Weston Williamson + Partners has won an international competition for a 125,000 square meter “Science City” along the western edge of Cairo, Egypt, beating out entries from Ngiom Partnership and Zaha Hadid Architects. The project will be built from the ground up in the desert surrounding the city, and will serve as a 21st century science museum and new national institute for scientific innovation. The competition called for an integrated master plan and conceptual design that express “a particular vision of the quest for knowledge and the pursuit of science.”
The jury selected the winning design for its overall comprehensiveness and identity, as well as its ability to be intelligently constructed in phases.
“This project was the one that best responded to the challenges of the brief. The design is subtle but rich. It involves various levels of planning,” said the jury in a statement. “It displays a blending of aspects of several of the “types” that were so visible: the circle, the striation, the berm (or dune), the legible apparatus of sustainable performance, the complex of courtyards, the oasis, etc. But the overall impact is one of a unified composition of great elegance and finesse.”
Continue reading for more on Weston Williamson’s design and to see images from all of the winning entries.
Winner: Weston Williamson + Partners
From the jury: The project feels very much of its place and has the potential to be quite beautiful and to produce a rich series of working, display, and learning environments. The basic scheme and concept of the architectural design (the parti) was impressive, the organization sound, the phasing logical, the environmental performance promising, and the image very strong but without needless grandiosity.
Though organized in a circular form, the project can be accomplished in three stages, with the staging starting from the central section and growing as wings. Thus it provides a design solution to the phasing problem which the jury considered a rational and workable idea.
The Project enjoys a multitude of umbrella-like circular canopies of various sizes, supported by single columns, providing a symbolic “column-scape” and an upper terrace elegantly shadowed by artificial clouds. They also provide opportunities for water harvesting and solar energy collection.
2nd Prize: Ngiom Partnership
3rd Prize: Zaha Hadid Architects
4th Prize: Gansam Architects
Honorable Mention: Tsampikos Petras & Georgios Chousos
Honorable Mention: Joaquim Caetano de Lima Filho, Daniel Henrique Ribeiro, Giliarde Silva, Guilherme Oliveira, Lucas Moretti & Raissa Shizue
Honorable Mention: Francisco Jorquera
Honorable Mention: Whitespace Architects
Judged by a panel of world-leading academics and science entrepreneurs, the open-call, one-stage competition was organized by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, who will now work with Weston Williamson + Partners to develop the details of the project and set a schedule for realization.