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German Embassy Cairo
Site: Cairo, Egypt
Project Status: Competition, 2. Phase
Main Use: Embassy and Residence
Total Floor Area: 5.500 m²
Structural System: Concrete
Structural Engineer: Werner Sobek Engineering
Green Tech: WS Green Technologies
Landscape Architect: Breimann & Bruun

The design for the German Embassy in Cairo is driven by sustainability. A clear and modern architectural language merges with German sustainability standards and principles of traditional Egyptian architecture to form a holistic whole. The design adapts to the given climatic conditions by interpreting traditionally used passive climate techniques. Vertical and horizontal courtyards penetrating the building and acting as natural ventilation and a deep, shady façade that follows the principles of a traditional shadow grid are the main elements of design and sustainability.

The new interpretation of the shadow grid and the use of the cooling effect of the wind are more than just climatic elements. The shadow grid in the shape of a spatial concrete grid acts as a unifying skin. The resulting façade sensitively reacts to the site conditions. Like a filter it shields the embassy as a kind of city within the city without closing it off completely. Various degrees of openness and protection are being created. Depending on the point of view and the lighting the appearance of the façade shifts. The grid filters the bright Egyptian sunlight and scatters it amongst the courtyards.

In their spatial interaction of vertical and horizontal courtyards, the ventilation passages define the inner organization of the embassy. They arrange the plan and create various spaces of communication and recreation for the staff. They allow for visual connections between floors and therefore have a separating as well as a connecting function. The vertical courtyards allow scattered light to enter the inner zone of the building thus enhancing the atmosphere even in the corridors. They connect the horizontal courtyards that touch the façade in a different direction on each floor.