Topics: Heritage definition, Recording, Documentation, Architectural documentation, Photographic documentation
Instructors: Tarek Waly, Shimaa Shaheen, Ehab Zaaqoq, Mona Mosa
Based on the Tarek Waly Center Architecture and Heritage's vision of professional and social responsibility, as well as our understanding of heritage development as a foundation for local community growth and cultural identity preservation, Protecting heritage by depending on the skills of individuals and communities, as well as encouraging positive community participation in the preservation of Egyptian heritage, is our approach to tackling the problem. The Lataif Al Qahira project, an open-source database for architecture and urban planning in Cairo, was launched by the center. The training program "European Architects in Cairo" is part of this project, and it aims to help architecture students improve their knowledge and technical abilities in the field of heritage conservation and documentation. European Architects in Cairo is an intense applied training program on architectural heritage documentation that covers the most important theoretical knowledge and skills for documentation. The program follows a methodology that supports the team's efforts and aims to enable trainees to effectively engage in learning about and introducing Egyptian culture. The program instructed six architecture students from various Egyptian universities over three weeks.
The goal of the program was for participants to interact with the subjects offered for discussion by forming workgroups and expressing their understanding of the subject. This was accomplished through a series of theoretical lectures that focused on the most essential concepts and terms associated with heritage in general and architectural heritage in particular. The aim is for participants to develop a critical perspective on the current heritage concept by looking at the issue from a wider perspective while still focusing on the specifics of our local and regional reality.
Participants were also trained how to document architectural heritage using an applied approach for comprehensive documentation of a number of European architects active in Cairo during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Three architects were chosen to represent the many approaches of the architectural trend in Cairo: French architect Ambroise Baudry, Austrian-Hungarian architect Edward Matasek, and Italian architect Domenico Limongli.
The first week of the program was devoted to the teams gathering basic information about each architect in order to create a thorough picture of his history and career, using a wide range of sources such as academic research, scientific papers, books, documents, maps, and the center's archive. The teams kept track of the buildings designed or co-designed by each architect in order to compile a comprehensive list of their architectural works, as well as a collection of available materials for each building, such as old and modern photographs and architectural drawings, if available, as well as the building's geographic location, in order to prepare for the next stage of documentation. The second week of the training program is dedicated to photographing existing buildings designed by architects and observing them thoroughly in their urban settings, as well as from the interior if possible. This level includes photographing and recording 36 architectural structures throughout Cairo. The program's final stage involves gathering all of the data and producing the program's final outputs, which includes designing documentation forms for each building that include complete information about the building and its history, including the year of construction, demolition (if demolished), ownership, preservation status, and architectural design.
Tarek Waly is an architect who started his professional career approximately 40 years ago. He founded the Tarek Waly Center Architecture and Heritage to create a platform in Egypt that can record his stance obtained from carrying out the profession theoretically and practically.
Shimaa Shaheen is an architect & researcher who believes in the role of the architect to create genuine cultural forms that connect authenticity & contemporaneity. She also believes in the necessity of practicing architecture through authentic cultural scopes that interact with society.
Ehab Zaaqoq is an architect concerned about the Egyptian architectural movement in the 20th century and the Egyptian pioneer architects. He is also interested in tracking the urban and social evolution of the Arabic cities through an integrated approach that is not limited to the urban measurements only.
Mona Mosa is an architect and researcher, interested in studying the history of Egyptian urbanism as an essential starting point in understanding the present and anticipating the future. Mona believes in the social responsibility of the architect and his role in confronting contemporary heritage & urban issues.