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Architects strive to bring back Cairo's days of former glory


An Egyptian real-estate investment firm has renovated a 122-year-old building in downtown Cairo making it the first environmentally friendly structure in the historic district.

Ismaelia real estate has been renovating downtown Cairo’s old, decaying buildings for almost 10 years, in an attempt to restore the district’s former glory.

Chief Executive Officer of Ismaelia for Real Estate Investment, Mohamed El Taher said the building’s original materials leaned a hand to the environmentally friendly upgrades, the company installed.

“An opportunity presented itself because the buildings in downtown already have an architectural character different from modern buildings, such as the use of natural stone and natural woods. We also wanted to raise their efficiency by using VRF (variable refrigerant flow) air conditioners which are environmentally friendly “

As Egypt’s government pushes ahead with plans to move many of its offices to a 45-billion-dollar new capital city east of Cairo, Hazem Moussa, CEO of Sarwa Capital is staying put.

He said the accessibility of the district is unparalleled and hopes that other buildings can be fixed for modern use.

“Being in the middle (of town) is suitable for everyone, as opposed to being on one side – which varies depending on the nature of the work and company, but when you are on one side, you’ll be close to some areas, but really far from others,“Moussa added.

“In this stage we are in, we all know the energy crisis we are facing, whether its in consuming electricity or carbon dioxide emissions, so what we are trying to do is help as much as we can reduce the consumption of energy, “ said lead Engineer at Ismailia for Real Estate Investment, Mohamed Hassan.

The buildings in the district range in style from neoclassical to art deco and the area was renowned for its art galleries, cafes, and nightclubs.

But many of its buildings have deteriorated over the years as a result of maintenance delays and migration of wealthier Egyptians to the suburbs.

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