Other daily activities include animal tending and. (Bottom) Throughout the study area. who use animals for their work. residents see cul-de-sacs not only as passages to their dwellings. and a coffeeshop. Many raise livestock. also operate in this manner. Moreover. For example.daytime. This is particularly true where densities are low and sharing can be managed. such as scooter repair shops. popcorn sellers. shoemakers. These are often places where furniture 69 . a steady stream of street-cart vendors passes through on a daily basis: sweet-potato vendors. (This does not include accesses to businesses involved in the manufacturing of products.

Green open spaces are very rare in the neighbourhood. Although most of the neighbourhood residents do not own a car. for example. which in this case refers to residential units constructed in a haphazard manner on the sites of demolished or collapsed structures. at present. are always informal. there is only one: the small grassy area in front of Aslam Mosque. as are certain areas in the street. scooters. in part due to the narrowness of the street. Ruins are often used as dumping sites for neighbourhood rubbish and workshop waste. several have existed for twenty years or more. The dimensions of the small trucks used by local businesses allow vehicular access through all but a few common street areas in the neighbourhood. especially those in front of ruined or abandoned structures. This small green space replaced structures that at one time abutted the mosque but were demolished. Other community facilities include the 70 . components are stored temporarily. or animal-drawn carts. Very few trees exist in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood.” much of the area’s street lighting is maintained by local residents and is either in poor condition or no longer working. and. Although categorised as “public lighting. Makeshift housing. is usually found in places of high traffic and public use in the evening hours. there is a fair amount of vehicular traffic. usually during the day but sometimes through the night. local shoemakers and carpenters utilise most of these. While such structures are meant to be temporary living arrangements and often present a minimal investment of labour in their construction. it collects indefinitely on the site of partially or totally collapsed buildings.This fenced-in area in front of the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar is the only place in the neighbourhood set aside as a green space. Public lighting. whether for automobiles. In the neighbourhood. such as an access to a garage. Motorised access thus refers to an entrance used by an automobile. is not uncommon in the area. This section of Darb Shoughlan in front of a group of unused ruined buildings features a large rubbish pile that regularly blocks a significant portion of the street. A limited number of public facilities exist in the area. Neighbourhood parking areas. there are no areas formally designated for parking. at present. While piles of rubbish that accumulate in certain designated areas in the street are picked up periodically by the governmental rubbish truck.

One building unit with two façade treatments.○ The Streetscape Morphology of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD STREETSCAPE MORPHOLOGY MAP ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ A A E E A ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ A ○ ○ ○ G A A E ○ A G A ○ ○ T A ○ ○ ○ E ○ E ○ E ○ A ○ ○ A A A A ○ E T E ○ ○ ○ ○ ilding boundary lines Building boundary lines Building units subdivisions Two or more building units sharing one façade. A E ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ eetscape access and elements Streetscape access and elements Access and passages: Residential access Shop access Workshop access Storage space access Public building access Private open spaces inside the block: G Green open space Ruin Garbage dump Parking Motorized access Covered passage Cul-de-sac Staircase Garbage dump Parking Storage area J D ○ G ○ Open spaces in the streets and squares around the block: S T A Stones Tiles Asphalt E A ○ E ○ ○ Earth P Old paving A ○ ○ ○ Vendors Difference of level Outside activities ( al-fina ) ○ ○ A E ○ A ○ ○ ○ Vacant Storage area Informal housing Other notable streetscape elements: Shrine or Mosque Public lighting Drinking zier Sabil-kuttab Trees ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ 71 A A .

Another feature found in the area that is of importance to the public is the shrine. linking the community with greater al-Darb al-Ahmar. with the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar on the right. they are always under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Awqaf. Haret Aslam.” on a metal service tree. They can be as modest as a grave marker over the tomb of someone of religious importance or as large as a mausoleum or mosque complex.communal water containers that are used for drinking. its role has not: it remains a major gathering place for religious As seen from Haret Aslam. Abdallah al-Geuweiny. converge from the south at the square. and. possibly dating to the mid-eighteenth century. known as “ziers. Although the open space around the mosque has changed form. continues north as the only outlet in that direction. Although shrines can be located within a building that is privately owned. Two major streets. Haret Sa’ad Allah. like the dye-house. In general. At times. festivals—such as the Moulid of Fatma al-Nabaweya— and is a vital link between areas of commercial activity. signage. continues onto Bab Zuwayla. Darb Shoughlan and Fatma alNabaweya. A secondary route to the right of the mosque. Aslam Square shows the typical congestion of parked vehicles within the space. It retains a few historic elements such as the stone corbels that support the upper storey. while the street to the left of the mosque.” these can be found throughout the area. PROMINENT STREETSCAPE VISTAS AND SPACES Aslam Square is an early twentieth-century creation that came about as a result of the 1970s demolition of the old residential structure built opposite the Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar. Another historic building is located on the west side of the square. it has been modified almost beyond recognition: shop entrances. eventually reaches a dead end near the Ayyubid city wall. modern windows. called “ollas. and a gunite cement finish have completely altered its late nineteenth-century 73 . most such facilities are initiated and maintained by local residents. Although it has been extensively renovated in recent years. they are more complex and include a water trough for animals or a collection of traditional water pots. and a final route leading west from the square. the dye-house located on the east side of the square is most likely an Ottoman structure.

The pedestrian viewpoint from Darb Shoughlan lacks the progressive intensity and drama of the Fatma al-Nabaweya vista because of the lack of structures (most of these having been demolished on the east side of the street). and. Streetscape vistas and prominent viewpoints create a memorable sense of place. (Below) Besides the daily activities of street vendors. (Left) Hidden beneath later renovations. when the narrow and vertical confines of the routes are left in shadow while the southern façade of the mosque is fully lit by the morning sun. This vista is an important streetscape feature worthy of exploiting through planning initiatives that could include reconstruction of the building line on the east side of the street. the mid nineteenth-century dye-house on the east side of Aslam Square is a prominent building. as well as the restoration of the mosque. the square provides space for a wide array of social activities important to the community. This is especially true during the morning hours. From here one can see the prominent remains of building 212. The shops on the south side of the square were constructed in 1980.façade. It is a rare opportunity to view the streetscape in such a narrow and long perspective. 74 . The point of visual contact from the south along Fatma al-Nabaweya (vista A) and Darb Shoughlan (vista B) are the most important. the ribbed dome of Aslam Mosque is imposing from a long way off the square. they contribute much to the activities that take place in the square. The monumentality of Aslam Mosque tends to make it a focal point of many vistas in the study area. however. The other viewpoint is on Darb Shoughlan looking north from the Atfet Hozayen intersection (vista C). though they have no architectural value. which lie a few hundred metres away.

Ha ret Sa’ ad Ha el All -H re ah Midan Aslam B lan H. 75 Th e Ay yu bi d Two images during the morning hours from Fatma al-Nabaweya Street (Vista A) and Darb Shoughlan Street (Vista B) towards Aslam Mosque.Streetscape vistas and prominent viewpoints ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Al -G eu da Ab Minaret Dome Z. Ha Ay ret A ou Da rb BOTTOM LEFT AND RIGHT: HUSSEIN AGA KHAN C Looking northeast from the intersection of Atfet Hozayen (Vista C) towards building 212 in the far distance on Darb Shoughlan. Sh ou Building 212 gh W al l Ay b ou b tA s Aslam Mosque we iny lla h or ey lam a FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK .

occupancy rate. the survey explores the population’s economic activity.1 persons per household. by the extended-family building type in the area (see Members in Each Household pie chart). In addition. as well as his parents and grandchildren. The percentage of the population born in al-Darb al-Ahmar amounts to 83. by the high percentage of extended families (since married children are generally allowed to live with their parents in the same dwelling) and. some for more than two generations. Accordingly. previous residence. the percentage of residents who have resided in the area for less than twenty years does not exceed 3.6% of the total population in the area. however.3% of the total population in the area. and alMokattam—and have then moved back. In the case of al-Darb al-Ahmar. and marital status. pie charts accompany the applicable information. This is higher than the national average of 4. occupational patterns. which are losing their population due to the deterioration of the aging housing stock. and income levels. and the work 76 .C O M M U N I T Y P R O F I L E SOCIAL SURVEY OF THE INHABITANTS T he population of the study area amounts to approximately 1. educational levels. whereas those who have resided in the area for more than fifty years amounts to 35. length of residence. Properties such as household size. and the attractant and repellent role of the area in internal migration patterns.2%. 46% of the migrant population born outside al-Darb al-Ahmar was born in the historic core of Cairo. HOUSEHOLD SIZE The average household size in the area was found to be 5.4% of the number of families in the area.200 inhabitants.7% migrants to the area from other locations. Where needed. consequently. both of which were recorded in 1996. Most of these cases consist of the wives of men born in al-Darb al-Ahmar (see Population Origins According to Birthplace pie chart). al-Nahda. POPULATION ORIGIN Knowledge about the origin of the current population through previous residence and place of birth may serve as indicators of lifestyle. which consists of the head of the family. Demographic features of the population were assessed from a survey of a representative sample of 159 residents distributed among thirty-one households. accounts for 77.6% involve the extended family type. particularly in neighbouring districts such as al-Khaleefa.5%. The large household size is contradictory to the expectations regarding historic districts. This can be partially explained. place attachment. The remaining 22. friends. Moreover. and length of residence in the study area are all portrayed. The slight difference in percentages between residency and place of birth is explained by the fact that some of the residents originally born in al-Darb al-Ahmar have moved to government housing—in Sadat City. family type. consisting of the head of the family and his wife and children.6 persons and the City of Cairo average of four persons. as are the population distribution of age groups. Bab alShereyya. FAMILY TYPE The nuclear family type. and al-Gamaleyya. The percentage of the population that has always lived in al-Darb al-Ahmar amounts to 79. with 20. LENGTH OF RESIDENCE Findings indicate that the population in the area has been living there for a long time. in association with other factors such as proximity to relatives. his wife and children.

Chart information from the demographic survey of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood study area Members in Each Household 1 to 4 39% 9 to 10 3% 7 to 8 26% 5 to 6 32% Population Origins According to Birthplace 8% Historic Cairo 9% Elsewhere 83% al-Darb al-Ahmar Years of Residence in the Area 16% More than 60 yrs 19% 50 to 60 yrs 3% 16% Less than 20 yrs 20 to 30 yrs Level of Education 11 % Diploma 6% Secondary school 7% University degree 45% Illiterate 23% 40 to 50 23% 30 to 40 24% Basic education 7% Without formal education The Economically Inactive Marital Status 9% Engaged 55% Married 48% Housewives 6% Retired 1% Handicapped 20% Unemployed 28% Unmarried 5% Widower 3% Divorced 25% Student 7 87 .

600 to 800 23% L. 200 16% L.D. 800 13% Less than L.E.4 78 .E. 1 = L.Occupations 11 % Arzoky 22% Government employee 41% Craftsmen Employment Status Structure 2% Familyemployed 5 4 % Employed 44% Self-employed 4% Education 2% Waiter 9% Commerce 11 % Driver/guard/custodian Trip to Work Work Location 39% Outside the area 9% Distant locations 22% In the vicinity 30% Inside the area 35% Bus 2% Taxi 2% Private car 4% Minibus 55% On foot Household Income Level in Egyptian Pounds per Month 7% More than L. 200 to 400 January 1999: U.S. 3.E. 400 to 600 41% L.E.E.E.

1%. The percentage of the population that is enrolled in or has attained primary level education amounts to 11.2%.8% and the 1996 urban area average of 30. both of which were recorded in 1996. and the elderly. as well as the need to form new families. especially among older generations. 15-60. which is high compared to the national average of 38. Thus. slightly higher than the 1996 national average of 27. namely children. and shoemaking).9% and the latter is higher than the average of 5. However. Its distribution is calculated with reference to the portion of the population aged six and older and is shown on a pie chart (see Levels of Education pie chart). together explain the extent to which the inhabitants are attached to the area despite its deteriorating physical conditions (see Years of Residence in the Area pie chart). but rather a confirmation that historic districts in Cairo are losing their population of young married couples to newer areas. which is mostly light industry involving manual labour (namely carpentry.8%. slightly less than the national average of 61. The percentage with secondary level education (both general and occupational) amounts to 6.7% of the population in the area. However.6%. Those aged 15-60 represent 66. which is lower than the 1996 national average of 34. As for the percentage of those who are engaged. and over 60.6% and the urban average of 26%. represent 6. This is not an indication of economic and social progress.5%.2%.6% of the total population in the area either is enrolled in or has attained the basic level of education. metal work.9%. as well as the benefits of rent control. but rather a result of the decrease in percentage of other age groups. and the percentage with preparatory level education amounts to 12. Both these figures are higher than the national average for 1996: the former is higher than the average of 59. divorce and its potential for social problems. a fact that is partially explained by the high percentage of extended families and the economic and social advantages of living in the area.4% of the total population in the area.1% and the urban area average of 57.9%. Gender distribution within the population of the study area was found to be equally proportionate across the three recorded age groups. LEVEL OF EDUCATION The level of education serves as an indicator to the ability of community members to make use of available resources and the potential to improve their own living conditions.4%. Children aged 0-15 represent 26. diploma level education amounts to 11. upholstery.2% of the total population. The percentage of unmarried people amounts to 28. and university level education amounts to 6. The percentage of married people amounts to 54.1%. Illiteracy amounts to 45. this amounts to 9. wood finishing.8% of the total population in the area. The percentage of the population that is literate but has not attained formal educational certificates amounts to 6. the level of education is higher among children and young adults than in the population as a whole.2%. if considered by age groups. 23. They 79 . These indicators reflect the situation of the neighbourhood youth who keep postponing their marriage for lack of affordable housing in the area.9%. POPULATION DISTRIBUTION ACCORDING TO AGE COMPOSITION This distribution serves to measure the dependency burden that is borne by members of the labour force and by the government for providing the necessary services required for children and the elderly. The distribution in the area of the three main age groups is as follows: 0-15.place. both of which were recorded in 1996.3%. The distribution of marital status is calculated with reference to the portion of the population aged sixteen and older (see Marital Status pie chart). aged over 60. A formal education is not regarded as necessary for occupational training. al-Darb al-Ahmar has a higher percentage of children than other historic districts. This increase is not due to higher health standards in the area. MARITAL STATUS Marital status serves to indicate social phenomena such as marriage and its potential for productivity. This finding should be viewed in light of the community’s occupation.

the percentage of separated people amounts to 1.2%) (see Trip to Work chart). As for the occupational patterns within the economically active population. Other modes of transportation include private cars (4. those who have a permanent job represent 73.7%. and metal work) represent 41. handicapped (representing 1. Regarding status structure. Those doing odd jobs (known as “arzoky”) represent 10. minibuses (2.7%) and those who work in the private sector (representing 78. the reliability of data concerning income level is usually low. This disparity is related to the level of education as well as cultural norms of the community.7% are females. revealing indicators such as unemployment. 80 . As for job permanency.are reluctant to move out (to the closest informal areas such as Mansheyat Nasser or Basateen) because of their strong ties to extended family and work in the area. It is worth noting that 85. 91. taxis (2. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY This section outlines the economic structure of the population in the study area. Employees represent 54. which is lower than the national average of 6. this amounts to 5.9%. retirees (representing 5.8%. Lastly.3% of the total economically active population. This indicator may also be related to the fact that women-headed households form 13% of the total number of the households in the area. work location. This means that only 2.6%).1%. Megharbeleen. mostly young women who have accomplished some level of education but are not married and still live with their parents.3%). of these.3%).8%.8% of the residents in the area. As for the mode of transportation used for the trip to work. carpentry.3% and those employed by family members represent 2. upholstery making.5% of the total economically active population. those who go to work on foot represent 54.8% of the economically inactive population are actually unemployed males aged fifteen and older.2% (see the Employment Status Structure chart). The economically inactive constituted the remaining 60. The remaining 39. where women do not usually work outside the home. Obour City. this group is constituted strictly of males. wood polishing. whereas those who have a temporary job represent 26. INCOME LEVEL Given the sensitivity of the issue and its relation to the values and ideologies of the interviewee. Nevertheless. craftsmen (including shoe manufacturing.7%. The percentage of those who are economically active amounts to 39. and unemployed (representing 19. as well as the tendency among widowers to remarry. which corresponds to the work location distribution mentioned previously. and only 8. Employment sector distribution is divided into those who work in the public sector (representing 21. status structure.7% of those unemployed are females. particularly in Egypt. which is used by 34. it remains an important indicator of living standards and the social and economic composition of the population.1%. The fact that this group consists strictly of women may be due to their longevity compared to men.7% work in neighbouring areas such as Bab al-Wazir.4%). The total economically inactive population in the area is subdivided into students (representing 25. and al-Ataba.4%). As for those who are widowed. and work permanency. and Heliopolis (see Work Location chart). and other occupations are represented in smaller percentages (see Occupational Patterns pie chart).3%. employment sectors.3% are males and 8. the selfemployed represent 43. and microbuses (2.3% recorded in 1996. occupational patterns.7% work in locations as far as Helwan. while government employees represent 21.4%.7%) (see The Economically Inactive pie chart).2%). The labour force is calculated with reference to the portion of the population aged fifteen and older. The second most used mode of transportation is the city bus.2% work in diverse city locations.4% of the total economically active population work within the boundaries of the study area and 21. housewives (representing 47.2%). Work location was investigated to reveal that 30.9%). al-Khalifa. which is not a high percentage.

