A Towering Win: 'Ciel' AUC Team Wins AUC-TAMEER Water Tower Competition

From Left to Right: AUC President Francis J. Ricciardone; student team "Ciel;" Antoine El Khoury, managing director of TAMEER; and Bachir Moujaes, architect, urban designer and head of design at Solidere

A Towering Win

Graphic design students on the team Ciel, Ghenwa Yehia ElMougy, Farah Habib, Nehal Ezz and Mariam Ismail won the TAMEER-AUC competition with their design of an amorphous dream-like sky. Their creative interpretation of the celestial sphere will soon decorate Egypt’s first beautified water tower.

The water tower in question is the bare concrete structure on the south side of the New Cairo campus, just visible from the AUC Sports Center. The decorated tower will become a monument for AUC and a marker for the New Cairo community.

And the prize for the winners? A fully funded educational trip to Beirut in collaboration with Solidere, an urban development company responsible for much of the reconstruction of Beirut’s central district after the war. The trip will include a presentation on urban planning and the cultural, economic and social aspects of their current projects. Bachir Moujaes, architect, urban designer and head of design at Solidere, was one of the judges of the challenge and was present at the finale.

“The trip to Beirut is intended to encourage students to explore art and architecture in a different country,” said Soha Hassan, experiential learning manager at AUC's Career Center.

The two other finalists were given a cash reward and honorable recognition. Colors of Life, with team members Haidy Helmy, Mostafa Ahmed and Merhan Amer, was awarded Best Story for its design, and HRSH Architects, with team members Rana Abdelkhalek, Hana Elshiaty, Hady Eissa and Sana Soliman, was awarded Best Architectural Design. 

All three teams will be offered a job shadowing experience with TAMEER in the department of their choice. 

Street Art With a Soul

Ciel’s design was ultimately selected for its creativity, technical feasibility and compliance to budgetary and logistical constraints.

Antoine El Khoury, managing director of TAMEER, expressed his pride in the students' work. “We will turn this functional structure into street art that has a soul,” he stated. “Today, TAMEER will take over your dream and make it a reality.”  

TAMEER will now take over the production of the students work. The award-winning team will have a say on the drawings before they are executed, to ensure that the final design conveys their original idea.

The finalists were humbled and excited about their win. “I have no words,” said Farah Habib, one of the winners.

“When we first started the competition, we didn’t really think we had a shot. We just said, 'let's try it out,'” team-member Mariam Ismail continued. “There were a lot of moments where we said ‘Oh, let's give up; we’re not going to win."

“We are all design students, so we got some background in architecture through this -- and we learned a lot,” Nehal Ezz affirmed.

Their hard work clearly showed to the judges and soon it will show to the whole New Cairo community -- a water tower painted in splashes of sky, standing out in hazy hues against its physical counterpart.