Preservation Laws: Saving Modern Egyptian Architectural Integrity

Mennatallah Hamdy, Doha Ibrahim
Egyptian cities have witnessed a variety of impeccable architecture throughout centuries of civilization, which enriched the Egyptian society. Constantly rising to the discussion is a question of what constitutes value to architecture of different times. It is important to regard heritage conservation as a synthetic, complex topic that is open for interpretations and judgment. While some antiquities are protected by law, it is apparent how modern heritage is a matter of ambiguity when it comes to preservation and conservation efforts. Until the mid-19th century, architectural heritage was primarily concerned with the preservation of monumental architecture. Theorists like John Ruskin and Le-Duc were largely exploring the authentic expression of materials in architecture, establishing the foundation, that Cesare Brandi would later build on, that conservation authenticity is not limited to age, rather includes material, style and structure.It is appropriate to regard heritage buildings as capital assets, with a potential to raise fluxes of services over time. However, not only Cairo, but Egypt has been losing much of its valuable modern heritage; thus its identity in the process.This paper focuses on Egypt's modernist architecture, discussing the rise of modernism and its introduction to the Egyptian cultural scene while reflecting on the current cultural detachment from such heritage and the current tendency towards. It, also, explores the rise of Egyptian modernism as a national style that reflects social and economic prosperity, in contrast to its rise in the west primarily advocating minimalism, functionalism and social equality.In comparing Egyptian laws to international charters on heritage preservation; in particular modern heritage, case studies are used to explore the consequences. The research concludes by suggesting measures and acts that can, directly and indirectly, affect the decision-making process, as well as support efforts of preservation of Egypt's modern heritage.

Keywords

Modern; Architecture; Heritage; Preservation; Integrity; Authenticity; Legislation; Amendments

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