126 per month and an average monthly income per capita of L.E.4 persons per household.4% of the total number of households in the area. where three individuals contribute 16.E.E.4% of the total number of households in the area.010. 262 and an average monthly income per capita of L. 466 and an average monthly income per capita of L.E.5% of the total number of households in the area. where two individuals contribute 25. 600 and L.The survey revealed that the average monthly household income in the study area is L.1% of the total number of households in the area. and where four individuals contribute 3. 81 .E. 415 per month. based on an average household size of 5.E.E.E. 800 amounts to 6.E.200 and an average monthly income per capita of L. This group includes 14. This group includes 43. The percentage of households where the head of the family is the sole contributor to the average household income amounts to 48.5 persons per household.5% of the total population with an average monthly income of L.570 for the City of Cairo and the national average of US$ 2.510 annually. 400 amounts to 41. an individual’s share of the monthly income increases with the decrease of household size. 200 and L.9% of the total number of households in the area.6 persons per household. This group includes 23.E.6% of the total number of households in the area.E.9% of the total number of households in the area. 1. This amounts to L. The percentage of households whose average monthly income exceeds L.E.E. 86.E. 658 and an average monthly income per capita of L.9% of the total population with an average monthly income of L. 200 per month amounts to 12. 800 amounts to 16. The percentage of households whose average monthly income ranges between L.E. the population in the area can be divided into five groups (see Household Income Level pie chart).5 persons per household.E.980 or US$ 1.2%. According to income level.8%. based on an average household size of 4. The percentage of households whose average monthly income ranges between L.3% of the population with an average household monthly income of L.3 persons per household. based on an average household size of 5.9% of the total population with an average monthly income of L.E. which is less than the average of US$ 2. Also. 49.E.E. 400 and L. based on an average household size of 5. This group includes 6. 28.4% of the total population with an average monthly income of L. the percentage of households where the head of the family’s secondary job contributes to the average household income amounts to 6. Evidently. 218. both of which were recorded in 1993. This group includes 11. 143. 600 amounts to 22.E. The percentage of households whose average monthly income ranges between L. 4.2%. The percentage of households whose average monthly income falls below L. based on an average household size of 4.

Residents such as this couple.Any proposal for Darb Shoughlan has to address the complicated nature of the social arrangements of its inhabitants. 82 . spend most of their lives living and working along the street. who run a small grocery store.

priorities and preferences. running errands. The aim was to gain an understanding of the area’s vitality in order to work on maximising its positive aspects while minimising the negative ones.C O M M U N I T Y P R O F I L E LIFESTYLES AND THE SUPPORTIVE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT A lifestyle assessment inquiry was carried out to understand the interaction between the study area and its current inhabitants. but also the different levels of shared space beyond. This measure is an approximation because of the difficulty in defining the dwelling unit in cases such as extended-family houses and shared courtyard ground levels. A purposeful sample of fourteen households was chosen to reflect a maximum variety of different building types. and occupancy rates. This inquiry explored what the residents like and dislike about the area. dwelling sizes. This assessment serves to guide neighbourhood improvement schemes and implementation strategies. the alternative housing patterns illustrated in the case studies reflect the outcome of this study. A questionnaire was used to assess basic housing facilities in the area (including water. Existing residential units range from one. and in-depth interviews were conducted with the household members using an interview guide. and 13% Children help adults with daily chores such as feeding animals. As for sewage. Accordingly. and the cul-de-sac. such as the roof. and taking care of younger siblings. the building entrance. sewage. and territorial domains. social interactions. as well as their ability and willingness to invest in improving their home environment. depend on public taps. The inquiry covered not only the use of the private space within the dwelling unit. and electricity). and market network of the workshops found in the area. aspects of the area that people value. the stairwells. and the supply. Arealevel questions were also asked in order to assess perceived levels of safety (especially for unaccompanied women and children). the landings. and activities such as children playing. a guided interview was employed to explore the following: use patterns in the dwelling and in the area. the inhabited residential units are connected to the city water-borne sewage system. Additionally. 81% of the households are supplied by the city network in the form of in-house taps. and affordability and willingness to invest in the home. prevalent use patterns. 83 . EXISTING HOUSING CONDITIONS Basic housing facilities: Preliminary results indicate that 94% of the residential units are legally connected to the city electricity and sewage networks. Further analysis would lead to the development of special district regulations targeted in the following stage of the project. women shopping. territorial domains. Regarding potable water. production.to five-room dwellings. These interviews were then qualitatively analysed in integration with annotated plans of the residence showing furniture.

5 inhabitants per room in those one-room dwellings. where water is available.Number of Rooms per Dwelling within the Study Area 24% 4 rooms 2% 5 rooms 31% 1 room Number of inhabitants Number of Inhabitants per Room According to Dwelling Size 4. respectively (see the above bar chart). Given the shortage of space. While one-room units are acceptable for a single or double occupancy. though cooking on thresholds and in front of houses can be seen in other parts of Cairo. Occupancy Rates: Occupancy was calculated with an overall average of 1. three-. four-. one-room dwellings represent approximately one third of the total number of dwelling units in the study area. Cooking: Cooking takes place in central spaces such as hallways and private courtyards. the parents’ sleeping area is visually separated from the children’s and grandparents’ sleeping areas. respectively.4 1 0 14% 3 rooms 28% 2 rooms 1-room dwelling 2-room dwelling 3-room dwelling 4-room dwelling 5-room dwelling As shown in the pie chart above. Therefore.4.6. the rare examples of apartments with enclosed kitchens are those that can also afford a formal guestroom. 1. slightly higher than the average for the City of Cairo of 1. and five-room dwellings is 1. However. and 1.4 inhabitants per room. but rather in the privacy of a room. while tworoom dwellings represent another third. Gender separation in sleeping areas is applied as much as possible. There is only a slight percentage of five-room dwellings in the study area. However. Moreover.3 for 1996. existing rooms are subdivided using wooden partitions. the occupancy rate in the case of two-. The detailed occupancy rate for each dwelling size calculated from a sample of eighty-four dwelling units housing 381 inhabitants shows an expected high of 4. though in the case of extended-family houses it sometimes takes place in circulation spaces such as staircase landings. 84 . cooking does not occur in the courtyard. in which case they are located as close as possible to the bathroom. it is a hardship when inhabited by a family.5 1. In cases of insufficient space. usually by the elderly.5 4 3 2 1. even in cases where the toilet and courtyard are shared. the “salon. where the community consists more of recent rural migrants. children often share beds with aunts or grandmothers.9 inhabitants per room.5.and four-room dwellings is 14% and 24%. The prevalent kitchenette arrangement has the advantage of allowing women the opportunity to stay in touch with everyone else while cooking.4 1. Food preparation or cooking does not occur outside the households’ private domain because it is not considered proper. allocating an entire room for cooking is not a priority.6 1. This increase is due to the existence of oneroom dwellings in the area.” and have at least three other rooms. USE PATTERNS IN THE DWELLING Sleeping: The lifestyle assessment inquiry reveals that. such kitchenettes often lack a water outlet. whenever possible. 1. or an additional room large enough to hold the parents’ bed is rented. The percentage of three.

and socialising occur in the same rooms where the beds are located. formal reception rooms are not considered important. then building entrance doorways are closed for privacy. especially the older generation. Because bathroom windows rarely have window panes. in the winter months people bathe with cold water or with hot water heated on the stove. 85 . one would expect more of the home-based work pattern than is currently present. the work itself takes place in the home: sewing soles on shoes or doing some extra upholstery work for neighbours. eating. And. and so the washing of clothes and dishes takes place near the water supply and drainage system. Among the young. Bathtubs and shower stands are not popular even among the affluent five-room apartment dwellers. a small room is formally furnished and reserved for special occasions. if feasible. since all rooms are used for living activities. Working at home: Residences are sometimes used for storing equipment temporarily or for storing products such as finished pieces of furniture or The washing of clothes is usually a private activity for neighbourhood residents. the bathroom consists of a toilet of the “baladi” type and a tap to bathe. especially when washing clothes. Although streets are narrow and densely built. but it is not the norm for women to work. watching television. Given the limited economic means of the area in general. In many cases. Given that guests are usually neighbours or relatives. upholstered sofa sets. This pattern still persists among the young generation today. If this is in a courtyard at the entrance of a building. it contains a china cabinet. educated women. Here. The result is that many families in the area are related by marriage. The sink is either inside or just outside the bathroom space. the relatively low building heights allow sunlight to reach many façades and courtyards. the concept of a living room does not exist in the neighbourhood. Living room activities: Activities such as studying. one family installed the former and then had it removed because it leaked. Most residents hang their laundry on rooftops in order for them to dry. but when other spatial priorities are met and more space is available. Dishwashing and washing clothes: Most local residents have electric washing machines. a fan. as is the case for most ground-floor tenants. the ramparts of the historic wall are used as a place to hang laundry out to dry. It is common to find more than one television set in the same dwelling. which accounts for a large portion of the socialising that goes on across windows and rooftops. so as to prevent them from catching colds. USE PATTERNS IN THE AREA Socialising: Since a large portion of the community has been residing in the area for generations. husband and wife were next-door neighbours before their marriage.Bathroom: In the majority of the traditional buildings. many work but do so mostly outside the area. a sofa set. Typically. and a fancy light fixture. though small items are sometimes hung on clothes lines placed on window sills. young children are sometimes given their bath in a laundry basin in a regular room rather than the bathroom. it comes as no surprise to find that many of them are related. Given that most dwellings do not have running hot water.

the “leisure” food vendors pass through. al-Ghureyya is the most popular shopping area. 86 . selling baked sweet potatoes. The visit often includes helping in household chores such as sweeping the floors or bringing over a dish of cooked food. For more seasonal needs such as shoes and clothes. which for many residents represents the highest possible standard of living. They occasionally visit each other on holidays and feasts.Neighbours: Neighbours tend to drop by each other’s homes with varying frequency.) Other passing vendors sell household utensils imported from the free zone of Port Said. local street vendors offer a convenient alternative. where meat and fish are also sold. Although not considered as being “visitors” by community standards. At other times. and licorice drinks. Recreation for members of the community ranges from cooking a special meal (usually including animal protein. pumpkin seeds. Shopping in this way is an activity around which social ties are born and nurtured. And every afternoon. and includes several bakeries and grocery stores. recreation sometimes involves prayers and a short stay in a favourite mosque on the way to a visit or to the (Top) Tablita Market is one of several vegetable markets in the area used by residents. The daughters of one family who had relatives living in the middle-class neighbourhoods of Cairo insisted on shopping in Heliopolis. over those in less dense outlying new settlements. other visitors include neighbours. and onions piled upon donkey-drawn carts can be bought any day of the week. This particular family. roasted peanuts. however. however. Sometimes. garlic. (Some produce vendors pass twice a day. it is to use the wealthier neighbour’s telephone. does not have roots in the neighbourhood. tomatoes. since it is common practice for someone going shopping to also bring their neighbours what they need. For the less active members. For elderly members. since the rest of the week consists of macaroni) to visiting relatives. Visiting: Many residents have extended family in nearby areas such as Megharbeleen or Bab alKhalk. And yet other times it is just a visit to chat. it involves borrowing ingredients or delivering shopping items. Some residents. where children can easily walk in a safe environment. popcorn. go as far as alMousky or even Fouad Street downtown. Shopping: The area provides easy pedestrian access to daily shopping needs as well as specialty and seasonal requirements. Vegetables and fruits are bought every other day from the market in Megharbeleen. Women lower their baskets from the windows and passing neighbours do all the purchasing. (Bottom) Residents list the convenience of nearby schools in the vicinity. and the trip is always on foot.

teenage and young males living in this building spend their leisure time playing football in the Darb al-Ahmar youth club. and. the upper-storey neighbours were furious and blamed it on the fact that the new tenant’s young bride came from the countryside. in the evenings. a small room off the building’s main staircase. each with a different image. the two other tenants from upstairs would take turns every Friday sweeping the building entrance. Occasionally. The association of coffeeshops with drug consumption in the past. More common in the community is for the entire family to spend their one day off (usually Fridays) at home. and to a lesser extent in the present. In one case. they visit relatives outside the area. eating out at McDonald’s. the new tenants in a groundfloor room and bathroom kept their goats and sheep in 87 Each day many vendors pass down Darb Shoughlan. Before she moved in. Because the animals dirtied the building entrance. selling goods that would otherwise be difficult for the less active residents to purchase. hanging out in the area surrounding Hussein Mosque. is the reason behind this view. there . and yet the more conservative members of the community regard all of these as being improper for decent young men. In the case of residential cul-de-sacs. However.market. The contrast is vivid when compared to the lifestyle of dwellers of the modern apartment building on Aslam Square. Belonging more to the middle classes than to the workshop community in the area. Raising animals: Raising poultry and larger animals such as sheep or goats may take place on the roof or in the cul-de-sac. chicken coops are set up in the cul-de-sac itself and the birds are usually free to wander. girls tend to spend their leisure time at home. but not in any of the domestic spaces. Going to a park or eating out is alien to members of the community. Sitting in coffeeshops: There are several coffeeshops in the study area. In general. maybe doing some household chores.

The enclosed unit. It was observed that the management and upkeep of these semi-private spaces is best when shared by no more than two families. the shared domestic space. but rather a counter that serves drinks to customers dispersed in front of their workshops. can rarely afford individual privacy. Gender privacy among children in their sleeping areas is observed only if affordable.is one coffeeshop in the study area that seems highly frequented by residents. It is not an indoor coffeeshop. Level three: home territory: This category of territory is more public than the previous one. 88 . studying. since very few cases exist where each family member The coffeeshop at the intersection of Darb Shoughlan and Atfet al-Fourn is an active hub of the neighbourhood. has his own personal room. TERRITORIAL DOMAINS The use patterns in the area can be categorised into four levels of territorial domains: the enclosed residential unit. or goats. especially to keep out of the sun. and the area or “el-mante’a. yet some degree of control is practiced by those who claim it. to the extent that chairs are designated to certain elderly members of the community. cooking. which is lacking in the case of ground-floor tenants. sheep. however. ducks. storing items. Seating is outdoors and patrons move according to their needs. The activities that take place inside the dwelling include sleeping. watching television. In cases where culde-sacs contain commercial activity.” Level one: enclosed residential unit: This provides group privacy from outsiders. This coffeeshop is located at a community node and is close to two grocers and a bakery. who share toilet facilities and often lack a door to separate their shared space from the circulation areas of the building. the home territory. Level two: shared domestic space: This level includes building entrances and courtyards used for domestic activities. and socialising. the level of territoriality only exists beyond the point frequented by workers. Activities that characterise the home territory are raising chickens. Dead-end streets leading towards the Ayyubid wall qualify as long as commercial activity has not infiltrated them. It could be a whole cul-de-sac or just part of one. Activities that occur in such territories include washing clothes and dishes. depending on the different uses of the buildings and the number of people living in them. and socialising. eating.

Levels of territorial domain for residents of 3 Zuqaq Ezz el-Din Level One: Enclosed residential unit Atf et K arn ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ al- Sar if 3 Zuqaq Ezz el-Din Da rb 3 Zuqaq Ezz el-Din Zuq aq Ezz Sho ugh lan Zuq aq Ezz el-D in el-D in Level Three: Home territory Level Two: Shared domestic space ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ To al-Tahrir Square Mosque of al-Azhar Bab Zuwayla To the Mosque of Sayyeda Zaynab Bab al-Wazir Mosque of ar-Rifa’i T h e A y yu bi d Level Four: The area W al l THE FUTURE AL-AZHAR PARK N Mosque of Sultan Hassan To the Mosque of Ibn Tulun THE CITADEL 0 100 200 300 400 500 Meters 89 .

and shopping) are highly valued by the community members of the neighbourhood. Bab al-Wazir and Mohammed Ali streets to the south. or married children who Separate apartment with an additional room across the hall Cabinet Stove Storage items Bed Closet cabinet Co Television Stove Bed Common courtyard. They have either lived there themselves for a few years or have immediate family living there (brothers. and services (schools. medical care.” When asked to delineate the extent of their neighbourhood. where no major transportation routes pass. mosques. where Sofa Television it is safe to walk. and wearing “house” clothes in the case of women. Children from the community go to schools and attend private lessons within this area. WHAT PEOPLE VALUE IN THE AREA Proximity to work. people mentioned several local landmarks and streets that do not go beyond the trapezium between Bab al-Khalk to the west. suppliers. and where everyone knows who they are. relatives and friends. Many members of the community rarely venture outside this area. Level four: the area or “el-mante’a. al-Azhar Street to the north.sitting outdoors in the afternoons or evenings. Residents define it as being where their parents and grandparents were born. and the prospective park to the east. playing with family members and neighbours. markets. shared by two households and used for chores mm on hal lwa y fo r2 un its Lightwell The ground floor residence of Om Ahmad at 3 Zuqaq Ezz al-Din Zu qa qE Shared toilet and shower Latrine below a lightwell Separate apartment with an entrance to the front AL L En tran ce hal lwa y zz BI D el-D in W Staircase to the upper floors AY YU Lightwell Cul-de-sac. used solely by the residents from the neighbouring building for tending animals and socialising 90 TH E . Noteworthy is the fact that almost everyone living in the area has firsthand experience of other areas that fall within their economic means. sisters. where they can go anywhere on foot.

and supplies from each other. The implications of the neighbourhood’s location is multi-dimensional for the residents for the following reasons: Economic support: For workshop owners and employees. tools. support in cases of emergencies. solidarity in times of happiness. Proximity to the workplace allows many employees who work within walking distance to take a break and eat a hot meal at home. to diverse shopping areas including central. Some examples of how the residents benefit from such a situation include free assistance in child care. and to transportation systems as well as administrative and medical services. since it is no longer than ten minutes on foot. and the quality of the services provided. There is economic benefit from having complimentary industries close-by: craftsmen lend and borrow money. they benefit from the inexpensive transfer of goods from suppliers to markets and are encouraged to work later hours. whether on the northern or the southern edges of the area. Social support: Location compounded by the length of residence has resulted in a highly interactive community with ties that last for generations. help with shopping and housekeeping. Other forms of convenience include access to good schools and private lessons.had to move out). Schools in the vicinity of the study area are far better and more conveniently located than schools in other affordable locations. and social interaction on a daily basis. money. and religious feasts. is not perceived as far. Most families living in the area maintain close ties and depend on each other for things such as assistance with child care. is close by. the benefit of working in the area is more than saving the time and money of a daily trip to and from home. Quality shopping is also within walking distance or can be reached by bus in two stops. with all its municipal and administrative services. city-scale ones. and public transportation. 91 . Convenience: Convenience is a function of time. sadness. Downtown Cairo.

