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Download High Resolution World City Maps for CAD

12:00 - 12 April, 2017

Mapacad is a website that offers downloads of .dwgs of dozens of cities. With 200 metropolises in their database, the founders have shared a set of their most-downloaded cities.  

The files contain closed polyline layers for buildings, streets, highways, city limits, and geographical data--all ready for use in CAD programs like Autocad, Rhino, BricsCad and SketchUp. 

Weston Williamson + Partners Win Competition to Design "Science City" in Egypt

14:15 - 6 September, 2016
Weston Williamson + Partners Win Competition to Design "Science City" in Egypt

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.

Exhibition: Radical Cairo at the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture

09:23 - 22 February, 2016
Exhibition: Radical Cairo at the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture

The 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism exhibits, makes, and discusses architecture that reflects the reuse and rethinking of existing buildings, the re-imagination of our cities, and the remaking of our daily lives by design. It is be a biennale of fragments, not abstract plans; of collage, not grids; of tactical urbanism, not top-down strategies. The ETH Zurich Master of Advanced Studies Program in Urban Design – chaired by Marc Angélil and directed by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes – has investigated informal settlements in Cairo, looking into designs for affordable housing units in the neighborhood of Ard-el-Liwa.

6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch

10:30 - 31 March, 2015
6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch, Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image © SOM
Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image © SOM

Threatening to end Cairo’s 1,046 year dominance as the country’s capital, earlier this month the government of Egypt announced their intentions to create a new, yet-to-be-named capital city just east of New Cairo. The promise of the more than 270 square mile ‘new New Cairo’ has attracted headlines from around the world with its sheer scale; a $45 billion development of housing, shopping and landmarks designed to attract tourism from day one, including a theme park larger than Disneyland. And of course, the plans include the promise of homes - for at least 5 million residents in fact, with the vast number of schools, hospitals and religious and community buildings that a modern city requires - making the new capital of Egypt the largest planned city in history.

The idea of building a new capital city has appealed to governments across history; a way to wipe the slate clean, stimulate the economy and lay out your vision of the world in stone, concrete and parkland. Even old Cairo was founded as a purpose built capital, although admittedly urban planning has changed a little since then. It continues to change today; see the full list of different ways to build a totally new city after the break.

Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image © SOM Train station. Image © SOM Government District. Image © SOM Concept of Cairo's replacement by Skidmore, Owings and Merril. Image © SOM + 44

Egypt Unveils Plans for "New Cairo"

12:00 - 15 March, 2015
Egypt Unveils Plans for "New Cairo", © Flickr CC User garyjd
© Flickr CC User garyjd

In an effort to combat the economic conditions that have plunged one-fourth of its population into poverty, Egypt's ambitious development plan for a massive new capital city is soon to be underway. Roughly the size of New Cairo, the privately-funded city hopes to become the new administrative center, as well as a bustling metropolis of shopping, housing, and tourist destinations to generate economic activity. Plans were solidified at a foreign investment conference where the official project details were unveiled on March 13 in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Read on after the break for more on the $45 billion plan.

Egypt Plans to Build a 200-Meter-Tall Pyramid Skyscraper

14:30 - 3 March, 2015
Egypt Plans to Build a 200-Meter-Tall Pyramid Skyscraper, Courtesy of Ministry of Housing
Courtesy of Ministry of Housing

Egypt’s Minister of Housing Moustafa Madbouly has revealed plans to build the nation’s tallest tower in Cairo. The pyramid-like Zayed Crystal Spark tower will top out at 200-meters (656-feet) and occupy a 798,000-square-meter parcel in the city’s Sheikh Zayed district - a short distance from the historic pyramids of Giza.

Learning from Cairo: What Informal Settlements Can (and Should) Teach Us

00:00 - 14 March, 2014
Learning from Cairo: What Informal Settlements Can (and Should) Teach Us, Courtesy of Learning from Cairo
Courtesy of Learning from Cairo

The following essay, written by Magda Mostafa, is an excerpt from the book "Learning from Cairo: Global Perspectives and Future Visions," a collection of reflections from a three-day symposium of the same name. Here, Mostafa focuses on the need to accept informal communities as a reality, not an exception, and argues that conventional architecture practice and education must begin equipping architects to "address the potentials and problems of such parallel modes of existence in our built environment."

It would be a disservice if the debate spurred at the "Learning from Cairo" symposium were to remain confined to the hypothetical. It is our responsibility to extend it to both the professional realm as well as the academic. The purpose of this discussion is just that.

How can architectural academia respond to this shifting climate? A climate where the majority of the built environment is conceived and implemented outside of the construct of conventional practice? Where the majority of the architectural product in our city exists without architects? How can we further propagate a singular top-down mode of practice in our teaching when it’s malfunctioning at best and corrupt or absent at its worst? When this conventional mode is only viable in neatly packaged projects with clear financing, educated clients and formal frameworks? How can we continue to teach our students, the architects of the future generation, to only be equipped to operate within a small portion of the built environment- ignoring the massive built environment and user groups often represented on maps as solid black “informal areas”. 

This phenomena can no longer be blacked-out, and it is time for academia to begin educating its architects-to-be at least to be minimally aware, if not proficiently trained, to address the potentials and problems of such parallel modes of existence in our built environment.

Ataba & Opera Squares Competition Proposal / ZELLNERPLUS, OLIN, PACER, MR+E, and Nelson Nygaard

12:00 - 4 June, 2011
southwest aerial view
southwest aerial view

Intended as a catalyst and model for the ongoing redevelopment of Cairo, Egypt, ZELLNERPLUS, OLIN, PACER, MR+E, and Nelson Nygaard proposed a scheme that seeks to bridge the gap between the medieval, or Islamic, and the axial, or European Cairene cities. They would do so through the evacuation of the competition zone of its current disconnected fabrics. In their place, they proposed a green urban archipelago made up of a new connective tissue that will weld together the competition site’s disparate functions, flows and neighboring fabrics. More images and architects’ description after the break.