Prominent British architecture and integrated design firm Foster + Partners has won a competition to design the masterplan for Downtown Cairo's Maspero Triangle District.
The Egyptian Ministry of State for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements announced Monday that the innovative practice will be heading the previously contested urban development project.
Foster + Partners was founded by world-renowned British architect Lord Norman Foster and is internationally known for its pioneering work in sustainable and high-tech architecture.
The goal of Partners' 35-hectare masterplan is to rehouse the low income population of the largely informal settlements in the Maspero neighborhood and introduce new residential, commercial and retail facilities as well to create a new lively urban hub in the heart of Cairo.
"The project is envisaged as a combination of public initiative with private investment support to produce a viable urban regeneration scheme," Foster + Partners said in a statement .
"The master-plan places commercial and residential spaces along the river edge and main street frontages, while mixed use buildings and open community spaces occupy the more private, central core of the scheme."
The aim of this arrangement is to allow Maspero's existing residents to maintain the essence of their living and working areas and the identity of their neighborhood, while simultaneously creating new employment and business opportunities.
The first phase of the plan will replace the district's empty spaces with green spaces to immediately improve the community's public areas and improve its general quality of life.
An open space has been created in the center of the neighborhood to hold community events and celebrations. This central space will be connected to a food market that will lead to the retail area and a hospital at the northern corner of the site.
In addition, the master-plan will involve prioritizing pedestrian traffic with the inclusion of "narrow shaded streets" and connecting Maspero to Zamalek through a footbridge, at the foot of which will be an upscale leisure area called the Lagoon, which will be lined with cafes and shops overlooking the Nile.
"On the banks of the River Nile, the future of Maspero burns bright, and we are sure our sustainable model of development will set the benchmark for urban regeneration throughout the country," Senior Executive Partner Grant Brooker said.
The urban development of the Maspero Triangle had been the object of controversy for many years. Previous plans proposed by investors from the Gulf who acquired buildings in the area involved removing the residents in return for compensation.
However, the residents refused to leave until a compromise was eventually reached with the Urban Renewal Ministry and the Cairo governorate and it was agreed that the residents would be rehoused in the area.