Most often. consequently. Women study area and had to move into Many elderly residents welcome the noise and buying from street vendors also public housing outside of Cairo vitality of living along Darb Shoughlan. a woman will call to a passing child whom she may not know. where neighbours means of the residents. Physical appearance: What people seem to resent Many people know each other by name in the most in their homes is the physical deterioration of area. she knows only that this child is they understand each other’s lifestyle and so do not from the area. and by case with those who work in the time she ran out from the the oil-producing countries. due to a perceived similarity settlements such as Basateen.In general. For most people living in the These social factors also have psychological area. loneliness nor embarrassing reminders of a lower economic and social status. For example. who lower after the earthquake. which help neighbours. she Some stress must be caused saw her son coming back from by the limited economic the hospital. This is consistent hours and women run errands with the territorial domain while leaving their children at outlined by many parents as home without having to worry. asking him to Choice of housing: Marrying someone from the area purchase some merchandise from the grocer at the is preferred to marrying someone from outside because corner. especially for young girls. in living conditions. Neighbours look out for each Psychiatrists have shown other and provide assistance that for many Egyptians. men tend to would recognise that a person family matters during working is from the area. baskets from their windows to PRIORITIES AND PREFERENCES receive the produce. which is caused mainly by dampness. the source of embarrassment is the deteriorated condition of their homes and the large number of implications: vacant lots.” Despite dreams of living in nicer places. social in times of crisis. mobile residents run their This man is originally from the errands for them. which are known as “kharabat. as is the when playing outdoors. and of companionship them that fall within their economic means (informal and familiarity. People as then they are keen on painting the interior of their far as al-Azhar Street. unmarried girls Psychological factors: Sources of psychological expressed their preference to settle in the area after comfort mentioned by the residents include a sense of marriage rather than in the other choices available to security. but had already taken him to get oftentimes greater stress is stitches and proper care. Mansheyyet Nasser. Sometimes. Moreover. caused by cases such as The elderly among the when a young father took his community benefit a great deal son to the hospital with no because younger and more family or friend to support him. walk to and from school and evening lessons Their primary concern is for structural safety. it is a place where young girls can the walls. or Bab al-Wazir 92 . isolation causes extreme a woman was informed that her stress even under affluent eight-year-old son was hurt economic conditions. cul-de-sac where she lives. gives them a sense of companionship. there is neither a sense of or public housing in Mokattam or al-Nahda). but unaccompanied until as late as 11:00 PM. their daughters’ safe domain. need to feel embarassed. Bab al-Khalk.

Maintenance: Building entranceways and other shared space are usually kept clean according to local standards. owners as well as tenants do it as often as they can afford to. High densities: On many occasions.units as often as they can afford to. people assert their preference for densely-populated areas. Floors are wiped daily with water. Because it is “nawas. Fixing the plumbing and resorting to “patching it up” is another form of maintenance done strictly out of fear for building safety. thus covering up the visible damage caused by water. opening both units to form a large five-room apartment. benefit more from living in the protection of the cul-de-sac. given that it is a busy thoroughfare with a fair amount of noise and workshops. However. Since the 1992 earthquake. which translates to companionship and safety in numbers. lonely.” explains a resident. architectural detail. rather than live inside the quieter dead-ends. affluent tenants in the area rented two adjacent apartments in a reinforced concrete building erected in the 1970s. no positive or negative feelings towards the appearance of the buildings can be detected with respect to their form. At the other end of the economic spectrum. residents are scared of adding structures on top of existing buildings for fear that they will collapse. usually. 93 . and materials. which has caused an additional amount of dust. even those under the threat of removal by the antiquities department. Beyond that. especially since the start of work on the future al-Azhar Park. although they are aware that in its present state the neighbourhood is not in good condition. The most common form of maintenance is painting the interior of homes. One alteration desired by ground-floor dwellers who are unrelated but share a courtyard and toilet facility is to have a private dwelling unit with a bathroom. meaning that there is companionship. Alterations inside the buildings: One way of revealing people’s priorities is by the type of alterations they make to their homes. in particular. Many residents described other housing alternatives in a negative sense: as being too quiet. Children. Subdividing spaces to create more enclosed rooms is the most common alteration in the area. they have more important priorities. Although these settlements offer improved physical amenities. it is done to add a sleeping area. The elderly prefer to live on Darb Shoughlan. they lack the social and economic attributes that neighbourhood families say are important. But the deadends are also appreciated: adults use them for sitting outdoors on summer nights and young children use them to play. The government relocates many area residents to new communities such as al-Nahda.

E.E. most local residents can afford to pay L. if building permits are issued once again. There are a few at the lower end of the economic scale. who cannot afford to pay more than L. The existence of al-Azhar Park could put some entrepreneurial pressure on the area. Willingness to invest: As it stands today. said that when she moved there it was dangerous and hard. since the conversion of the Darassa Hills from a garbage dump into a garden would be a great amelioration and a marketable asset. since large scale construction would. a freeze on building in the area immediately adjacent to the Ayyubid wall has meant that land value is low. apartment prices).000 or L. 10. an increase in land prices is to be expected. Furthermore.E. 150 a month for a workshop with a down payment as high as L. Typically. Such an example can be seen in Aslam Mosque Square. the financial means available to local residents differ from one individual to another. property owners in the area feel insecure. 10 rent with absolutely no advance money. as the late afternoon shadows fill Darb Shoughlan.000 as a down-payment and a rent of L.000 down-payment for a sixtyto seventy-metre apartment.E. although these are relatively few in number. AFFORDABILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO INVEST Affordability: Understandably. there would be less incentive for speculation. however.E. thereby driving the local residents out and destroying much of the historic urban fabric. 50 a month for a three-room apartment. generally. however. If the development process were left unrestricted. Others are capable of paying the L. be considerably less profitable. Most residents in the area take pride and enjoy the atmosphere and the familiarity afforded by the neighbourhood. then the lifting of the building freeze would have a detrimental effect on the area. This is higher for commercial activities: some craftsmen are willing to pay as much as L. One woman who has moved back into the area after spending six years in Mansheyyet Nasser. where an apartment building was constructed in the 1970s targeting a socio-economic group whose lifestyle is alien to the area. Property owners also know that if they get a building permit. but when it became more crowded.000 or L. Those who own vacant lots are also aware that their land cannot be built to comply with current building regulations because of the small size of plots and the narrowness of the streets they overlook. This would have a chain effect: it would encourage land prices to rise further. On the other hand. Such restrictions would play a positive role in the preservation of the urban fabric and its character. Property owners as well as tenants show their willingness to invest in the improvement of the buildings in which they live and work in exchange for security of tenure. The few exceptions are those who would like to move out and do not share the same values and lifestyle. by definition.E.12. it was much better. it will cost them a lot of under-the-table money. who use the street for football and other games. and the reconstruction of the ruins caused by the earthquake. 10. structural soundness.E. these new buildings would be geared towards the middle class from outside the area (the local residents would probably be unable to afford such apartments due to the increase in the price of land and. The more affluent members of the community claim to be willing to pay as much as L. if construction were strictly regulated and building heights controlled. in violation to building laws and similar to what is occurring in surrounding areas. 6.and unsafe. (Opposite page) The intersection of Atfet al-Fourn and Darb Shoughlan is a community node of multiple uses. they suspect they can lose their properties at any moment and be driven out of the area by the antiquities department. making it more lucrative for developers to invest illegally in the area. 5.E.E. subsequently. This situation can be used as a bargaining chip with owners to assure their compliance with the special regulations required to preserve the area. On the other hand. 94 . men work beside children. the informal settlement closest to al-Darb al-Ahmar. since it would encourage the construction of high-rise buildings.000. to maximise profit. 50 monthly rent but cannot afford to pay a down-payment. The result is that the building as well as its residents do not fit in with the rest of the neighbourhood and resent much of the local amenities.

95 .

or urban spaces. but which 96 HUSSEIN AGA KHAN . Accordingly. though different. all structures and places that were identified during the survey as being historically or architecturally significant need to be preserved in some form. from minimal interference in the urban fabric to the construction of completely new structures. and architectural value. it has been necessary to address buildings with little or no historic value. ultimately aim to preserve the integrity of the neighbourhood.F O R M S O F I N T E R V E N T I O N TYPES OF INTERVENTION ACTIONS TO BE APPLIED IN THE ASLAM MOSQUE NEIGHBOURHOOD CRITERIA FOR INTERVENTION Following a thorough physical and social investigation of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. groups of structures. enough information was gathered to determine how best to intervene in the case of each individual building or plot of land. They differ only in the scope of intervention. use. the proposed form of intervention applied to each building was based on its overall condition. In general. ACTIONS TO PRESERVE Evidently. as well as those that transform the neighbourhood either by demolition or new construction of individual buildings. with the minaret of the Shrine of Fatma al-Nabaweya visible in the background. the various types and levels of intervention applicable to buildings in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood include actions that preserve or re-establish the architectural and urban integrity of individual buildings and the historic fabric of the neighbourhood. Both types of action. integrity. Moreover. ranging from the conservative to the radical—that is. A view of the study area from the site of the future al-Azhar Park.

preventive maintenance. But it can eventually apply to all structures in the neighbourhood. they 97 . there are numerous tu r n . given that the majority Redevelopment has been recommended for this plot of land. and reconstruction.nonetheless are part of the urban fabric and cannot realistically be demolished. and rubble. restoration.o f . rehabilitation. namely: preventive maintenance and repair of elements. Although these buildings have historic value.c e n t u r y b u i l d i n g s t h a t a r e architecturally valuable but dilapidated. not having been adequately maintained for several decades.t h e . are in relatively good condition and need only minor repairs. which consists of numerous makeshift structures built out of brick. With this in mind. the following types of intervention were found to be the most relevant to the study area. Indeed. has been recommended for most of the modern structures in the study area. wood. adaptive re-use. The first and least intrusive of the five actions to preserve.

only one such building is recommended for restoration: the Aslam Mosque. of which a fair number still importance that remain in the neighbourhood. nevertheless. missing components are often required in order to return a monument to a physical condition in which it appeared at a certain moment in time. but. however. restoration can be applied to all neighbourhood structures of special architectural or historical significance that have been altered in ways that are considered inappropriate or harmful. but also through alteration. they will subsequently benefit from preventive maintenance. Not surprisingly. the traditional buildings in the study area will require a more radical form of intervention. In most cases. the selective removal of added elements and the replacement of Aslam Mosque is a structure of architectural and historical will require restoration. By introducing modern utilities. any replaced components should be identified and marked in order to distinguish them from the original fabric.are not monuments and therefore greater flexibility is permissible when recommending repair work. however. since there is a need to improve the quality of the old building fabric for contemporary use. remedial rehabilitation. rehabilitation will make possible the contemporary use of these historic buildings without substantially altering their architectural features or compromising their historical and cultural significance. buildings of exceptional historical and architectural value should be preserved in a form as close as possible to their original appearance. In the study area. this type of intervention applies to traditional buildings. will require some form of rehabilitation. Meeting sanitation or safety requirements and introducing utilitarian improvements are the reasons why contemporary alterations are necessary. The first defines actions applicable to traditional buildings that have retained most of their historic integrity. Unlike the modern structures and turn-of-thecentury buildings of lesser significance. when working on neighbourhood monuments. There are a few cases in the study area where modern buildings will require rehabilitation work. These 98 . and remodelling. Furthermore. The majority of the neighbourhood buildings. As such. for the most part. rehabilitation is a form of intervention that can be used extensively in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. Therefore. The results of the survey have distinguished three degrees of rehabilitation: strict rehabilitation. given that in certain cases it is necessary to re-establish their original functionality not only through repair.

This applies to local buildings such as the Darb Shoughlan School. At times. especially those in public or Awqaf ownership. For those traditional buildings that have been irreversibly altered. the old and the (Top) Strict rehabilitation has been recommended for this traditional three-story building constructed circa 1910. an adaptive re-use program is preferable to decay and eventual collapse. the best candidates for adaptive reuse are large utilitarian buildings with flexible plans and adaptable interior spaces. carry out necessary repairs. and introduce modern facilities. which requires fairly radical interventions. especially in the internal organisation of spaces. adaptive re-use is often the only economic way in which old buildings can be saved. The final objective of this type of action is that of transforming buildings through a series of interventions aimed at the introduction of new facilities and uses. Remedial rehabilitation will restore the full integrity and functionality of this structure.actions are carried out with the aim of repairing the structure and introducing the changes necessary for contemporary use while preserving the structural elements and traditional features of the buildings in question. Survey results also indicate that a great number of traditional buildings in the neighbourhood have been reversibly altered with the introduction of incongruous additions and alterations. however. In this respect. remedial rehabilitation is necessary. TOP: MAHA MAAMOUN 99 . remodelling is required to preserve any surviving historic elements and carry out the transformation necessary to ensure the continued use and economic life of the building as an alternative to its reconstruction or even its demolition. This is particularly true where such action introduces self-sustaining activities relevant to the community and does not require a total disruption of the original fabric. Generally. its long-term objective is to remove incongruous elements. but compatible uses can be found for almost any building worth preserving. thus re-establishing the full historic integrity and functionality of the structures. (Bottom) This 1930 building has been reversibly altered with changes to the fittings and finishes. In the case of the vacant and rapidly deteriorating historic buildings in the neighbourhood. In such cases.

In practical terms. from similar surviving examples. In yet other cases. (Bottom) Shop entrances. is the most radical. In order to respond to these different cases. having collapsed long ago. this is possible only in the case of well-known and fully documented buildings. or from other very limited documentary evidence. modern windows. It has been irreversibly altered and needs remodelling. It is especially suited to the relatively large number of buildings that collapsed during the 1992 earthquake. since it involves the reproduction in part or in full of the form and detail of a structure that is no longer standing intact. Evidently. reconstruction. However. and no evidence remains today. The last of the actions to preserve. signage. the traditional structures are completely gone. in the majority of the cases found in the Aslam Mosque study area. the historic accuracy of a reconstruction depends on the nature and strength of existing documentary and physical evidence. proposed new functions must be compatible.(Top) Given its close proximity to al-Azhar Park and the historic wall. three forms of 100 . particularly in the case of minor residential buildings. the former configuration of structures can only be conjectured from the ruins of a remaining ground floor. the former Darb Shoughlan School is significant in its potential to be adaptively re-used as a facility for residents and visitors. and attention should be given to the definition of a re-use program that is in line with the structural and formal character of the building in question. and a gunite cement finish have completely altered this building’s late nineteenth-century façade.

transformation. ACTIONS TO TRANSFORM The removal. there are four types of 101 . this plot of land will require volumetric reconstruction in order to re-establish the massing and scale of the vanished building. these types of actions may be undertaken for the purpose of eliminating structures or portions of structures that damage the environmental quality and integrity of the existing urban fabric. vacant land. and spaces in the historic area. where no adaptive re-use is envisaged and “freezing” their appearance is acceptable. and public open spaces is also a necessary step in the revitalisation of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. groups of structures. or development of individual buildings. but there is a sufficient idea of the particular type through analysis and historical documentation of similar buildings to allow for partial or total reconstruction. community services. or remodelling public open spaces in order to improve the provision and quality of housing. advisable. This type of reconstruction is especially appropriate for monumental or religious buildings. Unlike a new development. typological. and volumetric. Strict reconstruction applies to situations where there is sufficient documentation to allow for the exact reproduction of the ruined structure in part or in full. This applies to cases in which no physical evidence remains. Typological reconstruction is possible when documentation on individual buildings is lacking. building entire new structures. This form of reconstruction must be in line with the character of a specific typological family such as the reintegration of missing buildings among homogeneous portions of the city fabric. In particular. With this in mind.reconstruction are identified as possible courses of action in the study area: strict. but where the re-establishment of the scale and building density of parts of a historic neighbourhood is (Left) Through the examination of intact similar structures. Volumetric reconstruction may be more properly defined as the re-establishment of the massing and scale of vanished parts of the city fabric. typological reconstruction can enable the re-establishment of the missing floors of this building so that they are sympathetic to the overall integrity of the study area. this type of action attempts to retain and preserve the essence and historic memory of past structures as they might have existed. (Right) Currently used as an informal workshop.

this form of intervention is recommended for that portion of the building that is built into or on top of the wall. partial demolition is especially suited for those buildings located in the vicinity of the historic Ayyubid wall. Given that it includes the removal of incongruous accretions or transformations.actions to transform within the study area: partial demolition. 102 . will often require total demolition. redevelopment. on the other hand. or demolition with redevelopment. and new development. applicable to buildings that are built on top of the wall. inappropriate. while partial demolition is recommened for the portion of a building that is built onto the historic Ayyubid wall (left) is sufficient. Structures that are harmful. demolition without reconstruction. This can include demolition without reconstruction. and of no historical or architectural value. It is also recommended for buildings with an added storey. Demolition without reconstruction is recommended for accretive structures built entirely on top of the wall (top). but it will also relieve the extra stress that causes structural damage to the lower storeys. In such cases. in such cases. obsolete. the removal of these storeys will not only restore building integrity.

programs of urban remodelling and substitution need to be included in the general plan as special areas subject to detailed planning. typological or volumetric reconstruction is appropriate. As such. new development requires the building of contemporary structures or remodelling of public open spaces in ways that are physically and visually compatible with the surrounding historic context. involving the partial or total modification of the size of plots. In cases where the objective of new development is to re-establish the architectural and urban integrity of vanished parts of the historic fabric. 103 . when the objective is the transformation of the existing fabric. no substantial historic remains should be destroyed in the process. often involving the public administration as the main actor. urban remodelling or substitution are more suitable forms of intervention. In the latter case. for which a specific technical brief needs to be formulated and approved by the Cairo Planning Commission. street patterns. Moreover. A new economically designed building on this site could improve the standard of living for the current inhabitants. and the redesign of public open spaces. This type of radical town planning interventions need to be planned in a coordinated manner and require the preparation of complex urban design and implementation programs. the demolition of these structures—usually built of semi-permanent materials—should normally be part of a full redevelopment program for which detailed plans have been formulated and where the subsequent use of the area made available is clearly specified. Generally speaking. However.applicable to the large plots of land currently occupied by substandard non-historical housing units. where vehicular movement is expected). social and performance criteria. This candidate for new development has been subdivided by more than a dozen informal housing constructions built within the footprint of a demolished structure. In these cases. the proposed new developments should be justifiable based on visual. reconstruction is not a practical option for preservation both because the traditional context has already been completely altered and because there is a need to introduce new functions and activities for which traditional town planning solutions are inadequate or insufficient (for example. organisation of blocks. In areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar.

