In February 2015, Studio Global Praxis went on a research trip to Cairo, Egypt to engage in a workshop with Cairo-based design and research practice CLUSTER – Cairo lab for Urban Studies, Training, and Environmental research.
Building on our ethos around the relationship between architecture and society, Studio Global Praxis experiments with architecture and urban design as they intersect with critical theory and a live engagement with the processes of urban change. This year, the focus of our work has been on exploring how design interventions can support alternative modes of thinking and practicing ‘urban regeneration’ in three sites: Sheffield’s city centre; the Euston area in London; Downtown Cairo. For each site, students have developed mapping explorations and design proposals contributing to the work of local practitioners, researchers, and community activists, in dialogue with local students from a variety of backgrounds relating to urban development and design.
Our Cairo partnership fed into this broader line work and took the form of a collaborative workshop titled: Mapping Relationscapes. The workshop, involving Sheffield and Cairo based planners and designers, discussed collaborative modes of spatial practice, based on an investigation of the uses and appropriations of passageways in Downtown Cairo. The 5-day workshop included 21 students from the Sheffield MArch, MA in Urban Design and MA in Architectural Design programmes, and 18 students from a range of Universities in Cairo. The workshop aim was to test methods of mapping the social relations underpinning spatial production in the city centre, while simultaneously exploring passageways as key sites in the redevelopment of Downtown.
Workshop activities were complemented by a range of visits to key sites across the city, including Tahir Square and the Egyptian Museum, Old Cairo, Islamic Cairo, and the Giza pyramids. Further information and images on the workshop can be found here.