By Gehan Abo El Ella
CAIRO, Dec 2(SEE)-The American University in Cairo (AUC), held a competition among its students for the best project to develop and beautify the water tower facing the university.
AUC and ‘TAMEER’, a real estate and development company had held an agreement to transform the water tower outside AUC New Cairo campus into a work of art.
Reflecting the latest trends in the world of architecture and design, this innovative project will allow AUC students to be the designers for the project through a competition in which the best student team would design the water tower.
Students majoring in design, architecture and business will start submitting drafts, as teams, for new designs and full business cases to beautify the water tower. TAMEER will implement the winning design. Such projects give students practical experience, beyond the academic setting.
“This project moves away from the classroom’s theoretical atmosphere to real-world application,” explained Magda Mostafa, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Architecture and one of the faculty members on the water tower beautification committee. “We want them to learn how to operate under a strict budget, under brand identity and other criteria. All this will prepare them for the real working world.”
As part of the project, students will be required to share not only designs but also engineering and architectural footprints in addition to visibility plans and budgets.
From the submissions, three finalists will be chosen by an independent jury comprised of representatives of ‘TAMEER’ and the AUC community, in addition to urban designers from the New Cairo local Authority. The winner will then be selected from among the finalists by TAMEER’s board of directors.
“Our aim is to show that architecture and design can be both beautiful and practical,” said Antoine El Khoury, managing director of ‘TAMEER’. “The world is becoming a lot more competitive and without future generations of creative and unique architectures to inspire the real estate sector, Egypt, is likely to fall behind. This is why competitions and collaborations of this nature are so important.”
The competing teams will be academically diverse, including students from a variety of fields such as engineering, business, graphic design, architecture and marketing.
“Such competitions increase student awareness of market trends, advance their career readiness and differentiate them among other candidates in the job market,” said Maha Guindi, executive director of AUC’s Career Center and a member on the water tower beautification committee.
Two teams will receive a financial award, while the winning team will be offered an educational trip to Beirut. The cultural trip will function as a mini-internship with ‘Solidere’, the company behind the post-war urban regeneration of Beirut Central District. Through presentations, field tours and case studies with ‘Solidere’’s urban design team, the winning students will have the opportunity to discover all the planning, and design, as well as sociological and cultural aspects of Beirut’s transformation.
The decorated water tower will serve as a monument for AUC and a landmark for the whole New Cairo neighborhood.
“The community will feel that something has happened,” explained Nagla Samir, associate professor in the Department of the Arts and one of the faculty members on the water tower beautification committee. “The AUC Tahrir Square campus was the hub of cultural life downtown, and now we have the chance to do the same thing in New Cairo.”