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The Science City

Giza, Egypt, competition 2016

The prominent role of the Science City is well represented by the architectural image of the complex. It emerges from the flat and anonymous landscape of the 6th of October City and becomes a recognizable presence, visible from a distance because of the tall Observatory Tower, which stands out like a lighthouse and landmark of the complex. Its bold and well-defined architecture becomes the iconic feature of the institution it represents.

The design for the Science City is based on three hexagonal-shaped buildings anchored around a central hub represented by the Observatory Tower and here interconnected.
The complex offers a protected interior environment, where light and temperature conditions can be adequately controlled in order to offer the best comfort for the users.
The heart of each of the three buildings is a large interior courtyard on the ground floor. It offers a spacious surface whose primary function is to allow visitors to interact, meet, exchange knowledge and experiences, like on a city square. Each courtyard also works as an important distribution element, so that the visitors and workers can easily get oriented and reach fast their destination.

The main entrance to the Science City is situated at the basis (base/plinth) of the Observation Tower. The large entrance Atrium is the starting point for the visitors' experience. Its generous size offers a spacious and shaded space where people can receive preliminary information and be directed towards the aim of their visit. Services, as well as amenities, like restaurants, cafes and small shops, are located around this space right on the ground floor.
The atrium opens toward the three hexagonal shaped courtyards, while on the east side it leads the visitors to the planetarium through an outdoor square, with the possibility to walk further into the Science Park.

The exhibition spaces are located on the ground floor of two of the hexagonal buildings and extend into their courtyards, where large installations or special events might be realized.
The freestanding volumes of the halls of the congress centre find place in the third courtyard, whose generous surface functions as a foyer.

On the edge of each courtyard, one finds the vertical communication cores as well as the services.
In order to provide a private and quieter environment for research and study activity, the Research Centre and Administration offices are located on the first and second floor of the complex. The form of buildings allows creating flexible compartments on each floor level so that departments of the Research Centre, or of the Administration, can be easily arranged and re-arranged according to the need of the institution.

On the basement level under the Observation Tower and the South Building, the technical spaces, as well as storage rooms and workshops areas, are organized. Since the basement is on the same level of the underground parking, delivery will take place from here.

The underground garage on two levels located in the south of the site fulfils the program requirements. It takes advantage of the topography of the terrain, which rises toward the east, in order to avoid deep excavation. Its first level is in fact at the same level of the entrance to the Science City, to which it is connected through the square on the east side.

Zvi Hecker

Arab Republic of Egypt

ca. 85.000m²


Paolo Fontana 
Oliver Scheffler
Sonja Buchwald 
Dimitra Chatziargyriou 
Marta Jurdzinska
Adam Novotník 
Christopher Walter Pirker 
Charlotte Pull