Tuesday July 23rd, 2024
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Unbuilt Architecture: Cairo Stone Towers by Zaha Hadid Architects

Inspired by Egyptian stonework, the design features a ripple effect that creates a dynamic display of light and shadow.

Karim Abdullatif

Unbuilt Architecture: Cairo Stone Towers by Zaha Hadid Architects

Humans have always been capable of dreaming big buildings up and bringing them to life. Monumental feats of engineering, from the Great Pyramids of Giza to the Burj Khalifa, stand as testament to that. That said, some designs - even those created by the brightest minds - never make it out of the concept stage.

One such project is the Stone Towers in Cairo, Egypt, which was designed in 2009 by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid. Named after an ancient petrified tree located on-site, the design avoids the monolithic repetition of static buildings, articulated through a series of ripples and ribbons that were inspired by the patterns of ancient Egyptian stonework.

The architecture of the two bounding edges in the project pursues a rhythm of interlocking forms. These edges visually merge with the landscape, which was designed to link the project together as a delta.


A vast array of textures derived from Egyptian stonework is illuminated by sunlight to create dynamic displays of light and shadow. The pre-cast facades on each building emulate the effect using a language of constantly alternating protrusions, recesses and voids. 

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