projective urban archaeology / cairo, egypt / harmony of ramses square competition
Method Design with Arup NY and CASE //
The Harmony of Ramses Square competition called to redesign the central square of Cairo where vehicular, bus and train infrastructure all converge to create an excessive amount of traffic. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the city constructed an elevated highway running through the center of the downtown, severing ancient fabrics while destroying the quality of the ground plane, a surface sacred to Cairenes.
To revive not only Ramses Square but Cairo itself, bus rapid transit networks are implemented throughout the city, effectively reducing the amount of vehicular traffic. This engenders the conceptual manifestation of projective urban archaeology by taking down the 6th of October fly-over bridge reclaiming the surface for new pedestrian space devoid of traffic; a commodity non-existent in Cairo. This process resulted in the specific design of five primary areas dedicated to public use: Ramses Station and square, a mile-long boulevard terminating in a park, a new subway station at Tahrir Square, and a boardwalk which reconnects the fabric to the river.
The central boulevard is dedicated to pedestrian use with main BRT lines running through facilitating this. A modular infrastructure is implemented to engender the traditional informal markets while enabling the vendors to have a range of scales and temporality of their commerce. The Active Phytoremediation Wall System (APWS) runs throughout to provide shade and promote outdoor inhabitation.
The intervention is not limited to the square itself but permeates throughout the entire city through the modification of infrastructural networks. In the national center of downtown Cairo, a new underground subway station is designed to act as a rail node. On the surface it reduces traffic and engenders pedestrian inhabitation of the surface, while underground it provides a shaded but daylit commercial center.
zone 2 plan
projective urban archaeology
zone 2 transportation networks
resultant urban heat island effect
typical zoning strategy
ramses square: rear
active phytoremediation wall system
corniche / riad / tahrir
tahrir subway station