It all started with a vision to create a place fit for a learning institution that promotes non-traditional studies for scientific research and technological innovation. Located in 6th of October City on around 840-sqm land, Aura wanted Zewail City to act as a landmark in the area with a design that would standout within its surrounding environment and reflect its forward thinking while staying true to its roots.
- Location: 6th of October City, Egypt
- Architect: Aura Design Studio
- Size: 840-sqm Land plot and 250,000-sqm Build Up Area.
- Work Scope: Architecture Design and Urban Planning.
After analyzing the brief, Aura started the design process by studying the land in order to come up with the best solutions for the different requirements addressed by the client. The plot offered a much-needed flexibility in deciding the right design approach for the project as well as providing us with a great platform to narrate its story. The master plan focused on an essential element in the client’s brief, which required a symmetrical design with a focal point serving Zewail City’s 8 different faculties and accommodating up to 5,000 students.
With “form follows function” approach for both architecture and urban planning, Aura created a dynamic master plan reflecting Zewail City’s mindset of interdisciplinary interactions. The main idea was to have “no boundaries” by designing different open spaces interconnected through a center-point, which resulted in the creation of an “educational orbit” gathering undergraduate and graduate studies while still dividing them into different zones.
The project features a main axis, which linearly links all the 3 main zones and minimizes the walking distance between the Campus’ focal point and its facilities. Named the “walk of knowledge”, it acts as an extended entrance that integrates the architecture in the general landscape while linking 3 main zones together into one entity.
Divided into 3 main elements, Zewail City’s general layout includes: Zone A- Museum and Convention Center, Zone B- Educational Orbit and Technology Pyramid and Zone C- Housing and Sports. Each zone represents a different area of knowledge, human science, technology and life to highlight Zewail City’s holistic teaching approach.
“The brief required the project to narrate Dr. Ahmed Zewail’s journey, through merging both his strong Egyptian heritage and international recognition into one design. As a result, we researched and analyzed Egypt’s Pharaonic, Islamic and Renaissance eras to define the architectural elements that we would borrow to cover the heritage aspect of the brief and how we could fit them into an internationally recognized silver LEED certified design.
While inspired from the past, the elements were abstracted and modernized to fit our vison for a sustainable building. The visual architectural language features vertical lines, perfect balance between solid and void all to maintain a sense of continuity that is paired with a neutral color-scheme using earth-toned materials like stone, granite, marble and wood to create a comforting and relaxing environment”.
The dual design merges both strong Egyptian heritage and international standards in a contemporary narrative reciting the past, present and future of upcoming Zewil City’s graduates and encouraging them of “being the messenger of their own heritage through carrying their ancestors achievements to the future”.
Aura was founded in 2003 as an interdisciplinary design practice that specializes in interior, architectural, urbanism and development.
“Our projects fall under a wide spectrum of sectors varying from residential to commercial and public developments with the main goal to create long lasting physical narratives. A manifestation of our design philosophy, Aura , reflects our intuitive approach to challenge the boundaries between the tangible and intangible. Our process balances design and technical skills, in order to adapt to life’s ephemeral nature as well as address each project’s unique requirements with all the creative possibilities that lie between them. With an internal culture that promotes self-development, we constantly research new inspirations and techniques that would allow us to strengthen our innate design intuition with extensive knowledge and experience”.