Proposed Actions for Intervention Preventive maintenance Restoration Rehabilitation Reconstruction Adaptive re-use Partial demolition Demolition without reconstruction Redevelopment New development (30) (1) (42) (19) (4) (7) (3) (17) (4) 104 .

financial. 105 . The guidelines for intervention attempt to match the financial requirements for each scheme with the capabilities and social requirements of the residents.I N T R O D U C T I O N T O T H E C A S E S T U D I E S REASONS FOR SELECTION ollowing a general recommendation of several types of urban intervention for the study area. The examples selected here show various degrees of intervention as well as different legal. Two of them. a typical case in the study area. five case studies. two options were presented for the same building. since its remodelling requires the clarification of the legal status of buildings located in close proximity to monuments. it is an example of a tenure F situation prevalent in the area. and therefore subject to change and development. and social requirements. were chosen from among the buildings in the neighbourhood for being representative of the various conditions that prevail in the area. The building occupied solely by tenants (building 444) is slightly more complicated. but at the same time is less enticing for the owners to invest in its rehabilitation. not finalised architectural solutions. since it is unlikely that the owner will be willing to spend on its upgrading. These are merely suggestions. thereby acknowledging numerous possibilities for urban intervention even within the scope of one case study. since they are privately owned and provide incentives for their respective owners to invest in their redevelopment. and is therefore important to address. In one example. The house constructed adjacent to the Ayyubid city wall (building 419) is somewhat more controversial but crucial. However. such as the plots selected for reconstruction (building 212) and for new urban development (building 408). such as the building needing simple remodelling (building 116). which are discussed in the following pages. requires much less work and a much smaller investment. are especially promising. Another.

TARGET NEIGHBOURHOOD STUDY MAP ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Case Study Selections ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ da lla ha l- Ge uw ein y Ha ret Sa’ ad Alla h Aslam Mosque 116 91 Darb Shoughlan 444 Dar bS hou ghl an Fa tm aa l-N ab aw ey a 6 Haret Aslam Midan Aslam 212 al l 99 Darb Shoughlan 63 Darb Shoughlan 408 419 Th e Ay yu bi d W 17 Atfet Hozayen 106 Ha ret As lam Ab .

In general. they tend to ○ ○ ○ ○ reflect poorly on the entire square and.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S CASE STUDY: STRICT REHABILITATION OF BUILDING 116. Overall condition / State of Integrity Deteriorating / Reversibly altered building Ownership and tenure Private and vacant ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Aslam Square H t are As lam Ground floor plan with surrounding structures. the neighbourhood focal point. most other traditional buildings surrounding the square have been altered in ways that make it difficult to ascertain their original appearance. The south façade of building 116. more specifically. REASONS FOR SELECTION It is important to consider the building in relation to its surroundings in order to understand some of the primary reasons for its selection as a case study. at the beginning of Haret Aslam Alley. located next to Aslam Mosque. It is adjacent to Aslam Mosque on Aslam Square. But this building is an exception: since it has maintained most of its historic integrity. 6 HARET ASLAM Fact Sheets LOCATION The building is located on the east side of Aslam Mosque. on the mosque. Other important factors have led to the selection of this building. namely the fact that it is owned and inhabited by members of one extended 107 . its rehabilitation would greatly enhance the area.

parallel to the south façade and used to cantilever the southeast section of the first floor. woodpanelled window shutters have replaced the traditional lattice screens. Decorative exterior elements are minimal and reduced to simple stucco bands running above the ground-floor entrance and the secondstorey windows. The building lacks a sharp corner at the junction of its east and south façades. 108 . On the ground floor. are exposed at their ends. except for a room on the ground floor that is let out to a tenant. thus providing the opportunity to examine the most efficient and economically viable means of rehabilitation. instead. It is important to deal with this type of arrangement. there was greater flexibility in the design: the southeast corner of the building projects over the street in order to create more regular interior spaces. the cornice is similarly proportioned. the building represents a case of gradual deterioration of finishes and structural elements. however. evidenced by the replacement of the shutters on the upper-floor windows and the periodic repainting of the interior. The finishes on the lower portion of the ground floor are in poor condition. On the first floor. it has been covered by several layers of plaster. the use of an engaged stone column facilitates the movement of carts and other traffic into the narrow alley and thus prevents abrasion of the corner stonework. This arrangement dictates— and in this case constrains—intervention policies. since the building must provide a division of space that clearly demarcates the territory of each heir. the others have all been modified and are of irregular dimensions with simple wooden frames and iron bars. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ of numerous heirs. resulting from the building changing hands through inheritance and thus becoming property EXTERIOR APPEARANCE While most of the building is of rubble finished with plaster. most of which have fallen away. the lower portion of the ground floor is finished with large blocks of exposed cut stone that originally served as a water table. On the lower storey. in part due to the rising water table. since it is a common one in the area. Finally. the residents are cooperative and have an interest in maintaining their property. however. only one window retains the original decorative iron grillework. 6 Haret Aslam family.Fact sheet: Building 116. Upstairs. Furthermore. One crucial aspect that is represented here is the subdivision of a residential structure to accommodate different branches of a single family. Two large support timbers. the necessity of respecting the plot shape resulted in an irregular ground plan.

6 Haret Aslam ELEVATIONS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ South elevation East elevation 109 .Fact sheet: Building 116.

A simple. concrete band decorates the entranceway. 110 .Fact sheet: Building 116. which were used for structural support. The projecting southeast corner. 6 Haret Aslam EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ All that remains of a projecting oriel on the first floor are these wooden beams. on timber supports.

6 Haret Aslam EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Newly installed windows on the first floor. Replacement windows on the ground floor. An engaged stone column on the southeast corner. 111 . An original window with iron grilles on the ground floor.Fact sheet: Building 116.

the house has been extended to the west. part of the hallway has been annexed to one of the interior rooms to form a kitchen area. and the plaster finish—applied at a later date—is delaminating in several areas. and.Fact sheet: Building 116. the living area has been divided with wooden partitions to form an extra bedroom and a second kitchen. On the ground floor. Furthermore. accessible from the firstfloor apartment by means of a few steps. CURRENT CONDITION Rising damp has damaged much of the stonework on the ground floor.) In the interior. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Ground floor Intermediate floor First floor 112 . newly installed windows on the first floor are not traditional and lack proper exterior framing. the condition of the building depends on which section each owner is maintaining: the ground floor is in poor condition while the first floor is in good shape. several of the first-floor windows are in disrepair: the woodwork has been poorly maintained and is beginning to rot. (Although in good condition. on the upper storey. In addition. above the adjacent bakery. This has permitted the construction of a room between the ground and first floors and another one above it. 6 Haret Aslam FLOOR PLANS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ INTERIOR APPEARANCE The interior has been altered over the years in order to accommodate changes in family structure and living requirements.

is poorly maintained. The upper storey shared by Aida and her brother’s family houses two separate households.E. cooking and eating are done separately: Aida cooks at a counter with a short. first-floor window. which has no electrical supply. has annexed part of the central space to create a private bathroom and kitchen facility for himself and his wife (they have no children). The other ground-floor occupant. Om Hamid boarded up one of the windows on the street because it was too large and thus violated her privacy. and the children of a deceased sister. unlike the one above. The fifth room is locked and occasionally used by the heirs of the deceased sister. while one of the owners and his wife occupy the inner room and an annexed bathroom and kitchen space. uses the corner room for storage. On the ground floor. 113 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ . one of the sons of the deceased sister. she benefits from being on the ground floor. The third room is uninhabited and used as a space for storage. Another family member. each with its own budget. who is an owner but lives elsewhere. as it makes it convenient for neighbours to bring her what she needs from nearby street vendors.Fact sheet: Building 116.5 monthly rent for their ground-floor room. including four children. wooden partition for child ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ kitchenette in the hallway. Consequently. The upper level is shared among two households: Aida occupies the corner room and a USE PATTERNS Om Hamid and her son pay L. 2. and her brother’s family. one sister. an extended family consisting of two brothers. occupies three rooms. This combination of tenants and an absentee owner has resulted in a floor that. 6 Haret Aslam OCCUPANCY Except for a rented room on the ground floor. the tenants Om Hamid and her son occupy the northeast room and a bathroom. Number of households: Number of residents: Ground floor First floor Uninhabited rooms: Commercial activity: 4 4 7 2 0 Aida has a good view of Aslam Square from her large. the building is occupied by the owners. But given that she has trouble walking and does not leave the house.

a small television.Fact sheet: Building 116. the sofa set transforms into a bed. has set up a kitchen where her bedroom used to be. with ample sunlight pouring in and a view of Aslam Square. Sofa beds around the room Aida’s kitchen Stairwell and lightwell Om Mish Mish’s kitchen was previously used as a bedroom Bathroom Television cabinet Wood partition used to divide the space Separate quarters owned by the heirs Sofa bed Table Kitchen cabinets Closet cabinet Refrigerator Chair Bed Sofa bed Television placed in the windowsill Om Mish Mish’s room is used as a study area for her daughter in the evening 114 . and a coffee table. The room is slightly elevated from the rest of the floor because it lies above the next-door bakery. The small television set is conveniently placed on the wide windowsill. shared between two families Om Mish Mish’s sons’ room. and the awning outside the window provides privacy from the neighbours across the alley. and. She and her children eat their main meals there. it happens to be the nicest room in the building. 6 Haret Aslam safety. Aida does her laundry once a week. the couch is placed below the window to allow for a good view. while her brother’s wife. the youngest daughter uses this room as a quiet study area. Like many rooms with a window. at night. Om Mish Mish’s room is furnished with a sofa set. In the evening. used as the family room at dinner time. using an electric washing machine that she brings from The internal organisation of the first floor. but dinner is always in her sons’ room in front of the big television set (the two sons are in their early twenties). Aida has all her belongings in a room where she entertains her visitors and eats her meals. Om Mish Mish.

the owners stopped raising animals on the roof. All furniture is moved out to make room for the machines. the heirs use this room as a refuge during marital problems. but they still use the space for hanging their laundry. the storage room off the stairwell and places outside her room.Fact sheet: Building 116.” meaning the family house. As is the custom. this house. 115 . especially during religious feasts. The room owned by the heirs of the deceased sister is kept locked most of the time. using three electric washing machines that she places in a room created by partitioning the central space. or during pregnancy and the few months following the delivery. They also use it as a place to spend an occasional weekend. and though they live elsewhere. However. Om Mish Mish washes twice a week. is to them what is known as “beit el ‘ela. in the central hallway. being their grandfather’s house. 6 Haret Aslam Because of structural safety problems.

116 . they were told that for structural safety reasons they should not keep sheep and chickens on the roof. but their marriage has been postponed because the couple cannot find affordable housing in the area. In addition.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S INTERVENTION STRATEGY FOR BUILDING 116. a favourite colour for interior walls and the same colour as the rest of the interior doors. since only the lower half was functional. Like many people in the area. The owners offered them a free connection. recently painting the entire upper floor after renovating the water pipes and plumbing in the bathroom. She placed new wooden windows without the lattice and painted them bright green. they still use the space for hanging their laundry. The occupants in the southwest room could do with more space and ventilation. the current window on the street is consistently shut because it exposes them Aida and Om Mish Mish have lived in 6 Haret Aslam for over thirty years. 6 HARET ASLAM USERS’ NEEDS One of Om Mish Mish’s daughters is engaged to a neighbour in the house opposite. The new windows are divided into upper and lower parts that can be operated separately. according to her. Aida replaced the old windows because. thus giving her more control and flexibility. the residents maintain the inside of their house but neglect the outside. they had expanded with moisture and were a nuisance to use. Although they stopped raising animals altogether. The owners considered adding a storey to the house but were advised against it: consulting a local contractor after the 1992 earthquake. they cannot afford one. Although the ground-floor tenants would like to have an electricity outlet. but Om Hamid insisted on having an outlet or nothing at all.

would be repaired or replaced where necessary. they would follow the form of the shutters. including: re-instatement of lattice screens for first floor windows to restore shade and privacy replastering of facade to protect the building removal of plaster on the watertable masonry and. There is no evidence of any other serious structural problems. nor is there any indication of leakage in the ground. where needed. The roof would thus be accessible to the residents. as was previously the case. instead. but it is also historically accurate. left exposed (this would include removing the current layer of plaster on this portion of the building). As for the exterior. such as the horizontal stucco bands above the windows and entranceway. with a new roofing membrane installed. traditional lattice screens would replace the wooden shutters now in place. could be added in order to create shade. following the same pattern as the one remaining window with iron grilles. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY Construction and materials The main concern in the rehabilitation of this structure is the roof. made out of a decorative textile. like the engaged column. with glass to keep out the cold and dust. the wooden beams would be substituted and reinforced. The remaining building would receive a new layer of plaster. providing them with a good view of the park and the square. replacement of the facing stone repair of windows and decorative ironwork 8 removal of plaster from the engaged column and surrounding stonework. The cut stone water table would be reinstated and. The owners of the southeast room have not considered the potential of using it other than as a space for storage. the ground-floor windows would be replaced with the traditional decorative iron grilles. Furthermore. Simple decorative details. As for the upper-floor windows. In the proposed scheme. repointing or replacement of facing stone replacement of floor at ground level maintenance and upgrading of services and sanitary installations to Aslam Square traffic. which is in need of structural intervention. 117 . Tenting. the engaged stone column and surrounding decorative cut stone would be treated and left exposed.This building needs rehabilitation.and first-floor bathrooms. Not only is this type of lattice screen design more practical. The rest of the interior is in good condition and needs little intervention. However. these new screens would not slide up and down.

since it is in reasonably good condition and most of the proposed intervention is cosmetic. 118 . The greatest incentive for the owners to contribute to the rehabilitation of this building is for them to be permitted to build additional rooms on the roof of the house.Financing options The only plausible means of rehabilitating this building is by setting up a matching grants system by which the project agency and the owners would contribute jointly to the maintenance of the building. It is otherwise unlikely that the owners would be willing to contribute to the improvement of the building. AXONOMETRIC DRAWING ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Proposed interventions ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Detail of the new lattice screen design Axonometric drawing showing how the building would look after implementation of the recommended interventions. but this is contingent upon the structural reinforcement of the building.

and the fact that its owners seem keen to rebuild it make it a suitable pilot initiative for reconstruction. the large plot size (170 square metres). the existence of many of the original stone walls provides the opportunity to examine how much of the structure can be preserved and whether or not the original building materials can be salvaged. such as the doorway. Overall condition / State of Integrity Partially ruined / Partial ruin with valuable architectural features Ownership and tenure Private and vacant ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Da rb Sh Fu ou rn gh lan al- Sa rrif Ground floor plan with surrounding structures. this one is notable because it retains much of its ground floor. making it suitable for typological reconstruction. some of its remaining elements.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S CASE STUDY: TYPOLOGICAL RECONSTRUCTION OF BUILDING 212. The south façade of building 212. are architecturally valuable. with a partial view of Aslam Mosque in the background. Although such cases are common in the study area. Moreover. REASONS FOR SELECTION This structure is a good example of a partially ruined building that maintains several valuable architectural features. 119 . The ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ building’s prominent location on Darb Shoughlan. 99 DARB SHOUGHLAN Fact Sheets LOCATION This building has a strategic location at the intersection of Darb Shoughlan and Furn al-Sarrif. Also.

