Egyptian Pavilion at Biennale



Our understanding of the biennale’s focus at the time is on how far architectural initiatives can influence civil society, and how the relationship between a clear demand on one side, and the ability to deliver that demand on the other, can influence individuals to exploit opportunities. Moreover that architecture, by creating private life, also creates public life, which provides an open invitation for every individual to exploit it. Within the scope of the aforementioned theme, we started exploring where individual initiatives have been able to play a role in the society by exploiting architectural elements provided by the growing world of urbanization rather than the general direction of architecture and urban planning proposals by professionals.
The process started by a breakdown of redundant elements existing in our everyday lives; entrances, structures, frameworks, walls, windows, roofs, etc.… and then comparing each with the variety of emerging exploitations giving an idea of the potentiality of the element. One of the elements that proved its versatility was the roof. Due to a rather exponential growth in population and urban development, roofs were seen in many cases as an escape from the density and clutter of life on the ground. Despite roofs being similar in characteristics and rather mundane, various rooftop activities managed to emerge each having it’s own individuality and responding to an individual need and expression. However when you look at them collectively, they appear to be a connected network of public lives elevated above the ground, a parallel public universe where people can share space and express themselves and explore the potentialities of having open, clear, sunny space.
The installation focuses on highlighting the individuals’ advancement in exploring and experimenting with roof’s potentials in Egypt and how they reused these potentials to escape the existing challenges, enlightening the visitor with the importance of this architectural element for further development in the urban and architectural world. The installation consists of two juxtaposed worlds, the experience of the problem and clear explanation of the solutions. This impression would be accentuated through the use of contrast in textures of materials, sound, light and density.
The visitor should start his experience by walking through the lower expanse of objects, experiencing the density and congestion, with an intensified experience created by the dimension of dimmed light and sounds of the cityscape. The visitor engulfed in the world of density would not have visual access to what happens on the other half of the exhibition. Midst an experience filled with curiosity, the visitor comes across objects that he can stand on, getting a glimpse of what happens on the rooftops. At a certain point, the visitor would have the chance to climb up to a level where he is able to experience a well lit, bright, free space with a clear illustration of the variety of activities that happen on rooftops. The whole experience should be one of
contrast, between density and openness, between dark and light, between below and above and between conceptual and informative.
The exhibition space is filled with closely placed objects, each object made of a rough yet flexible material on its lower part and on its upper part a simple model of one of the activities that occur on the rooftops. Collectively, the lower sections of the objects are of varying heights, rough and flexible. All the previously mentioned aspects together with the raw materials’ smell represent the density, informality and character of urbanity in Egypt. On the other hand, the upper parts are all on one level, creating a composition of activities on rooftops simply presented by the physical models and demonstrating equal opportunities of rooftops together with the visual and thematic connectivity that all them have.
 Documentation and breakdown of the activities that happen on rooftops, Exaggerating existing activities to provoke the visitor to think and imagine further potentials.
 Identifying the form and construction of the excessively repeated element used in the exhibition and identifying the number of different activities and objects displayed on top of them.
 Representation of the activities in the form of scenes visually portrayed by the use of physical models, with each scene focusing on an object found on rooftops of Egypt.
 Creating the composition by connecting and relating the scenes and objects together, allowing them to create the space in the exhibition.
 Identifying the different materials used to create a contrast between the upper and the lower part of the exhibition, with the lower part mainly made of raw materials, representing the roughness of urban life and surroundings, and smooth material for the upper counterpart that represent the simplified free feeling of being on a rooftop.
 Intensifying the impression of the installation through the use of sound and light. Spotlights are added to the roof of the pavilion to highlight the models on the upper zone of the installation and allow some light to penetrate to the lower zone, yet keeping the integrity of the contrast of the atmospheres. Sound outlets producing noises from the urban cityscape in Egypt will be added in the lower zone at specific areas with slightly intersecting radii to add to the intensity of the experience of density.

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