The Science City Project in Egypt represented for us a big challenge for the topic proposed, the architectural language and the context.
We thought it is an opportunity to propose an architectural global landmark that Egypt, with its extraordinary architectural heritage, could inspire and express. On the other hand looking at the hot dry climate we are dealing with, we found the necessity of creating a dialogue with the local environment. The necessity of generating a microclimate that could allow daily livable outdoor spaces for users. These outdoor spaces are central to define a collective, sharing and joyful common ground where knowledge, science and research interests can be transferred to the public.
Mutating some basic scientific methods, we relate on the idea of order, we tried to create a simple mathematical grid of vertical elements with parameters of urban fabric features. We aim to communicate how science, despite its pure methodological and mathematical order and assets, can open up a million possibilities in people imagination.
City of Science made us think of a model with an urbanized structure and the spirit of a city. A city where there is a correspondence between physical experiences and scientific methods. A city where the knowledge is the culture, freedom is the horizon, interest and curiosity are the roads, densities, light and shadows are orientations. Abilities of science are the environment.
Our main architectural feature are the vertical sticks. In additional to their basic functions (structure, light and ventilation) they are the elements that create the dialogue with the surrounding environment and landscape. The function of the sticks changes according to their position. The external ones, with the help of running water, will work as cooling systems and sound absorbers. The vertical sticks situated in the inner part, will produce a shadow that will recreate an intense microclimate using shadow, humidity and heated tops where different ecological systems will be reproduced. Other sticks will function as exhibition structure to host outdoor installations, while others will function as accommodation for users/guests. The sticks will be using wind to generate melodies – they change in accordance to the program functional spaces located - and the ones gather to form the city tower as structure and vertical circulation elements.
Our aim is therefore to make users’ live the experience of science itself: to find nature’s own rules or to discover new ones, being guided by our instinct, by our sensorial experience and sometimes, getting lost while trying to find or to understand something that is difficult to reach. The visit itself of the City of Science can be considered as the experience of “The Quest”.