Fact sheet: Building 212. with copper rosettes concealing the iron joinery. among them: dressed stonework. Facing Darb Shoughlan. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The two upper floors were demolished after the 1992 earthquake. the secondary Furn al-Sarrif façade is a combination of the same stone facing and stucco over rubble. and an electrical appliance repair shop. Both façades. however. the structure still retains several valuable architectural features. stone corbels. The entrance portal projects slightly and presents a composition of complicated arabesque panels surmounted by an elaborately carved decorative cornice. this structure is now in partial ruins. the primary façade is completely of cut stone over a rubble core. However. West elevation 120 . the upper storeys would have projected at an angle to the street. Only the ground floor and a part of the first floor remain of what was originally a traditional threestory building dating to the mid-nineteenth century. separated by pilasters placed beneath Ottoman-style stone corbels. and a decorative stone portal with elaborately carved detailing. Flanking the portal are pilasters notable for their Corinthian capitals. As was common of nineteenth-century buildings. a metal shop. Wrought-iron window grilles on the ground floor have detailing that is both decorative and practical. The windows of the two upper storeys are said to have been of the latticed variety. 99 Darb Shoughlan EXTERIOR APPEARANCE Demolished by its occupants after the 1992 earthquake. typical of buildings of this type. have a similar decorative treatment: the two sides are divided into registers. The structure presently houses two shoe shops. windows with iron grilles.

99 Darb Shoughlan VALUABLE ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Interior archway leading into an inner courtyard. 121 . Windows with iron grilles and wood-panelled shutters.Fact sheet: Building 212. Decorative stucco window sprandrels and lintel hoods on the first-floor windows show a strong neo-classical influence.

The house had five bathrooms: one was located on the ground floor. This can best be seen by the treatment of the courtyard. Reports of a skylight on the uppermost storey. which was used to entertain guests. two were on the first floor. Remains of architectural elements suggest a strong Ottoman influence. and the remaining two were on the second floor. where daily activities would have taken place. the flat wide arches. surmounted by a wooden dome—a feature popular in Cairo since the Ottoman period—reinforces the idea that this building was a transition between Ottoman and European architecture. However. Each of the upper storeys had a central living room. 99 Darb Shoughlan EXISTING FLOOR PLANS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ West elevation as seen on page 114 Ground floor Ground Floor Small street stall Plan accretion Darkened areas of the walls indicate remaining fabric. and the decorative mouldings are very much in the tradition of eighteenth-century domestic architecture. where the stone facing. the upper storey reflects a more European influence: the stuccowork surrounding the window frames is neo-classical in style.Fact sheet: Building 212. 122 . indicating that the building was not entirely in the European tradition. First floor Fi t Fl INTERIOR APPEARANCE Pl The ground floor consists of a series of rooms surrounding a courtyard.

near al-Salam City. in other buildings that totally collapsed. Judging from their clothes and the women’s jewellery. and. have been given apartments by the government in al-Nahda. The aforementioned owner is a carpenter who rents a workshop across the street. although his workshop is not active. including one of the owners. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Number of households: Number of residents: Uninhabited rooms: Commercial activity: 0 0 0 4 123 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ . His family has several properties plots away: his sister and her children live in the house at the end of the adjacent cul-de-sac. and his nephew owns and runs the coffeeshop across the street. he is seen sitting outside the corner grocery store on a daily basis. 99 Darb Shoughlan OCCUPANCY The existing partial ruins of the ground floor are temporarily occupied by two workshops (the metal and electrical repair shops) that pay rent but have not signed a contract with the owners. The workshop owners as well as the employees live in the study area or nearby. his brother lives nearby. these workshops were located in the vicinity. they seem quite an affluent family.Fact sheet: Building 212. Previously. or in al-Mokkattam. USE PATTERNS The previous occupants of the building.

the carpenter expressed his wish. currently lives in informal housing at Basateen. 124 . as well as that of other family members. which are fully occupied by the owners and tenants. This could be divided into three fiftysquare-metre apartments or two larger apartments. 99 DARB SHOUGHLAN USERS’ NEEDS When the owners were asked what they would prefer to do with their plot. In particular. This young carpenter.E. lost their home during the earthquake and were offered replacement housing in al-Salam City. the owners are interested in living in an apartment size of around seventy square metres.E. One prospective tenant for this building rents the workshop across the alleyway from the plot. who used to be his parents’ next-door neighbours. Following the interior subdivision of the building. and it seemed that the most appropriate would be for the owners to occupy half the building. 50 monthly rent for a fiftyseven-square-metre apartment. to reconstruct the former building and use it as a residence. the plot allows for 150 square metres of apartment space on a typical floor. 80 monthly rent for his current apartment of sixty-five square metres.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S INTERVENTION STRATEGY FOR BUILDING 212. there was no room for him in his family’s properties. the carpenter currently pays L. whose family owns and resides in two buildings in the study area. He pays L. Building cost and apartment size were discussed. It The partial ruins of building 212 as seen from above. with a portion of the Ayyubid city wall visible in the background. His wife’s family. Renting out workshop space in the ground level would help as well. renting out the other half and charging advance money to cover part of the construction costs. When he married.

6. 6. to pay as much as L. A couple of years ago. 20. and to obtain water and electricity. to live on this plot because it is close to his work. given the fact that it is in partial ruins and little evidence remains of its original appearance.E. He will get more than half of this advance money from leaving his current apartment in Basateen.E.500 advance money and another L. 150 monthly rent for seventy square metres. designed to fit within the historic context and character of the study area. bathroom fixtures. Essential for this type of reconstruction is the analysis of existing buildings with 125 . it can serve as a model reconstruction.000 advance money and L. windows and doors. He would like to come back to the area for many reasons: particularly.Typological reconstruction of building 212 should include: Reconstruction of the upper floors Removal of trash and rubble from the site Conservation treatment to iron grilles Structural documentation and analysis of the existing ground-floor fabric to see if it can be reconstituted into the new building Application of a new layer of plaster to protect masonry Stabilisation and conservation treatments of the existing building fabric Replacement of structural elements and repair of stonework Reinstatement of sewage and water facilities cost him L. RECOMMENDED INTERVENTIONS Typological reconstruction is recommended for this building. He thinks his brother who took the apartment next door to him would desire the same.E. two of his brothers paid similar amounts in modern buildings in nearby Megharbeleen. Occupying a large site with high visibility. He is willing. even eager.E.000 for floor finishing.

but it would also be a good way of creating work for local craftsmen and encourage them to continue with traditional craftsmanship. it can be made on site. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY Construction and materials In order to reconstruct building 212 typologically.similar typologies in surrounding areas of al-Darb alAhmar. sand. (Concrete footings can be used for the foundations. (Ideally. this building can be (Right) Whole sections of deteriorating plaster have fallen off around the entranceway. whenever possible. Not only would this maintain the historic integrity of the area. and decorative fittings are to be considered when planning the replacement structure so that it is sympathetic to the context in which it will be reconstructed. and. the proposed reconstruction scheme must attempt to retain remaining architectural elements. thus minimising labour. materials can be re-used. volume. (Below) Vacant sections within the building have been filled with rubble and trash from a metal workshop. A large portion of the stonework on the ground floor is in very poor condition and most likely will have to be replaced. and 4% cement. wood. whenever their condition permits. construction technology and materials should remain traditional. The upper floors would be finished with a simple layer of plaster. 126 . if available.) Also. moreover. Additionally. revealing the intricate stone carving. If stone were to be used for reconstruction. these bricks need not be burnt. it is a low-cost and recyclable material. and stone can come from nearby. scale.) Brick can be used for the upper floors. Furthermore. metal. Features such as building height. since these resist moisture and keep water away from the walls. built with low-cost materials to make it affordable for the owner. and. Nubian sandstone would be a good alternative: the rise in the water table is a major concern and this particular type of sandstone resists moisture better than limestone. either from the building itself or from around the area. Materials such as brick. these bricks would be made with soil. oral history and documentary evidence. and. given that the soil for making the bricks can come from the nearby Darassa Hills.

127 . As for the interior. Simple horizontal bands would be placed above each of the windows. and a bathroom. and that several workshops can be built on the ground floor. a kitchen. palm wood is a good alternative for the lattice screens: not only is it two thirds the price of ordinary wood.Although the roofing and flooring could be made out of wood. two living areas. As regards materials. The reconstruction of this building could also be undertaken with the project agency administrating the transactions between the owners and the possible tenants. placed in intervals of approximately one metre with brick vaulting in between. The larger apartment would occupy the front portion of the building. However. All rooms would be lit and ventilated by courtyards or smaller lightwells located throughout the building. and a larger one including two bedrooms. this would be impractical because wood does not resist moisture. (This method has been used in some parts of the former Darb Shoughlan School.and second-floor windows. a living area. each with two apartments. which was demolished after the 1992 earthquake. The decorative stone portal. Perhaps the simplest method of financing the rebuilding of the property is by means of the advance payment method in which prospective tenants would pay the owner advance money with which he could finance the building. a kitchen. and a bathroom. Another option is concrete. a living area. The existing walls. with four bedrooms (all facing Darb Shoughlan). there needs to be strict control over the building design to ensure that the final result is architecturally acceptable and preserves as much of the remaining stonework as possible. are in poor condition and most likely will have to be rebuilt. the smaller apartment would have two bedrooms. one of the most interesting architectural features of the house. Given that the number of apartments that can be constructed is potentially large. but it is also easy to work. but it is an expensive material and not ecofriendly. Located at the rear of the building. is a cheaper construction method. Financing options The fact that the current owners claim to be willing to invest in the property. The proposed scheme for the two upper floors are similar in plan. a living area. as well as the iron window grilles. and a kitchen. is an indicator that a realistic reconstruction scheme can be undertaken here. would be repaired and reused. slated metal doors typical of the area. and two bathrooms. the layout would follow the same internal organisation of the existing walls. the money collected from prospective tenants should be sufficient to allow him to redevelop the site. The large size of the plot makes it potentially lucrative for redevelopment. two kitchens.) The traditional lattice screens can be used for the first. since there is much greater likelihood of the project being financially profitable. Steel beams. The ground floor would have two workshops facing Darb Shoughlan. which would have as entrances the large. Two apartments would occupy this floor: a smaller one including a bedroom. however.

AXONOMETRIC AND PLANS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Proposed intervention for Case Study 212 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ound Floor Plan pical Floor Plan Ground floor Typical floor (Above) The two uppermost floors were demolished and only the ground floor remains. with several lightwells to provide light and ventilation for the entire building. (Left) The proposed intervention scheme includes the reconstruction of two floors. 128 .

however. and therefore not worth preserving.) The plot selected here is located on Darb Shoughlan. if left unchecked. thereby in effect acknowledging new construction as an inevitable but not necessarily negative aspect of development in ○ ○ historic cities. what is left is minimal and in poor condition. and surrounded by buildings on three sides. irregular in shape. near Atfet Hozayen. and. it is small in size. 129 . Darb Shoughlan. and. 63 DARB SHOUGHLAN Fact Sheets LOCATION This building is located on the study area’s major thoroughfare. Dar bS hou ghl The total ruins of building 408 as seen from Darb Shoughlan. Overall condition / State of Integrity Total ruin / Total ruin Ownership and tenure Private and owner-occupied ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Atfe an tH o zay en Ground floor plan with surrounding structures. part of the outer shell of the original building still stands. the area’s main thoroughfare. it was crucial to select a vacant plot of land as a case study. (In this case. often result in structures of negligible architectural value that destroy the character of a neighbourhood. like most plots in the area.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S CASE STUDY: NEW DEVELOPMENT OF BUILDING 408. REASONS FOR SELECTION New constructions have the most profound impact on historic areas. For this reason.

Hence. 130 . replacing the one viewed above. a plain. which consists of a rubble core finished with a cut stone veneer—dressed blocks that are approximately thirty centimetres in height and of random length. probably the old support between the door and transom. In the proposed scheme. while its redesign may present an architectural challenge. the original shop entrance will be reinstated. projects slightly and is framed by simple pilasters of cut stone. The original entrance portal. separates the infill. The ground floor also contains a large commercial entrance. Although a remaining wooden lintel— previously used as part of the frame—can still be found inserted into the stonework. presently blocked with a cement infill. each section hinged into two halves—a design that can still be found in a few other traditional buildings in the area. Traces of gunite cement can be found on the lower half of the façade. Physical evidence suggests that this entrance originally had vertical folding doors divided into two sections. it is an accurate reflection of the urban conditions and constraints that prevail in much of the study area. 63 Darb Shoughlan Thus. it provides the opportunity EXTERIOR APPEARANCE This structure collapsed during the 1992 earthquake.Fact sheet: Building 408. A wooden beam. two-leaf metal door has replaced the original folding doors. especially in the area surrounding the entrance portal. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ to examine the means of constructing modern buildings that are in line with contemporary building standards and at the same time compatible with their historic setting. and all that remains of what was originally a threestorey building is the ground-floor portion of the front façade.

which are currently covered with a layer of plaster. and. 63 Darb Shoughlan INTERIOR APPEARANCE Little remains of the interior beyond portions of the rubble walls. it is in poor condition and there is little that is actually worth preserving. located to the right of the entranceway. USE PATTERNS Part of the plot is filled with rubble. His business seems to be doing well: several employees are seen working continuously. and unfinished furniture frames fill the structure’s interior and spill out into the street.Fact sheet: Building 408. it is used to discard workshop trash. and. CURRENT CONDITION Overall. a roof-like covering of canvas provides shade and protection. Since this structure is not enclosed. At present. OCCUPANCY This plot was bought a few years back by a motorcycle mechanic who lives in his parents’ house two alleyways away. A large portion of the interior is used as storage space for furniture frames and materials. like other ruins in the area. now blocked Workspace and storage for furniture frames A small brick and rubble shed used for storage and tending animals Number of households: Number of residents: Uninhabited rooms: Commercial activity: 0 0 0 4 131 ○ ○ ○ ○ . he used to work in the alleyway in front of his parents’ house. a wood staining workshop operates inside this ruined building. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ EXISTING FLOOR PLAN ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Original entrance portal. who uses the space to stain the woodframes of furniture made in the area. The mechanic rents the front section facing Darb Shoughlan to his younger brother. a small enclosure constructed out of brick and rubble is used for additional storage and tending animals. The younger brother who runs the wood staining workshop has lived in government housing in Moqattam since the earthquake. Previously. but he frequently stays at his mother-in-law’s house—located in the area—for long periods of time because it is more convenient. although the structure still retains a portion of its ground floor.

(Because they are girls one needs more space. In the proposed scheme. which faces Darb Shoughlan. the creation of a backyard will provide lighting and ventilation for the entire house.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S INTERVENTION STRATEGY FOR BUILDING 408. and the youngest. 63 DARB SHOUGHLAN USERS’ NEEDS The landowner and his two brothers are interested in building and living on this plot of land and claim they can afford the building expenses without having to rent out any units. who currently Exterior view of the remaining ground floor. the elder explained. rents the workshop. is to the right of the shop entrance. has a three-month-old baby girl. occupying two rooms overlooking Darb Shoughlan. therefore. each containing one apartment of about seventy square metres. the roof can 132 . With perhaps one tenant renting the smaller ground-floor apartment.) RECOMMENDED INTERVENTIONS Intervention for this building includes reconstruction through the establishment of the massing of the vanished structure. The original entrance. By making it accessible to the residents. The two older brothers have three daughters each. although the landowner has promised a nearby vendor a lodging on this plot if it is ever built. the building will consist of three floors. now blocked. Each brother is interested in having an entire floor of approximately seventy square metres. The plot area is about eighty square metres and has only one elevation. the existing workshop will remain in the front portion of the building.

and a kitchenette. Half of the façade would project over Darb Shoughlan in order to provide more living space for the upper-storey apartments. a semi-open kitchenette. he would like to construct a four-storey building with a workshop and perhaps a small apartment on the ground floor and a large apartment on each of the three upper floors. Shop workers (above left) store their products on Darb Shoughlan during the day to provide more workspace in the shop’s interior (above right). reserved for workshop space. he would like the apartment building to be limited solely to his immediate family—that is. Darb Shoughlan. which is to be maintained by the owners. ground floor will be contemporary. It is understood that the two brothers who do not own the land would either each buy a share in the property or make a more substantial investment into its construction. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY Financing options Each of the three brothers will pay for the construction of his apartment. with the two front rooms. The owner of this plot of land is willing to build the plot at his own expense. Although the proposed elevation follows traditional conventions. materials are placed back inside the building. As is typical of the area. Both the bathroom and kitchenette would be located next to the two lightwells. Towards the rear of the building. At night. and the one who owns the land will either collect rent from his two brothers or convince one or both of them to buy part of the land from him. Smaller than the upper-storey apartments. to his brothers. thus receiving adequate lighting and ventilation. the proposed scheme would retain the commercial use on the ground floor. two bedrooms.be used for their daily activities such as hanging laundry. an enclosed bathroom. a bathroom. a small apartment of about forty square metres would access the backyard. Each of the upper floors would have one large apartment containing a living room. The windows will be large in size and their proportions similar to those of turn-of-the-century buildings found in the neighbourhood. 133 . Ideally. In addition. it is simpler and has fewer details. which overlook the major thoroughfare. The portal and workshop entrances are to be plainer versions of what would have been there originally: stonework will not be used and the detailing of the ironwork on the This total ruin is presently occupied by a carpentry shop. this apartment would have a living room. and three rooms. one overlooking Darb Shoughlan and the other two the backyard.

NEW PLANS AND ELEVATION ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Proposed interventions for case study 408 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Ground floor Typical upper floor Axonometric view from the southwest Street view 134 .

TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S CASE STUDY: PARTIAL DEMOLITION OF BUILDING 419. Building 419 is built against and. This building is especially important because its inhabitants have built a bathroom on top of the 135 . REASONS FOR SELECTION This building was selected largely because it is an example of the numerous structures constructed alongside and extended into or onto the Ayyubid wall. 17 ATFET HOZAYEN Fact Sheets LOCATION This building is located next to the Ayyubid city wall. This would ensure that the wall is not subjected to unnecessary damage. Overall condition / State of Integrity Deteriorating / Reversibly altered building with an incompatible vertical addition. In order to preserve the historic wall from further deterioration. while at the same time minimising social disruption to the inhabitants of the area. it is important to remove any accretions and relocate all water sources as far away from the wall as possible. By preventing the water leakage currently emanating from houses such as this one. at the end of a long and narrow alley named Atfet Hozayen. Ownership and tenure Private and owner-occupied Atfe t Ho z ayen ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The Ayyubid wall Ground floor plan with surrounding structures. on the first and second floors. merges into the historic city wall. a symbiotic relationship between the wall and neighbouring houses can be established.

The projecting oriel is typical of the area. given that its residents are fully aware of the violations that they have committed vis-a-vis the Ayyubid wall. In addition. 136 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ . which also suggests an earlier construction date. the building is flanked by the Ayyubid wall to the east and by a neighbouring structure to the west. 17 Atfet Hozayen wall. although this example is Addition The historic wall The future al-Azhar Park Atfet Hozayen Northeast elevation and section through the adjoining Ayyubid wall. Second-storey bathroom the large-scale demolition of the structures adjacent to it. Furthermore. the owners are willing to accept alterations to their home as a compromise to prevent the demolition of the entire structure. is probably a very recent addition. the building size is extremely small. making it much more challenging to find an alternative location for the bathroom located on the ramparts. however. and. The building is currently owner-occupied. The first floor appears to be constructed later than the ground floor. now covered by successive layers of paint. The existing door. and. Its sole façade provides evidence that it was constructed in several stages: a simple stone moulding separating the ground and first floors indicates that the lower portion of the building most likely dates to the turn of the century. Finding a suitable design solution for a building as unaccommodating as this one is an indicator that the Ayyubid wall can be preserved without EXTERIOR APPEARANCE Three storeys in height and of masonry construction.Fact sheet: Building 419. which is of corrugated iron. and therefore the damage to the wall is two-fold. the ground floor has a cut stone finish.

is in poor condition. it is badly lit and poorly ventilated. In particular. The southern room has no windows and is therefore poorly lit and not ventilated. makeshift bathroom atop the wall. Overall. The second-floor bathroom is located outside the structure. 17 Atfet Hozayen ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ not particularly significant. is made of brick. the southern room of both these floors has a small window in the rear of the building. and the brickwork on the upper floor has been left unfinished. on top of the wall. They have built a small. and. As for the uppermost storey. which. CURRENT CONDITION The first two floors have been finished with gunite cement. Since this floor is higher than the level of the adjacent Ayyubid wall. this was constructed recently. under which the bathroom is located. in large part due to the rising damp. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ EXISTING FLOOR PLANS Ground floor First floor Second floor 137 Th Small bathroom built on top of the wall e Small bathroom built partially in the wall Ay yu bid W all . unlike those of the lower floors. unlike that of the ground floor. Each of the upper floors has two rooms. and is built of exposed brick. the residents have easy access to the wall and use its ramparts as a place to hang their washing. given that this building has small windows and no lightwells. The window overlooking the alleyway is made of plywood on the uppermost floor. especially along the lower half. like the rest of the second storey. in front of the staircase and built partially into the historic wall. and the brickwork on the upper storey is in need of repointing and repair. INTERIOR APPEARANCE The ground floor consists of two rooms separated by a staircase. it is in keeping with the architectural conventions of the neighbourhood. which have wooden shutters. The woodwork of the oriel and windows is in fair condition.Fact sheet: Building 419. The firstfloor bathroom is located between the two rooms. the plasterwork on the ground floor.

138 . Local residents use the end of the cul-de-sac for various household activities such as hanging their laundry.Fact sheet: Building 419. Building 419 relies on the adjacent Ayyubid city wall for structural support. 17 Atfet Hozayen ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The first-floor oriel projecting from the front façade rests on roughly-cut. wooden beams.

Fact sheet: Building 419. 17 Atfet Hozayen EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The ramparts of the Ayyubid wall have been considered as an extension to the cramped residential units that are located in the vicinity. 139 . The ground floor contains a vertically proportioned window centered directly below the first-floor oriel. The second-storey brick addition can be seen above a small wooden window on the first floor.

The family members hang their laundry on top of the historic Ayyubid wall. in addition to having better lighting. which. in the small space in front of the house. are where the television sets are placed. The third son and his family occupy the second floor. which consists of two rooms and a toilet. water is carried in (using containers or a garden hose) from a tap in the exterior wall of the house to use for cooking. As evidenced by the hose in the foreground. The washing of clothes takes place outside. Since the house does not have water connections inside.Fact sheet: Building 419. bathing. But. 140 . Cooking takes place on the landing in the two upper levels and in the entrance hallway on the ground level. The mother shares the ground floor with her youngest son and his family: she occupies the front room while the son lives with his wife and their two children in the inner room (all five share the toilet on this floor). around twenty square metres. Currently. each household has its own private toilet. On the upper levels. residents get water for washing clothes and other chores from the street. which can be accessed from the second storey. occupy the first floor. they do not have access to their own roof. That may explain why both families spend most of their time in the front rooms. only the elderly mother and three of her sons—who are all married—live there. and flushing the toilet. which is a visually protected area at the end of the alleyway. which is a luxury compared to other extended-family houses in the area. unlike other houses in the area. cleaning. 17 Atfet Hozayen OCCUPANCY This building is occupied by its owners. originally a nuclear family consisting of a couple and their six boys. Another son. on top of the Ayyubid wall. which was added at a later stage and consists of two rooms and a bathroom built out of wood and located outside the house. the inner rooms lack natural lighting and are ventilated through a small window overlooking the stairwell. In this family house. with each son and his family on a separate floor. together with his wife and their four young children. Number of households: Number of residents: Ground floor First floor Second floor Non inhabited rooms: Commercial activity: 4 5 6 3 0 0 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ USE PATTERNS The plot size is one of the smallest in the area.

Fact sheet: Building 419. 17 Atfet Hozayen The internal organisation of the ground and second floors. his wife and two children occupy the second floor Beds Cabinet Bathroom accessed from the wall rampart Cooking area Exterior stairs leading to the wall rampart Beds Second floor The historic wall Chairs 141 . shared between the extended family of Om Yousef Television Table Om Yousef’s quarters Beds Entrance Cabinet Staircase without a handrail. his wife andtwo children Sofa Ground floor Television cabinet Another son. and with a bathroom located underneath Cooking area Beds The historic wall Youngest son.

However.E. 17 ATFET HOZAYEN USERS’ NEEDS This house is attached to the historic Ayyubid wall with one bathroom built on its ramparts. 2. and balconies. In order to be allowed to stay in their current home.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S INTERVENTION STRATEGY FOR BUILDING 419. despite the fact that two of those toilets have been renovated with modern ceramic tiles and new plumbing has recently been installed. oriels. 142 . they cannot afford the L. Both this bathroom as well as the one on the first floor have to be removed because they are too close to the wall. the owners have put in new tile floors along the ground-floor hallway and in the cul-desac in front of the whole building. These physical features of the site give the alley a sense of intimacy and privacy that few other areas in the study area still maintain. (Below left) Building 419 lies at the end of Atfet Hozayen. a narrow alley that has a number of structures with projecting floors. 500 a month. Furthermore.E. the owners are willing to do the necessary modifications to relocate all of the toilets in the house and create a ventilation shaft at the expense of room space. (Below right) This semi-private domain of the alley allows the residents of building 419 to use their street frontage for a variety of domestic chores as well as a social gathering place.500 required to get city water into the house and request its payment in installments of L.

the larger lightwell will provide the southern rooms with light and ventilation. Since the residents will no longer be able to hang their laundry on the wall. a space of fifteen centimetres is to be left between the addition and the wall in order to protect the wall’s facing stone. lit and ventilated by an added lightwell passing through all the floors of the building and accessible from the staircase on the ground floor (which can be used for checking plumbing and other maintenance). thus providing a good view. The latter is only accessible by going out of the house and walking on the wall itself. The removal of all structures from the wall is recommended. and for this reason financial assistance is necessary. where they can hang their laundry without damaging the historic wall. a cantilever would be used to add to the area of the room to be nearly its current size. and on the second floor. except for the water table. Located towards the rear of the building. In the proposed scheme. The same technique will be used on the second floor: a bathroom will be added and ventilated by the lightwell in the same room. 143 . which currently leads to the wall. the best means of financing its rehabilitation is by a matching grant or low interest loan system. All windows will be replaced with simple. On the first floor. On the exterior. and. (The bathroom on the ground floor does not pose a problem. the bathroom is nearly inside the wall. as it is located under the staircase.) The main concern is therefore to provide the two uppermost floors with bathrooms located away from the historic wall. The simple horizontal band underneath the first-floor window is to be repaired and plastered. Since this new addition will be adjacent to the wall. on the ground floor. fourlight sash windows with wooden moulding. and the access from the house to the wall (where they currently hang their laundry to dry) will be limited by closing up the existing door. Financing Options Given that this building is privately owned and requires remodelling in order to remove the threat that it currently poses to the Ayyubid wall. Two lightwells are to be provided: the smaller one. far from the historic wall. however. The owners’ precarious situation vis-a-vis the antiquities department should make them willing to invest as much as they can in order to preserve their house. it has been built on top of the wall. their financial means are limited. access will be provided onto the roof of their house. The entire façade is to be plastered. the northern first-floor room would be provided with a bathroom. the oriel is to be removed to allow the two upper floors to cantilever. therefore providing more space. needing only repair work. especially the second-floor bathroom on top of the wall. one on the ground floor and two on each of the upper floors. adding more space to the second floor. to make up for lost space. This door.IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY Construction and materials Rehabilitation of building 419 requires the relocation of two of the three bathrooms. which is to be left exposed (it is currently plastered). The cantilever will continue from the first floor. provides ventilation for the bathrooms and. The existing bathroom will be removed in order to repair this section of the wall. The facing stone is in relatively good condition. will be replaced with windows in the lobby and in the two rooms that overlook the future al-Azhar Park. located towards the front of the building. an outlet for checking the plumbing system.

144 Th e Ay yu bid Wa ll .FLOOR PLANS AND AXONOMETRIC DRAWING ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Proposed interventions ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ll ll Wa Wa bid bid yu yu Ay Ay e e Th Th Ground floor First floor Second floor The Ayyubid wall The current condition and appearance of building 419. At fet Ho za ye n Axonometric drawing showing the building’s appearance after implementation of the recommended interventions.

its prominent location on Darb Shoughlan. REASONS FOR SELECTION This building is notable for its valuable architectural features. both the coffeeshop owner and the firstfloor residents have maintained their share of the 145 . Although the building is occupied by tenants. 91 DARB SHOUGHLAN Fact Sheets LOCATION This building is located midway along a block on Darb Shoughlan. Da rb Sh ou gh lan Exterior view of building 444. Unfortunately. and the fact that it houses one of the study area’s three coffeeshops.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S CASE STUDY: STRICT RECONSTRUCTION OF BUILDING 444. between Furn al-Sarrif and Zuqaq Aybak. Furthermore. Overall condition / State of Integrity Deteriorating / Reversibly altered building with an incompatible loss of a floor Ownership and tenure Private and tenant-occupied ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Ground floor plan with surrounding structures. with the coffeeshop in the foreground. the total demolition of the uppermost storey and the partial demolition of the second storey has meant that the building has been reversibly altered and has lost some of its historic integrity. the extensive remodelling of the lower portion of the façade and the addition of two rooms on the ground floor have been at the expense of the building’s original ○ ○ architectural detailing. making it a neighbourhood meeting place.

In this case. As is typical of the area. which occupies the street-front portion of the ground floor. are financially unable to do so. West elevation facing Darb Shoughlan 146 . and who therefore have very little incentive to maintain them. but it is likely that they resembled those of other buildings in the neighbourhood. if possible. the entrance consists of an arched doorway flanked by pilasters. which has been applied indiscriminately and blocks part of the main entrance. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ whose owner (a tenant) has already demonstrated a willingness to invest in the remodelling of the property. the residents on the ground floor. A wooden canopy has been added above the coffeeshop. although this must first be studied on structural grounds. Unfortunately. the existence of the coffeeshop. perhaps allows for the potential of rehabilitating the building with his assistance. this would provide an incentive for the building owner to invest in the property. the building provides the opportunity to examine the feasibility of intervening in buildings that are valuable but not occupied by the owners. however. As such. EXTERIOR APPEARANCE The ground-floor walls are of a rubble core covered by a layer of finished stone. a large portion of the Darb Shoughlan façade has recently been covered with an inappropriate stone facing. Both the door and the transom are missing.Fact sheet: Building 444. 91 Darb Shoughlan property. An important possibility to examine is the reconstruction of the uppermost floors. hence a startling discrepancy exists between the condition of the residential areas on the upper and lower storeys.

are still intact. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Original bearing wall behind the venneer Recent decorative stone veneer Brick structure support wall for the veneer extends into the residential entrance The owner of the coffeeshop has remodelled his business by adding a decorative stone veneer over the original masonry. This can be seen by the plasterwork. which is divided into registers by means of stucco pilasters. and the space under the staircase has been converted into a sleeping area for one of the tenants. and the vestibule leads to a small courtyard by means of an archway containing a stained glass transom in a radial design. framed by plaster mouldings flanked by small pilasters. A transom partially hidden by an added storage room. is quite fine. These include classical floral capitals that support projecting lintels. Overall. The windows are of the traditional vertical type. the building reflects a greater level of architectural detail and expense than most of the surrounding residences. the two uppermost storeys were demolished after the 1992 earthquake. an additional room has been constructed in the courtyard. typical of other coffeeshops located nearby. however. with a cornice separating the floors. though simple. INTERIOR APPEARANCE The main entrance leads to a vestibule that is partially blocked by a small storage space serving the coffeeshop. which. The lower portion of the second-storey walls. two large rooms are placed at the front of the building. A large lightwell provides light and ventilation. and the remaining plaster details indicate that the ornamentation was simpler here than that of the first floor. A small bathroom and kitchenette are to the right of the staircase. The windows themselves are divided into a trifold configuration of folding frames: one section collapses singularly while the other side folds back as two sections upon themselves. The ground floor consists of two large rooms and a bathroom. while two smaller rooms are located towards the rear.Fact sheet: Building 444. On the first floor. Although it was originally four storeys high. A strong neo-classical influence is found on the façade. 147 . 91 Darb Shoughlan The building’s upper storeys are built of brick with a plaster finish.

while the second. serving as a storage area for the coffeeshop. especially the bathroom and the area around it. has been built in the courtyard. the two uppermost storeys had to be demolished after the earthquake in order to prevent the entire structure from collapsing. a brick room. Two rooms have been added on the ground floor: one. with leaking pipes from the upper floor causing water to trickle through the ceiling. the stone treaders are considerably worn. the water leakage mentioned previously indicates that the building has infrastructure problems. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ EXISTING FLOOR PLANS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Ground Floor Plan Ground floor First Floor Plan First floor Roof Plan Second floor 148 . Although it was initially a four-storey building. The staircase itself is dilapidated and. blocking part of the entranceway.Fact sheet: Building 444. 91 Darb Shoughlan CURRENT CONDITION The building has suffered damage from the 1992 earthquake and from contemporary alterations that have compromised its overall appearance. Except for the coffeeshop. has been built in the vestibule. The upper floor is much better maintained: most of the rooms have recently been painted and the tilework in the utility areas is in relatively good condition. like other examples in the area. the condition of the entire ground floor is poor. The room beside the staircase is in especially poor condition. However.

149 . The coffeeshop uses the space directly in front of its entrance for additional seating. An open courtyard beyond the entrance allows light and air into the interior commercial and residential units.Fact sheet: Building 444. 91 Darb Shoughlan EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ The original entrance features a decorative arched stone portal partially hidden by a later stone facing. The owner of the coffeeshop added the decorative stone veneer seen above in order to attract more business.

