WAN recently announced it's first ever student competition: Better cities, better lives. We challenged students to select a city of their choice and address a particular urban challenge and provide an effective solution. This week's top submission comes from Menna Dessouki from the American University in Cairo who explains:
“The proposed souq (market place) was designed to serve Khartoum village, a remote and low income rural desert community with a small population. Khartoum lies at the heart of the reclaimed deserts of South Tahrir, a province located 150 km outside of Cairo.
“The concept of the design stems from an appreciation of the context, and a desire to address the village’s environmental, economic, and socio-cultural challenges. Hence, the souq’s design was customized specifically for Khartoum village on the urban, architectural, and human scales.
“At the urban scale, the souq accentuates Khartoum’s solid and organized urban grid. The morphology of buildings and boundaries in the souq emerged from an in-depth study of the morphology of existing buildings, fences, and barns characterizing the village.
“At the architectural scale, there were two main design objectives: first, to preserve and celebrate Khartoum’s traditional architectural language by providing a contemporary translation of it, and second to provide optimum lighting, air quality, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency via passive design strategies and making best use of the natural resources available to the village.
“At the human scale, the architectural program satisfies the villagers’ needs, develops their skills, and encourages their participation, thereby strengthening their economy."