The ETHZ’s Masters of Advanced Studies in Urban Design has created a platform where competent practicing architects from all over the world meet and study together for a year an urban situation in a particular land. This year the MAS ETH UD is focusing on Cairo’s contested urban reality. With their chosen keywords: “Resistance, Relevance, Resilience” the architects tried to envision an alternative for one of Cairo’s barely functioning desert cities, Sixth of October City. The projects and solutions that were proposed were daring and innovative.

Marc Angélil’s MAS ETH UD is directed this year by himself, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and Something Fantastic in collaboration with Cluster Cairo.


From the MAS ETH UD Project brief: “During the previous semester, the MAS Urban Design focused on the so-called informal area of Ardeliwa, Cairo. Based on the observation of this area and others, in the larger context of the Egyptian capital, we implicitly understood that this informal growth is integrally part of larger urban dynamics of the city. While speculation occurs, informal areas primarily exist to palliate the lack of affordable, well-located housing options for poor and lower working classes of Cairo. These areas are ignored by government planning strategies, which still focus on New Cities such as Sixth of October or New Cairo, as the illusory solution to all problems. Imported from modernist western rational models, the quest for an ordered urban form claiming to offer universal resolutions to the perceived chaos of the industrial city resulted in such strategies. New towns gave modernist planners a blank canvas on which to create their vision of the ideal urban society. Sixth of October city is a paradigmatic case where modernist urban planning, economic liberalization and crony capitalism meet and overlap, for an unfortunate result. Paradoxically, Sixth of October is also considered to be one of Egypt’s more successful new towns.”











Role: Commenting on the MAS ETH Urban Design Final Reviews

Location: ONA, Zurich, Switzerland


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