Samir El Kordy/

Ying Zhou

Panel #2

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



To relate the project of FabUrb to the developments in New Ccairo and New Damascus, to the current events which have swept through the Middle East in the last months and the current transformations manifested in the cities. The urgency evoked by the revolution in egypt and the muffled but nevertheless crucial developments in Syria show how the fabricated urbanisms (the subject of FabUrb) which have left most of the population behind exposes the direct relationship between spatial production, their representations and ideology. Those gathered in Tahrir square, crossing age, gender, religion and class divides, were demanding the basic tenets of living which have been denied in the most extreme form of new cities created. And the transformation to the public spaces, in the new-founded sense of ownership and optimism of post-revolution Egypt, contrasts at the same time with the new fortress of the Islamic Brotherhood headquarters seeming to represent the possibility of a closed society being advocated. The tension between open and closed persists with the return of the status quo. And the new reality of social media creating an alternative public space fundamentally shifts basic social interactions. (…) Revolutions are not always necessary to rethink urbanism. But in many ways the manifestations of urban spatial production in Egypt and Syria reveal the way that the city is again the battleground for ideology rather than only that of capital.





Wie ist die Situation in Kairo und Damaskus? Wie ist die Stimmung in den Städten?
What is the urban situation in Cairo and Damascus? What are the current vibes in the cities?

Was passiert mit dem öffentlichen Raum durch die neuen gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen? Welche Rolle übernimmt dieser?
What effect will the new social changes have on public urban space? What role will urban space adopt?

Wem gehört der öffentliche Raum?
Who owns urban space?

Wie wird der öffentliche Stadtraum mit dem öffentlichen Forum der sozialen Medien sich in Zukunft überschneiden?
How will public space intersect with the public platforms offered by social media in the future?

Wie wird sich die arabische Revolution auf die Stadtplanung auswirken? Wie visualisiert sich diese bislang im Stadtbild?
How will the arab revolution impact on urban planning? How has this manifested itself to date in urban cityscapes?

Was würde sich in der urbanen Entwicklung verändern, sollte sich die Demokratie in der islamischen Welt durchsetzen?
What would change in urban production if democracy were to be installed in the islamic world?

Wie manifestiert sich Nationalismus bzw. Ideologie im Städtebau?
How do nationalism and ideology manifest themselves in urban production?

Wird Ägypten als führende Nation im arabischen Frühling auch die städtischen Veränderungen am meisten bewegen?
As a leading country in the arab Spring, will Egypt also be leading an urban transformation?

Wer hat den Masterplan für die neuen Millionensiedlungen erstellt Was ist das Vorbild?
Where did the master plan originate for the new settlements designed for populations of millions? What is its role model?

Wo liegt der Unterschied zu den Neustädten der Industrialisierung?
How do they differ from the new cities which have sprung up as a result of industrialization?

Wie drücken sich bis dato die Präsenz des Staates, des Regimes im Stadtgefüge aus?
How has the presence of the state and the regime impacted on the urban fabric to date?

Ist es möglich ein urbanes Konzept auf eine gesamte Region zu übertragen?
Is it possible to copy and paste
an urban concept for a whole region?

Wie sieht die Typologie, das Vokabular des autokratischen Regimes aus?
What is/was the architectural typology or vocabulary of the autocratic regime?

Kann Städtebau als Herrschaftsform „missbraucht“ werden?
Can the urban structure be ‚abused‘ as a form of government?

Konkret – was macht man mit einem Diktator als Klienten?
In concrete terms: What do you do with a client who is a dictator?

Ist das Wohnen in gated communities ein vorherrschender Lebenstraum?
Is living in gated communities a prevailing lifetime dream?

Gentrifizierung und sozialer Ausschluss, wie wirkt sich das aus?
Gentrification and segregation – how does that apply?

Welche Initiativen bestehen
auf kommunaler/regionaler Ebene? Stichwort: Governance
What kind of initiatives exist at municipal / regional level, taking the aspect of governance as a focus?

Wie wird sich die Bevölkerung und damit die Utopie von Faburb verändern?
What changes will the population – and thus the utopia of FabUrb – undergo?

Ist eine Integration von
Jung und Alt, Arm und Reich im urbanen Gefüge vorstellbar?
Is the integration of young and old, rich and poor potentially imaginable within an urban context?

Was verändert sich auf ästhetischer Wbene? Wie sieht der Lifestyle der Stadt der Zukunft aus?
What aesthetic aspects will change? How should we envisage the lifestyle of the city of the future?

Wie kann man in die städtebaulichen prozesse eingreifen? sind diese reaktionär?
How can individuals intervene in the processes of urban production? Are these processes reactionary?

Welches sind die Herausforderungen in dieser jetzigen Übergangsphase?
What challenges have to be confronted in the current phase of transition?

Wie kann der architektonische Diskurs aktiv gestaltet werden? Wer partizipiert?
How can architectural discourse be proactively shaped? Who will participate?



Samir El Kordy

(* 1974) is an architect based in Cairo, Egypt. He graduated from the architectural Department in Cairo University, Faculty of engineering, 1997. He has worked for OMA/Rem Koolhaas in Rotterdam, and Herzog & de Meuron in Basel. In Cairo, el Kordy has realized a number of projects and has collaborated with CDC/Abdel Halim in major architectural initiatives in Egypt and the arab Region. His practice includes a range of realized architectural and urban, theoretical, researchbased projects in New York, Paris, Munich, London, Rotterdam, Saint louis, Saint Petersburg, Dubai, Ibb, Riyadh and Cairo. He is the designer of the recent exhibition “The Future of Tradition / The Tradition of Future” at Haus der Kunst, Munich. His research “Rampart and Retreattourism” was exhibited at the Rotterdam Biennale 2009. He taught at the Modern Sciences and arts University in Cairo.

Ying Zhou

(*1977) is an architect who recently joined the Future cities laboratory of the new ETH center in Singapore. She was a researcher and lecturer at ETH Studio Basel for the last four years with Professors Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, where her research on the metropolitan region of Basel culminated in an urban comic book about MetroBasel. Her collaboration on the FabUrb project examining the contemporary urban developments of Damascus and Cairo follows her two-year research into the cities of the Middle east at Studio Basel. Her piece about Damascus was published in the UCLA journal critical Planning. Born in Shanghai, she studied architecture and engineering at Princeton and Harvard and was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Stuttgart. She has taught and practiced in New York, Shanghai, Boston, Detroit and Basel.




Click to enlarge


Everything Else

FabUrb - Text Wall  (Wilfried Petzi Photography)

Haus der Kunst, Munich, Exhibition Sept 2010 – Jan 2011
Cairo, Exhibition Mar 2011 -

FabUrb is a project that captures the ongoing image constructions which accompany the current developments of New Cairo and New Damascus in its multiple physical and representative layers. Fabricating, in both the sense of constructing and building a physicality—of crafting and assembling a materiality of built, landscaped and planned environment—and also in the sense of composing and inventing a story—of fabricating urban fictions— is here deployed both as a tool of analysis and of creation. Taking from existing “visions” which present a narrated urbanity for New Cairo and Damascus, the project re-imagines the idyllic idealized fictions for a “future” modern lifestyle.


weblink FabUrb