The Adaptive Reuse as a Sustainable Solution for Heritage Buildings in Historic Cairo | Egypt

By: Waleed Shehata

___Picture1Historic Cairo contains possibly the finest and best surviving collection of more than 600 listed building, as well as its preserved urban fabric. Sorrowfully, sixty or more years ago, Cairo’s historic quarters have started facing deterioration symptoms. The long government neglect resulted in squatter settlements, diluted infrastructure and informal industries. This situation together with poor public awareness toward the value of heritage contributed to severe deterioration conditions for years. Despite dedicating a huge financial resources from the local government and international organizations the preservation, restoration and protection of historic Cairo’s monuments extend far beyond saving, or even restoring bricks and mortar for tourists. With conservation of the authentic fabric in mind, the adaptive reuse of Cairo’s heritage buildings is a recommended strategy for integrative revitalization and urban development of the historic city.

In architectural heritage conservation, adaptive reuse refers to the appropriate functional conversions of heritage buildings to suit the existing use or a proposed use. “The fact is that the best of all ways of preserving a building is to find a use for it, and then to satisfy so well the needs dictated by that use…”  Viollet-le-Duc, 1854. The function is the most obvious change, but other alterations may be made to the building itself. Adapting a valuable building for reuse can include intensive exterior and interior modifications that are purely aesthetic and/or functional; such as the circulation route, the orientation, and spatio-physical relationships. In some cases the process of adaptive reuse may exceed the boundaries of the existing structure, or it may even necessitate the construction of an annex building depending on the peculiarities of the project. In other words, adaptive reuse includes any intervention to adjust, upgrade, introduce new services and uses to suit desired functional requirements, while safeguarding the place. The process itself should be applied to the building while retaining its structure, character, original identity and general authentic significance for future generations.

Thus, adaptive reuse of heritage buildings does not only step up the maintenance of the structure and delay its decay, but it also allows the functioning building to get involved in the living context it lies within, unlike buildings that are deserted and disused.

Landscape & Hospitality Design


Reflections on the relationship between Landscape and the profession of hospitality architecture

By the following two designers:

SPEAKER(1): Ryan Doone – Associate Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with HKS Hill-Glazier Studio since he returned home to Palo Alto in 2011. Prior to that, he earned professional design degrees from Harvard and MIT. His primary focus is on conceptual and schematic design for new and current hospitality projects with an emphasis on beach resorts, and his interest in the intersection between landscape and architecture make for elevated client satisfaction and guest experiences.

SPEAKER(2): Ryan O’Rourke –Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with the HKS Hospitality Group since he moved across the bay to San Francisco in 2014. Prior to that, he earned a design degree in architecture from Cal. His primary focus is to assist in the full service delivery of a construction set. He also leads a team of individuals in the creation + implementation of programs with the goal to promote cultural diversity + inclusion throughout the studio. These programs are critical to the development of an effective + efficient workforce.

Neighborhood Design on Steep Slopes


The talk is about Potrero HOPE SF Public Housing Master Plan and the Kirkham Project in San Francisco.  The Potrero HOPE SF Master Plan is a transformative project that will take recreate a 38 site with 606 public housing units that has been separated from the rest of the city  socially, economically and physically into a truly mixed-income and mixed-use community reintegrated into the urban fabric with up to 1,700 new homes including 606 public housing replacement units, additional affordable housing and market-rate development.  The Kirkham Project will transform an aging 86 unit, 6 acre property into a vibrant new community with up to 400 new units.  Both of these projects required a complete transformation of the existing conditions to create a place that is unique, vibrant and integrated into their urban environments and the neighborhoods around them.