Ta’et Nour is a mixed-use urban project on the outskirts of the Assiut governorate in Egypt. The project is designed as a humanitarian response to the needs of the residents of an informal settlement built under high voltage power lines near the village of Al Izayah; who have developed serious health problems resulting from their prolonged exposure to these power lines. As a result, this design proposes to move the residents to an empty land at a safe enough distance from the power lines.
The scheme began by identifying the residents’ needs in a series of site visits, and the compiled information ignited the creation of a simple division on the new site between the public and private uses; using a new green pedestrian friendly main road. From this simple starting point began the process of design that was built on studying the vernacular in its traditional form and in its informal form. Thus, by not discrediting the value of the architecture style found in informal settlements and trying to marry this ‘style’, its construction techniques, and materials to the Egyptian vernacular architecture. We were able to create a new design language that provides sustainability, ease of construction, as well as, aesthetic fulfillment for residents and visitors alike.
On the macro scale, the design tries to maximize functionality through the use of the roofs, street corners, and other ‘wasted space’ to create opportunities for both private and public gatherings in a ‘garden’ setting, thus making the overall masterplan more livable and pedestrian-friendly.
On the micro scale, the design of the main aspect of the project, the residential units, treats the blocks as stacked ‘houses’ complete with their own outdoor ‘courtyard’, as opposed to simple blocks of flats. This is done to fulfill the intricate cultural and functional needs and requirements of the residents.
Finally, our aim for this project is to take the ideals of Egyptian vernacular pioneers such as Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef and bring them into the 21st century, by finding a contemporary architectural language that fits Egyptian vernacular to multi-storey buildings. While also creating a master plan that acts as a prototype for healthy sustainable rural settlements that still acknowledge all aspects of their users’ needs.