Inspiring and motivational
Organised by the prestigious Bibliotheca Alexandrina and judged by a panel of world-leading academics and science entrepreneurs, the single-stage contest sought both a comprehensive masterplan and a conceptual design for the new campus on the edge of Cairo.
The brief was to create a set of buildings and spaces that ‘must be inspiring on the outside and motivating and exciting on the inside to visitors and employees alike’. Concepts were required that ‘express a particular vision of the quest for knowledge and the pursuit of science’.
In thinking about how to design the buildings that would constitute ‘Science City’ we reflected on the evolving nature of science.
We thought that a place where ideas are formulated, theories are tested and discoveries are made cannot be one where separate programmes are isolated, it needs to be a place where programmes overlap and connect, forming new relationships and unexpected happenings.
The idea of Science City is to make anything possible through uniting rather than separating functions, creating a highly dense collection of rooms, avenues, gardens and halls to be explored. There is no strict definition between private and public spaces to promote interaction between staff and visitors.
The complex is designed to function as though it were a Petri dish, a place where disparate elements are brought close together to enable a reaction.
This project was the one that best responded to the challenges of the brief. The design is subtle but rich. It Involves various levels of planning… The overall impact is one of great elegance and finesse.
The project feels very much of its place and has the potential to be quite beautiful and to produce a rich series of working, display and learning environments. The basic scheme and concept of the architectural design was impressive, the organisation sound, the phasing logical, the environmental performance promising, and the image very strong but without needless grandiosity.
1st Prize, Open International Architectural competition