"Creating Lively Communities" Winners

First prize team explaining their project
The third-place team with their award
The second-place team with their award

AUC architecture students recently participated in the sponsored studio "Creating Lively Communities," where they presented urban design proposals to a jury for a site owned by NAMAA Real Estate.

The studio was part of the course "ARCH 468/4532: Urban Design and Landscape Architecture" in the Department of Architecture, an initiative that reflects AUC's efforts to introduce students to real-world situations -- in this case by getting professional experience with a real client. The course instructors were Momen El-Husseiny, assistant professor in the Department of Architecture, and Ashraf Botros. 

"The experience was bilaterally useful for both students and the developer," explained professor El-Husseiny. "The students got to engage with the financial and maintenance aspects of their projects while successfully convincing the developer to rethink the floor-area-ratio and preliminary high-density program to provide quality of space with creative ideas for a middle-ground. Moreover, the class raised unforeseen dimensions by the developer such as including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the necessity of countering segregation and walling off from the community through integration -- providing a market and job opportunities for the adjacent working-class families."

For the studio proposals, the urban design students presented their urban and concept designs for an actual site owned by Namaa, offering an alternative vision and a business model for the site that would connect with the city and the community in a socially sustainable and economically balanced system. 

The land they were working with lies along Thawrat street, a strategically important spine that runs all the way through Heliopolis and Nasr City heading to New Cairo, Sherouk City and the New Capital City. There is the potential for a luxurious property development in this area. The students pitched proposals that included a fully integrated luxurious project meeting the real needs of potential residents. The proposals included a mixed-use development of high-end luxury residential service departments as well as a 5-star hotel. 

"The support of the Developer to allow this opportunity to take place and listen to outside-the-box solutions reflect the bright side of future collaborations that can reciprocally change how the market operates and produce a city-for-people that is not solely driven by profit but also driven toward sustainable, lively and interconnected communities," El-Husseiny added.

The first place winning team put forth a design that catered to residents and created a sense of community, appealing to different social classes surrounding the sites.

“This experience was a game changer, it was a transition from the conceptual ideas we had to the implementation -- the practical part. We learned how to properly produce urban and conceptual designs for the project as identified by Namaa in its preliminary project program requirements. Being engaged in such a real-life project that has various requirements and restrictions with a real client allowed us to encounter a professional realistic experience during our undergraduate studies level," said Maram Nazmy, member of the first-prize team.

Winning Teams

First Prize Team: Maram Nazmy - Nada Adawy - Rana Geith - Shehab El-Shazly

Second Prize Team: Ahmed Selim - Esraa Ashraf - Omnia Abdel-Hay - Salma AlMasry

Third Prize Team: Nouran Soliman - Salma El-Shafey - Shrouk Mohamed - Zeina Hazim