The classicaly-inspired pilasters divide the façade into a series of registers. the roof was removed and the walls truncated. 150 . As is typical of the area. the windows are large in size and placed at regular intervals along the façade.Fact sheet: Building 444. 91 Darb Shoughlan EXTERIOR ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Given that the second floor was damaged during the 1992 earthquake and left unstable.

does not pay any rent. the father and the sixteen-year-old son on another. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ woman’s elderly mother. their four children (three boys and a baby girl). and the USE PATTERNS On the ground floor. so he stopped. The street front on the ground floor is rented out as a coffeeshop. By renting this space in her name. which would guarantee her staying despite her brother’s attempts to vacate her and her family. This latter room is located in the southeast corner of the building.E. a toilet. a courtyard. who does not leave the room very often. they slept under the staircase on a mattress on the floor. The remaining ground floor consists of three rooms. they have to inform the ground-floor residents to allow them to remove their television from its threatened spot. He has also annexed part of the building entrance hallway and uses it for storage. The woman claims that water dripping from the ceiling cost her a refrigerator once before. and the two younger boys sleep under the beds. a large apartment consisting of four rooms. whose owner has spent a substantial amount of money on embellishing its appearance. Number of households: Number of residents: Ground floor First floor Non inhabited rooms: Commercial activity: 5 8 11 0 2 151 . 2. which takes place closer to the tap by the toilet. is inhabited by one extended family. 91 Darb Shoughlan OCCUPANCY This building is occupied solely by tenants. The portable eating table. the rent contract was in the woman’s father’s name. and their son of sixteen works in a carpentry workshop nearby. and it is occupied by an invalid with serious health problems. The three females sleep on one double bed. but there was no floor space in the room to spread the slippers out long enough to dry. and a small space under the staircase. Cooking takes place on a counter top close to the door. A young man inhabits the third room (he shared this room with his mother. the young man who lives alone in the central room does not work and. the woman could also have an electric metre in her name. as well as to store a bicycle and some other belongings. and the family eats sitting on the plastic mat covering the centre of the room. but when her father died. which explains the lack of maintenance in some of the residential quarters. The reason is two-fold: first. His wife is an employee in a medical centre downtown. and her brothers wanted a share after their father’s death. They also rent the small space under the staircase.E. A tailor rents the front room and uses it for his business. The father tried to contribute to the family income by working at home (by gluing soles onto slippers). and the staircase mortar crumbled too often. The second reason was for the privacy of the married couple. For years. they pay more (L. presumably.5 monthly rent for this room. 10 monthly rent) for a smaller space under the staircase. and beside that is a room inhabited by a family of seven: a couple. Both households share the use of the toilet. every time the upstairs neighbours wash their floor. The first floor. who recently passed away). except for washing their clothes. Since the ceiling has a bad leak. The other ground-floor residents—who live in the back room—perform all their activities inside that room.Fact sheet: Building 444. Although they pay only L. they moved back into the main room and used this space to protect their refrigerator.

The father works selling clothes in a nearby store.Fact sheet: Building 444. 91 Darb Shoughlan the “tableyya. while the fourth room is occupied by the rest of the children. Each of the newly formed households cook in their own room. He and his wife have four daughters and three sons. 152 . Another room is occupied by the parents. The first floor consists of one large apartment with four rooms. reflecting the separation in budgets. the courtyard lacks the privacy level necessary for it to be appropriated by the residents. There is absolutely no sign of territorial behavior. as is common in other shared courtyards.” is a feature in almost every house in the area. It also seems that the parents’ privacy is more important than a separation between the boys and the girls. two of the daughters have married but continue to live with them. rented three years ago to a family whose house collapsed not far from the study area. the unconventional arrangement of having the two unmarried girls and their three younger brothers all sleep in one room is a forced one. Because the newlyweds are entitled to a private space. Given the nature of both the tailor’s and coffeeshop’s businesses. with each couple occupying a single room.

it would be possible to demolish the existing storeroom that currently blocks the building entrance. and. Therefore. If this occurs. Thus. the primary aim is to provide the seven-member family with more space and higher standards of hygiene. where ventilation is better. In doing so. He says business is not doing so well. He currently pays L. Imbaba. allowing the coffeeshop clients to use the toilet regularly. a new bathroom would need to be constructed in the courtyard. 153 . which would provide the handicapped father some space to work at home. 91 DARB SHOUGHLAN USERS’ NEEDS Although they are also concerned about the safety of the structure. For example. but insists on keeping his work in the area despite the fact that he and his immediate family moved out twelve years ago to another neighbourhood. as a result. since it is one of the larger ones in the area. access to the courtyard is not controlled. the residents’ main complaint is lack of privacy. then the rest of the family would have a comfortable apartment. also serving the upper storey. The makeshift room currently occupying part of the courtyard would be demolished and replaced with a small storage area for the coffeeshop. Although the residents on the ground floor have lower economic means than the family upstairs. would be created in the present entrance of the main bedroom. The two newly-wed couples on the first floor are interested in finding affordable housing in the area.E.TAR G ETE D I NTE RVE NTI O N S INTERVENTION STRATEGY FOR BUILDING 444. in the proposed scheme. 30 monthly rent to have a private toilet and live in two rooms instead of one. RECOMMENDED INTERVENTIONS On the ground floor. this would slightly reduce the size of the current lightwell.E. 15 monthly rent and would consider paying more for a room in the area with a better location. and the existing bathroom would be converted into a new entrance. which is located far from the area. The coffeeshop owner complains that business is slack. the building owner sold the front door to the building. the tailor’s workshop would have to be converted into a second residential space. they are willing to pay up to L. instead of their current arrangements of living with their parents. despite the fact that his coffeeshop remains a community meeting place. A small lightwell. sewing clothes and receiving his clients there. The tailor who rents the room facing the entrance uses it as a workshop.

then the owner could use the downpayment for the apartment to help finance the rebuilding as well as the maintenance of the lower portion of the building. the stone cladding on the coffeeshop. the newly created lightwell would provide ventilation for the bathroom. If the reconstruction of at least one storey is structurally feasible. most of the required maintenance is on the ground floor. he redecorated the exterior of the coffeeshop in an attempt to attract more customers. Not only would this be more aesthetically pleasing. For this alternative. this may be unfeasible on structural grounds. which presently obstructs a portion of the main entrance. since his business is not doing very well. the alternative with just one upper storey is provided as the safest and least expensive option. despite having spent a considerable sum on the décor of the coffeeshop. As tenants with a short-term lease. unless at least one of the building’s upper storeys can be rebuilt. the ground-floor residents are too poor to be able to invest in the rehabilitation of the property. In addition. the addition of a second storey is dependent on structural and financial constraints. Even in this case. The wooden canopy would also be removed and replaced with a canvas awning. would be constructed over the new ground-floor bathroom. is unlikely to be willing to invest more. there is little incentive for him to invest in the property. would be removed from the Darb Shoughlan façade and the original cut stone facing would be reinstated. the first-floor residents are unlikely to make substantial investments into the property.On the upper floor. The uppermost floors would be plastered. The coffeeshop owner. the first-floor apartment is in reasonably good condition. In fact. thus providing the residents with an open roof. However. and it is therefore likely that the funding for the rehabilitation of this building may have to come from external sources. the roof would be cleared of the existing second-floor walls. Financing options Although the building owner is wealthy. Unfortunately. However. removed from its current location. The kitchen. 154 . A second alternative would be to construct an additional floor following the same arrangement as that of the first floor. where ventilation would be adequate. it is unlikely that the money from prospective tenants would be sufficient. Therefore. but it would also provide the owners with more room. As it is.

since the building is occupied solely by tenants who are unlikely to invest in the rehabilitation of the property. Alternative 2 is preferable. 155 . although it is dependent on structural and financial constraints.SCHEME ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Proposed interventions for Case Study 444 ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Ground Floor Plan Ground floor Typical Floor Plan Typical floor Alternative 1 is the most feasible option.

60 per metre for cement block walls.I M P L E M E N T A T I O N S T R A T E G I E S BUILDING COSTS AND FINANCIAL MECHANISMS MARKET FOR NEW HOUSING UNITS The study area currently includes twenty vacant plots that can be redeveloped to provide additional housing in the area. local contractors such as this one tend to cut corners in order to maximise their profit. but feel cut off in the new housing developments where they have had moved to. the labour needed for this type of construction is no longer readily available and often not of good quality. A more reliably constructed building. BUILDING COSTS A local contractor cites L. bearing walls suffer more seriously from accidental water leakage that can pose a structural threat to the building. however. is no longer popular. thereby trying to minimise the reliance on external sources of funding. which residents often make to suit their changing requirements. Landowners’ Union One procedure used to finance building projects in other areas of Cairo is that a group of individuals purchase a plot of land and then each contribute to 156 . Another group that housing schemes would provide for are those who have had to move out of the area after the 1992 earthquake. built without local contractors of this type and reviewed by a structural engineer and therefore guaranteed to be sound. 300 as being the price per metre of a semi-finished building.E. The traditional method of building using bearing walls. which may save up to 20% of the cost of a reinforced concrete structure.E. at times at the expense of the structural soundness of the building. thereby creating housing for approximately 500 individuals. It is very likely that some of the new apartments will be occupied by people currently residing in the area. Almost every family currently living in the study area has kinfolk who have been transferred to government-built developments outside Cairo. Furthermore. each of which should be able to accommodate five individuals (the average household size in the study area). This is because the thick walls take up valuable space and the bearing walls system is not conducive to changes in layout. which are generally readily available in the area and therefore reasonably priced.E. each plot of land can provide at least four residential units. Many such residents prefer to live in informal settlements (shanty towns) that are closer to al-Darb al-Ahmar in order to be closer to their work and to the members of their families who still live in the area. POSSIBLE FINANCIAL MECHANISMS The mechanisms outlined here attempt to propose means to finance building projects as well as to rehabilitate existing structures. or couples who are engaged and at present cannot find a vacant apartment in order to get married. either those who live in smaller apartments and can afford more space. would cost L. undertake construction. and an additional L. The range of alternatives varies from schemes that minimise external intervention to those that are dependent on the establishment of a project agency to administer and. However. all options have been proposed bearing in mind the social and financial mechanisms that currently exist in areas such as al-Darb al-Ahmar. and each of them attempts to make use of community resources intensively. in some cases. On average. 100 per square metre of reinforced concrete (including its share in foundations). Also. This price does not include finishing materials.

and not sold off to private individuals. which is at least L.the construction costs of the building. this arrangement gives people the opportunity to obtain large sums of money that would be otherwise unavailable to them. 150 a month for a large workshop located on the ground floor on Darb Shoughlan. “Gama’eyya” or “pooled savings” The gama’eyya is a form of privately initiated means of obtaining capital in which a group of individuals agree to each contribute a fixed sum of money every month for as many months as there are individuals participating. although three storeys would be preferable. Although the capital remains fixed and contributors receive as much money as they have put in to the cooperative. such an arrangement works best when the number of apartments to be constructed is maximised in order to provide the investor with a sufficient sum to balance construction costs. To the investor. however. most individuals would be willing to pay a down payment of LE. This arrangement would also benefit individuals wishing to reside in the area and who are financially able to pay L. 157 . For this reason.000 to 6.000 for a fiftysquare-metre apartment. This greatly limits the profitability of forming a landowners’ union. it is important for new constructions to be a maximum of four storeys high. most of the demand is by people who have limited economic resources and would not be able to afford apartments for more than L.E. One limiting factor in such an arrangement is the height of the buildings.000. The disadvantages of this arrangement is that it is only available to those who have enough cash to pay the down payment. 15. Perhaps the idea of using shop revenues to maintain the building and pay for utilities would be useful. Although there is a demand for housing units in the area. 5. However. this system provides him with sufficient capital to undertake the project. extra residential units are constructed to be sold off and the profit is distributed amongst the land owners to help recoup part of the costs. such apartments would be out of reach of individuals who have limited economic resources and can only afford to pay rent. Such an arrangement is already very common in the area and other popular districts. 5. except what is available in neighbouring areas is usually larger and therefore more expensive. 10. Fifty pounds a month (before the incremental deduction of the down payment) for a three-room apartment of that size is considered reasonable at today’s prices. At present. either by constructing apartments for themselves or by building apartments to be sold off.E. Generally. Advance payment on rented apartments A similar arrangement as the former is for a single owner wishing to construct property as an investment to allow tenants to reserve apartments in lieu of a down payment that is later deducted from the apartment’s rent over a long period of time. building costs would have to be minimised to ensure that such a project would work. especially on important thoroughfares such as Darb Shoughlan. Each month. Such an arrangement would work for individuals wishing to invest in the area. Once again. shops are rented out and the income is used for maintaining the building. The idea of having shops on the ground floor is of particular relevance to the area. but this would only work if the shops were owned by the building owners as a group. Also. Some workshop owners claim to be willing to pay as much as L. it would only be economically feasible where plot size is relatively large and where the number of residential units is maximised. The cycle is completed when each participant has received the whole sum of money once. the ground floor is reserved for commercial purposes. which is to be deducted from the monthly rent. and it provides prospective tenants with guaranteed accommodation.000. in order for the historic character of the neighbourhood to be preserved.000 for a small apartment (fifty square metres). since it limits the number of apartments that can be constructed. Such an arrangement could be adapted to suit al-Darb alAhmar.000 or 15. one of the individuals takes the whole sum of money collected from the participants. these unions are likely to be more successful if the number of partners is limited and if the plots of land are large.E. In many cases.E.

there is no existing system of loans by which individuals can take out a building loan without sufficient collateral. 158 . Given that most al-Darb al-Ahmar residents work either privately or as employees in small neighbourhood workshops. however. and it is therefore difficult for them to provide the necessary guarantees to housing banks. and usually it is agreed beforehand as to who will take the money each month. Loans At present. Project agency as project administrator Community members have put forth the suggestion that the project agency act as a mediator between the tenants and the landowner and be fully responsible for the construction of new development. an agreement would be reached with the landowner as to the number of units to be constructed. makes an agreement with the borrower’s employer to ensure that loan installments are transferred directly from the employer to the bank. the project agency would be able to build at competitive prices. and can therefore be used in conjunction with some of the other mechanisms suggested here. thereby making the project more affordable and therefore more feasible. the provision of funds from the project agency must be contingent on the residents abiding by the building guidelines specified for the area. housing banks require borrowers to pay back loans in monthly installments deducted from their salary. thus ensuring compliance with the required building specifications and minimizing the risk of their violation. HOUSING FINANCE POLICIES Although housing banks exist in Egypt.The gama’eyya works best when the participants need the lump sum at different times during the year. Typically. although it needs to be kept in mind that the restriction in building heights—a necessary component of maintaining the architectural character of the area—will make the construction industry less lucrative. the initial down payment. so as not to create animosity between them. The benefits of such a mechanism are that the project agency would have better control over the construction process. The Bank of Housing and Development. which puts residents of traditional neighbourhoods such as al-Darb al-Ahmar at a disadvantage. whereby the project agency agrees to put up an amount of money equal to that which local residents are willing to invest in the upkeep of their property. It has the potential of being used by people who cannot otherwise afford a down payment on an apartment. it is also important to provide financial alternatives to those who are already living in houses in the area and need a means of maintaining or repairing their homes. obviously of greater benefit to those who receive the money at the beginning of the cycle. This option must be made available to all local residents. Also. Such an arrangement can be considered as a loan with no interest. Perhaps a realistic method of providing financial assistance is to set up a system of matching grants or low-interest loans. and the rent. since their financial credibility is difficult to guarantee from a banking perspective. Similarly. for example. The project agency would be responsible for the building construction. A system by which landowners could mortgage their land and take out a low-interest loan to carry out its construction could be a viable possibility. their monthly revenue fluctuates. however. using the funds obtained from the prospective tenants as well as from the landowner. though at present it functions as a strictly informal agreement between individuals with common interests. Matching grants or loans Most of the options discussed previously have targeted the construction of new housing units. the fact that most local businesses operate on a very small scale and are informally organised makes it impossible for them to make financial arrangements with housing banks vis-avis housing loans for employees. In this case. assuming that the redevelopment of several empty plots would take place simultaneously. This type of cooperative can be used to obtain money for building. their policies are designed to ensure that borrowers can guarantee to pay loans back.

