A round up of projects by Egyptian architect Dr Abdelhalim Ibrahim Abdelhalim
Egyptian architect and academic Dr Abdelhalim Ibrahim Abdelhalim was recently announced as the 2020 laureate of Tamayouz’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Here, we round up a few of his major projects.
Born in September of 1941, Dr Abdelhalim is a professor of architectural design and theory at Cairo University in Egypt and the principal of Community Design Collaborative Abdelhalim (CDC Abdelhalim), a private architectural planning and development consultancy firm he established in 1978. Dr Abdelhalim received his PhD in architecture from the University of California, Berkley in 1978; a Master’s in architecture from the University of Oregon in 1968; a Graduate Diploma in housing and building technology from Cairo University in 1967, and a Bachelor’s in architecture also from Cairo University in 1963.
Over the last 40 years, he has worked on a significant number of challenging projects and collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned architects. His work spans the sectors of residential, institutional, community, urban development and administrative, and his projects can be seen all over the world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as countries such as the UK, US, Spain, Nigeria, Malaysia, Eritrea, the Philippines and Uzbekistan.
Dr Abdelhalim’s portfolio includes Egyptian embassies and consulates in Kuwait (2016), Jordan (2005), Uzbekistan (2005) and Saudi Arabia (1998); Al-Hamad Palace in Bahrain (1993); the Brookins A.M.E. Church in California, US (1979); New Helwan in Egypt (1980); the Black Repertory Community, Cultural, Art Center in California, US (1982); Dirriyah City in Saudi Arabia (1998); the AUC New Campus Development in Cairo, Egypt (1999); Dirriyah Girls Students Campus of HM King Suad University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2002); Dhofar University in Oman (2005); Spanish Coastal Redevelopment in Andalusia (1975); the Children’s Cultural Park in Cairo, Egypt (1983), for which he received an Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and many more.
During his decades-long career, Dr Abdelhalim has developed a sound knowledge of working with traditional designs, materials and systems. Under his guidance, CDC Abdelhalim became known for its adoption of such approaches, and its awareness of the historical and cultural settings of each project. “Rituals contain the configuration of the basic myth in its form, and regenerates the content of the myth in its encounter,” he has said. Through Dr Abdelhalim’s unique philosophy, CDC Abdelhalim became not only a firm, but a school of thought. And this school of thought has been broken down to more than one discipline through the understanding of rituals and how different communities operate.
Major Projects by Dr Abdelhalim Ibrahim Abdelhalim
King Salman University, KSU Saini, Egypt
King Salman University is an ambitious project in Sinai utilising three unique sites: Al Tor city, Sharm El Sheikh city and Ras Sedr. The main campus is in Al Tor and it spans an area of 205 feddans. The project is of a design/build nature, therefore, it’s a highly demanding project in terms of optimised maturity and coordination.
This project takes the traditional architecture of the Red Sea to a new level of modernity, creating an educational settlement connecting the three anchor cities of Sinai. The campus contains the following faculties: engineering, industrial technology, marine science, pharmacy, nursing and a school of medicine.
The American University in Cairo Cairo, Egypt
The academic area of the new AUC campus is defined by a central open space: the Quadrangle Grove. This formal garden space unites the different schools and facilities into a unified environment. A series of gardens and stands of palm trees order the space and define the Quadrangle Grove. At its eastern edge, the form of an amphitheatre rises slightly to define an open end to the central space. The horizon is marked by the slope of the Desert Hill in the distance.
Mena House Oberoi Cairo, Egypt
The project is a development of the existing Mena House which consists of a palace and group of wings. The mission of this development was upgrading the palace from being five stars to seven stars and developing its main entrance, upgrading the wings E and D from three stars to five stars, rebuilding wing A and joining it to the palace, rebuilding El Waha Restaurant, building a new restaurant, and adding new services.
Arab Administrative Development Organization Cairo, Egypt; 2003
The overall design strategy was to reduce the building recognition and openings, especially for strong solar radiation during the passive heating period (the three winter months). The following elements of building composition are directly related as applications of radiation and shading strategies: direct the building’s façades, the proportions of the openings and the location of services in the facade, the ratio of the external surface of the building to its size, the shape and size of the voids and openings in the outer surface, and roof formation.
Palace of Fine Arts Cairo, Egypt; 1998
The Palace of Fine Arts is the largest art exhibition facility in Egypt. The design scheme of the gallery relies on natural light, art in the life of Egyptian society in general, the intellectual elite in particular, and finally society. The building suffered a great deal after the 1992 earthquake and required rehabilitation and structural reinforcement. The gallery introduces a geometry based on a system of proportion that broke the large gallery into compartments and sequence of volumes and the roof works as an umbrella of light.
Egyptian Consulate Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 1998
The building is considered one of the biggest diplomatic complexes outside of Egypt, serving over one million citizens and foreigners yearly. The building houses diplomatic offices and meeting rooms, citizens and foreigners halls, administrative offices and a diplomat residence, diplomat garden and citizens garden. CDC was the principle consultant providing all the architectural services, tender documents and BOQ, site supervision and furniture design.
Al-Ta’ameer Center Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 1997
One of Riyadh’s major commercial projects, this centre lies directly on King Fahd Road. The project consists of these main elements: the central market, the commercial market, residential units and offices. This project was designed to create a modern landmark for Riyadh city. The design of the building implies a link between the urban development of the city with the social and cultural identity of Riyadh through integrating the urban invariables such as heritage, environment and movement pattern and the urban variables such as new commercial trends, like covered streets, shopping malls, etc.
Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mosque Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 1996
The integration between natural and built environment creates a major design challenge. Three main components were blended in a harmonious scheme to form the overall governing geometry: al-Saha, the wall and the mosque together with the existing garden and palm trees.
Children’s Cultural Park Cairo, Egypt; 1992
The park lies in the heart of Historic Cairo, at the district of Sayida Zaynab. Its design was inspired by the architectural and geometrical order of Ibn Tulun Mosque. The park is designed and built by an outstanding community participation. The most significant aspect of this project is that it is executed by local materials, labour and techniques.