5% per annum. Eligibility: Individuals who are employed in a private or public sector company that is willing to guarantee that the borrower is able to pay back the loan. with an upper limit of L. This outlines the fact that the problem with current housing finance policies is not the financial terms they offer. Also.Apart from the guarantees required from housing banks. the current financial policies regarding housing loans. to be paid in monthly installments. their financial policies are otherwise reasonable: loans cover as much as 50% of the market value of the housing unit—the rest must be acquired by other means. 50. especially those who are self-employed. Payback Period: Nine years. apply mainly to individuals employed in large.15. they cannot fulfill the requirements necessary to take out these loans. And even though the average monthly income of local carpenters. Eligibility: Individuals who are employed in a private or public sector company that is willing to guarantee that the borrower is able to pay back the loan. 159 . the payback period ranges from four to nine years. EGYPTIAN PROPERTY BANK Loan Type: For financing the purchase of residential units with a market value of not more than L. Therefore. The borrower’s employer deducts the monthly payment from the employee’s salary and transfers it directly to the housing bank. 100. Payback Period: A maximum of four years. BANK OF HOUSING AND DEVELOPMENT Loan Type: For the purchase of residential units with no limitations with respect to their size. with payments to be made on a monthly basis. Interest Rate: 14.000. with an interest rate ranging between 14 .5-15.5% per annum. Restrictions: Value of the loan not to exceed 50% of the market value of the residential unit. but the fact that they exclude some of the people who need loans the most. Interest Rate: 14% per annum. Monthly increments not to exceed 50% of the borrower’s salary. The borrower’s employer deducts the monthly payment from the employee’s salary and transfers it directly to the housing bank. well-established public or private sector enterprises.000. there is little provision for individuals who already own buildings and need to take out loans to repair or maintain them.E. Restrictions: Loan not to exceed 50% of the market value of the residential unit.E. Further. is comparable or higher than that of such employees. although not meant to be prohibitive.

the relevant authority (usually the governorate) can issue building licenses in the areas surrounding monuments or archaeological sites. which poses a problem for new constructions designed to fit in with the existing fabric. the minimum requirements for the size of lightwells is very large with respect to the average plot size in al-Darb al-Ahmar. but this would need careful planning on a neighbourhood level. Islamic Cairo is subject to additional building guidelines. but only two storeys excluding the ground floor in alleyways and cul-de-sacs. The SCA retains the right to approve or reject building requests. where streets are often less than six metres wide and where new buildings would have to be set back. Buildings built adjacent to monuments are not to exceed the height of the monument. this can be used to implement a set of building regulations for the area. the requirement that commercial facilities are to have at least one toilet for men and another for women are redundant in al-Darb al-Ahmar. where almost all workshop employees are men. thereby reducing plot size. 106/1976 organising building works. and Decree No. namely that buildings are not to exceed three storeys excluding the ground floor.5 and thirty metres (large monuments are generally given bigger precincts). prohibiting building heights to exceed one and a half times the width of the street. However. this problem can be solved through another provision in the law. With regards to commercial activities. The law on building works sets several restrictions upon future building prospects in the area. archaeological sites. The precinct for each monument is to be specified by a special antiquities committee. then the building must be set back at a distance of half the difference between the street width and the six-metre requirement. In cases where there is a discrepancy between the maximum height stipulated in the building law and these guidelines. allowing adjacent properties to share courtyards and lightwells.” which in practice means including arches. the law is geared towards large-scale enterprises in newer parts of the city. which places very severe restrictions on areas surrounding monuments and archaeological sites. the lower of the two height allowances is to be followed. taking its urban condition into consideration. In some cases. Another stipulation in the law that is of some concern is an article stating that if a building is to be constructed on a street less than six metres wide. This is in parallel with a second article of the law. One stipulation of relevance is that the governor can approve proposals to designate an area as being subject to specific building regulations. taking its historic context into consideration and ensuring that it is not harmed. for example. cannot do so without the written approval of the SCA. 117 of 1983 on the preservation of antiquities. Both these articles pose restrictions on the study area. The second law of importance to the area is that regulating the preservation and protection of antiquities.I M P L E M E N T A T I O N S T R A T E G I E S L EGAL C ONSIDERATIONS T wo laws are especially relevant to the urban development of the study area: Law No. They must also guarantee a suitable precinct around the monument. and all buildings are required to have façades in the “Arab/Islamic style. which usually stipulates a zone ranging between 2. 180/1998 and Law No. This authority must set building codes that are suitable and do not distort the image of a monument. and would only be successful in cases were several adjacent properties were being remodelled or redeveloped simultaneously. Hence some stipulations. Firstly. 160 . or historically important buildings exist. The antiquities law has prevented building in most of the study area because it is adjacent to the Ayyubid wall and therefore falls within the precinct designated by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). which is already small. The antiquities law states that any schemes to redesign or redevelop areas in which monuments.

would make a noticeable difference to the area. it is essential for the improvement of the area. Basic public amenities are either lacking or in poor condition. With this in mind. with the former Darb Shoughlan School noticeable midway along the Ayyubid city wall. which often accumulate in or around vacant plots. This means that non-governmental rubbish collectors have little interest in the area and usually avoid it.CONCLUSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTIONS T he results of the five case studies indicate that any future action in the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood should both improve the existing housing stock through preservation-based rehabilitation and re-establish residential use in abandoned houses and vacant land. BASIC PHYSICAL UPGRADING This type of upgrading requires minimal intervention. In order for these—or for any—intervention actions to work. Residents simply pile their rubbish in the street. View from the Darassa Hills of the Aslam Mosque neighbourhood. a reliable system of collection must be planned and implemented. residents living in close proximity to the Ayyubid city wall simply dump their rubbish over or around the wall. Although a governmental rubbish system exists. With the imminent completion of al-Azhar Park. who themselves rely on recycling. Adequate housing and a secure tenure are the two essential preconditions for maintaining a stable population and ensuring the neighbourhood’s economic sustainability. The removal of rubbish and rubble. Essentially. nevertheless. it is irregular and therefore unreliable. 161 . At present. rubbish collection is a problem that needs a well-structured management scheme to ensure that it functions on a long-term basis. the following set of general recommendations are presented as the most promising lines of action for the overall improvement of the neighbourhood and the quality of life of its residents. the community needs to be a more active component of the decision-making process. for proposals are often put forth without taking into account the needs of the residents. where it accumulates until it is removed by the General Authority for the Beautification and Cleanliness of Cairo. however. One of the main problems facing this area is that used materials are so efficiently recycled that what is actually thrown away is of little interest to rubbish collectors.

The idea of clearing all buildings along the wall. secondly. to provide a suitable building code for any new construction in the vicinity of the wall. In cases where structural damage has already occurred. The present freeze on construction in the vicinity of the wall and the restriction of repairing the existing neighbouring houses has caused more harm than good: while aiming to force people away from the area. but it would also be disruptive of the socio-economic activities in the area. the study area is extremely dark after sunset. several of these buildings suffer from poor plumbing systems. and. Furthermore. the threat of relocation has made many local residents cautious about investing money in the upkeep of their houses—many are willing to repair at their own expense. it may be necessary to have these removed. Generally. allowing large puddles to form whenever the street is sprayed with water. 162 . it is also necessary to introduce or amend polices related to the area. These are important in their own right and in some cases have become part of the wall itself. At present. However. buildings have been destroyed or have deteriorated to the point where they are partial or even total ruins. then they should be maintained. they are poorly finished. as a result. It is therefore essential to develop a policy that is more feasible. all that is required is basic maintenance and repair of elements to ensure that they not be allowed to deteriorate further. with poorly maintained drainage facilities that have caused great damage to the wall’s masonry. Although public street lamps do exist in several areas. Furthermore. stabilisation is required to prevent buildings from collapse or from any further deterioration. Where buildings are relatively well preserved. one must question what the preservation objectives for the city are: Is it realistic and appropriate to attempt to restore the wall as it would have looked 700 years ago. and on the knowledge that the wall. is meaningless if alienated from the historic urban context in which it exists.The absence of functioning street lighting is another aspect that requires attention. Among the most important issues is the question of building in close proximity to the Ayyubid city wall. though architecturally important. perhaps with some alterations to ensure that their drainage system is placed as far from the wall as possible. ignoring the physical evolution of the wall and its adjoining civic fabric over time? URBAN REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT This includes a wide range of interventions from basic preservation techniques to full-scale reconstruction of ruined structures. almost all of them no longer function. Furthermore. In some instances. To maintain the existing street lamps and add others where necessary would be a relatively simple task—one that would considerably improve the area. so long as inhabited buildings are in relatively good condition and do not encroach upon the wall. A more sensitive issue is the case of architecturally valuable buildings constructed into or onto the wall. It is necessary to address this problem in two ways: firstly. It is therefore necessary to upgrade the drainage systems of many of the houses in the area to ensure that the structural elements of the buildings remain sound. but only if reassured that their homes will not be demolished. Several partial ruins still retain valuable architectural elements. In cases where buildings have extensions upon or into the wall. which can cause severe structural damage if left unchecked. to examine existing structures on a case by case basis and decide how best to intervene visa-vis the wall. it has simply resulted in local residents remaining in substandard conditions. especially in the smaller streets and alleyways. POLICY INTERVENTIONS FOR STRUCTURES IN THE VICINITY OF THE AYYUBID CITY WALL In addition to small-scale interventions that can be carried out to improve public facilities. The policy’s success relies on its ability to preserve the Ayyubid city wall with minimal disruption of residents’ lives. favoured by the Supreme Council of Antiquities. many of the roads need to be resurfaced and graded. especially if they are poorly built and unsightly. is unrealistic from a practical and economic point of view: not only would it be too costly to relocate the families located by the wall.

A partial view of the Aslam Mosque taken from Darb Shoughlan.


which can be salvaged and re-used if the building is to be reconstructed. Where there is no remaining fabric worth recycling, especially in the cases of total ruins, greater architectural freedom can be observed and new construction can occur, respecting traditional conventions of plan, volume, and proportion. Some buildings, although not listed monuments, have high architectural or historic value. In such cases, intervention should be limited to restoration and repair, avoiding radical changes that could alter a building irreversibly. Although the general aim is to preserve as much of the existing and traditional historic fabric as possible, there are certain instances where demolition is the most practical option; as is often the case, buildings that are in very poor structural condition already have demolition orders. Given that some of these structures do not provide sufficient space for their inhabitants, it is not unreasonable to propose total replacement, redesigning the interior spaces and retaining valuable architectural features, if any. On an urban level, the reorganisation of important public spaces is often required to provide a more efficient use of space and to improve the quality of the built environment. Noteworthy open spaces within the study area include Aslam Square, which is a nucleus for commercial and social activity, but is obstructed by parked vehicles at most times of the day. To redesign the space—attempting to link it with al-Azhar Park by opening Bab al-Mahruq while at the same time maintaining its social importance—would greatly enhance the neighbourhood by providing a place better suited for social and economic interaction between local inhabitants and outside visitors. Currently, most of the buildings surrounding the square are of low architectural value, largely due to indiscriminate alterations to these nineteenth- and eighteenth-century buildings. A recently constructed commercial structure opposite the mosque is poorly built but commercially important to the square; therefore, although demolition has been recommended for this structure, it is essential that the replacement structure maintain commercial activity.

RESTORATION OF HISTORIC MONUMENTS Restoration is recommended for monuments that are in deteriorating to poor condition. The Aslam Mosque has deteriorated structurally, and a small Ottoman shrine in the southern section of the study area is in need of intervention to support its roof. Both require a high level of technical skill to preserve the art and craft of these buildings. As regards the former, it is important that restoration does not result in the closure of the mosque after the completion of work, as is so often the case with restored buildings in Cairo. At present, the mosque is a vital component of the neighbourhood; it is essential that it continue to be accessible to the community in the future. PROVISION OF ADDITIONAL HOUSING THROUGH NEW DEVELOPMENT, RECONSTRUCTION, AND REHABILITATION In order for this neighbourhood intervention scheme to be effective, solutions must be developed that provide housing and commercial spaces for local residents, especially in cases where the relocation of inhabitants from their current homes is required—for example, for those who live on plots designated for redevelopment. The social structure and economic means of the residents must be taken into consideration; it is apparent that the concept of extended families living in close proximity is not rare in al-Darb al-Ahmar. Therefore, new development schemes should be approached in a way that does not disrupt community relations and family ties. Many local residents have lived in the neighbourhood for several generations, and despite the fact that their living conditions are poor, their livelihood and social ties are closely linked to the area; they prefer to remain instead of moving elsewhere. The provision of new housing with basic amenities would encourage the younger generation as well as the more affluent individuals to stay in the area rather than seek alternate housing elsewhere. Also important is the nature of the commercial activities taking place in the area. Since a large percentage of the inhabitants are involved in carpentry,


proposed building schemes must provide ample space for workshops on the ground floor, especially in buildings located on major streets. In planning future housing schemes, the traditional mixed-use combination—commercial activities on the ground floor with housing above—should be maintained. LINKS TO THE AL-AZHAR PARK Given the importance of al-Azhar Park for the Darb alAhmar community, adequate connections to and from the park are essential so as not to isolate the park from the urban area immediately to its west. The Bab alMahruq Gate seems a logical connection, for it leads directly to Aslam Square, a major centre of social and commercial activity in the area. At present, a muchaltered eighteenth-century building (now a dye-house) and a neighbouring ruined structure can be found adjacent to the former gate. It would be opportune to take advantage of the condition of the latter building and create a connection, either through the dye-house or through a narrow passage that currently exists slightly to the north of the square. This would allow an opportunity to recall the historical and physical connection between the former gate, the Aslam Mosque, Haret Sa’ad Allah, and the neighbourhood. The creation of the new park presents the possibility of using the historical connection to

create a contact node for park visitors into the Darb al-Ahmar community, and allow and control interaction through retail commercial activity developed on or near the square. In this way, local craftsmen could have a direct outlet for sales of traditional goods, which would reinforce the viability of popular traditional craft for which the neighbourhood is known. The square could also serve visitors by better orienting them to the current sites of visitation, including the Aslam and Blue mosques. CONCLUSION The work carried out for this pilot project indicates that the components needed for action do exist in the area. But in order to realise this potential, there must be strong support in the form of institutional policies and active management of the residents’ capacity for direct intervention. In the long-term, gradual and deliberate improvement of the existing housing represents a more realistic course of action than a policy of hasty and indiscriminate change, which is neither socially nor economically justified in an area that still preserves a viable physical fabric and active social context. The preliminary work and targeted proposals put forth in this plan—if pursued on a wider scale— can create new opportunities and prospects in the effort to revitalise historic Cairo.


157 al-Azhar Park. 28. 55 Sewage. 80 Preventive maintenance. 92. 16. 14 Citadel. 18. 14. 156 Restoration. 23. 35. 11. 9. 64. 13. 31 Redevelopment. 11. 18. 81. 67 Baha al-Din Aslam. 97. 13. 99. 156. 27. 34. 159. 45. 44 Mausoleum of Princess Tughay. 81. 45. 67 Marble. 99. 30. 15. 33. 6 R Rab’. 33. 21 C Cairo Planning Commission. 88. 28. 15 Parking. 15. 64 Population. 113. 36. 67 166 . 64. 45. 8. 159 Oriel. 13. 70 Port Said. 21. 95 Aga Khan Trust for Culture. 54 reversibly altered. 96. 36. 11. 50. 26. 34. 73 Electricity. 28. 41 Sabil-Kuttab. 35. 55 Bus service. 23. 45. 54 irreversibly altered. 35 Aslam Square. 63. 159 Regional Cairo Sewage Network. 14 Semi-permanent structures. 64 Infrastructure. 18. 81 Corbel. 18. 74. 150 Gunite Cement. 28. 6. 91. 45 Cul-de-sac. 6. 4 Green space. 44. 157 Ruin. 88. 159 Roads. 22. 41 Plaster. 160 Ayyubid city wall. 74 Occupancy rates. 23. 46 Ownership. 4. 11. 18. 87. 44. 11. 97. 41 Khayrbek. 42. 42. 9. 15 Blue. 160 B Bab al-Mahruq. 129 Doors. 123. 28. 21. 18. 27. 16. 4. 97. 78 Open space. 92. 32. 28. 4. 4. 41. 157 S Sabil of al-Nasir Muhammad. 6. 16. 77 Employment. 99. 32 Aslam Mosque (see Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar) Aslam al-Silahdar. 94. 34. 41 Balconies. 156. 22. 91. 16 Mosque of Aslam al-Silahdar. 41 Salah al-Din. 88 Courtyard. 96. 64. 36. 4. 35. 24. 6. 67. 91. 33. 64. 34 Mashrabeyya. 34 Stone. 157 Lightwell. 91. 64 Grillework. 34. 22. 45 N New construction. 6. 14 Darb Shoughlan School. 11 G Gama’eyya. 6. 68. 58. 93. 32. 41. 94. 23. 6. 21. 45 E Earthquake. 27 M Materials Brick. 80 Zuwayla. 159 Rehabilitation. 22 Reconstruction. 73 Income. 36. 14. 13. 15. 4. 13. 41. 92. 139. 35. 32 K Khayameya. 88. 9. 9. 67. 82. 151 Garbage. 99. 38. 44. 96. 150 Education. 74 I Illiteracy. 74 Informal housing. 77 Shrine. 15. 46 H Heliopolis. 31. 156 Governorate of Cairo. 9. 160 Aytmish. 18. 15 L Land use. 159 O Obour City. 33 Lighting. 45 Collective housing (see Rab’) Coffeeshop. 6 Alleyway. 91. 87. 27. 58. 159. 67 Cornice. 60. 18 Lattice screen. 28. 32. 64. 28. 80 Helwan. 38. 96. 46 Building with full historic integrity. 4. 81 Small. 97 Caliph al-Hakim. 33. 48. 160 el-Khalk. 26. 15 Moulding.INDEX A Adaptive re-use. 36 Concrete. 67. 6. 80 Ministry of the Awqaf. 78 D Darassa Hills. 159. 93 Demolition. 36. 41 Megharbeleen. 60 Apartment Building Modern. 159. 24 P Palace of Alin Aq. 67 of Public Works. 156 collection. 18. 9. 157 Partial. 101. 33. 159 Partial. 14. 28. 33. 67. 96. 9. 55 New development. 156 General Authority for the Beautification and Cleanliness of Cairo. 28. 157 Q Qaytbay complex. 15.

68. 28. 77 Water Network Authority for Greater Cairo. 6. 9. 35. 27. 36. 28. 55 Tenure. 78. 9. 43. 80 Substandard housing. 160 Z Zier. 60. 64 167 . 21. 4. 50. 68 Haret Aslam. 155. 87 Fatma al-Nabaweya. 44 Traffic. 4. 42. 26. 67. 33. 77. 41 Shutters. 42 Street Abdallah al-Geuweiny. 84 Bab al-Wazir. 45 Typology. 63. 27. 21 Atfet Hozayen. 64 Traditional mansion. 63. 21. 160 Street vendor. 41 of Sidi al-Ansari. 28. 18. 6. 21. 41. 15. 29. 42 Transom. 14 Baybars I. 35. 38 Qalawun. 4. 26 U Unemployment V Vacant plots. 42. 21. 15 T Temporary structures. 67. 6. 36. 34 Traditional. 67 Ahmad Maher. 11. 11. 4. 157 Sultan Aybak.of Sidi Aly Gawish. 67. 43 Townhouse Modern. 26. 68 al-Azhar. 84 Darb al-Ahmar. 36. 44. 11. 33 Storage. 23. 24 Tilework. 34. 46 Workshop. 87. 156 Voussoir. 96 Supreme Council of Antiquities. 63. 36. 15 al-Nasir Muhammed. 35. 60. 18. 36. 63. 22 Windows. 4. 32. 15. 67 Harat Sa’ad Allah. 21 Water table. 44. 46 W Water. 21 Darb Shoughlan. 79 Tap.

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THE AGA KHAN TRUST FOR CULTURE 1-3 Avenue de la Paix. Switzerland . 1202 Geneva.

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