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American University in Cairo (AUC)
4491 Readership
Inspired by the deep interlocking of rocks that can be seen in structures dating back thousands of years in the ancient Egyptian age, the SLIDES was designed to revive the history of ancient Egypt while preserving its culture and presenting them.

Concept and Inspiration

The screen façade takes the form of a voronoi diagram  a decomposition of metric spaces that divides the façade into cells and reproduces the division of the stones on the façade.

Form and Design

The house operates like a "matchbox" that opens fully to maximize solar gain or closes to shade the house entirely. 

The screen façade takes the form of a voronoi diagram  a decomposition of metric spaces that divides the façade into cells and reproduces the division of the stones on the façade.

The screen consists of two layers; when the layers overlap entirely, this allows in most light.  As the two layers slide against one another, different patterns are obtained and consequently different levels of lighting/shading are achieved.

Oriental architecture taken to a new level

The mashrabiya or traditional light screen has long been a part of oriental architecture. Here we will use a very contemporary adaptation of the mashrabiya to provide shading and control lighting within the house.

The screen slides over the house like a matchbox giving the old-fashioned mashrabiya a very modern look while helping to keep energy consumption low. It is also double skinned so residents can control the amount of light entering the house.

Setting the bar for urban sustainability

The two biggest challenges to sustainable living in a hot, dry climate like Egypt are cooling and water. Cooling loads present the largest single electric load to the national grid from the housing segment, particularly in summer months causing rolling blackouts.

Water shortage is a second challenge. Nile water resources fixed at 55.5 billion m3 (BCM) a year are no match for growing consumption. The SLIDES house addresses these two challenges. Through the use of innovative architecture, the home will maximize use of natural ventilation and cooling and reduce the need for electricity for air-conditioning loads.

To address water shortage, conservation measures are taken including the integration of a grey water filtration system that supplies recycled water to be used for drip-irrigation and toilet flushing.

Passive heating and cooling

In the day during the summer, the screen is closed to minimize the heat entering the interior space.  A ventilation outlet provides an escape for the hot air through the ceiling.

In the night time, windows are opened in order to allow cold air to circulate within the interior space

Team exploring some radical ideas for materials

The structures team has been carrying out tests on a fiber reinforced polymer for the building material.  The composite is made of recycled plastic waste and wood waste and is a product of research being carried out in Environmental Engineering. 

The plastic used for reinforcement is made of waste plastic bags. 

The waste wood comes from scrap produced in local carpentry workshops.  The material is made at AUC and the SD Europe project team is currently testing a sample to determine material properties and assess its suitability for use as the building.

Ancient materials find their way to 21st century SLIDES home

The other material takes us back to our ancient Egyptian roots:  Papyrus.  The team is exploring is the use of Papyrus for making the movable screen.  Papyrus is used to make roofs, ceilings, rope, and fences


Some 80-90% of the energy used to heat water in a home literally goes down the drain.  This waste heat can be recovered and integrated into the homes hot water heating system.


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Mercado fotovoltaic@
Gerhard Meyer

2/28/2019 · Enemigos de la Fotovoltaica: El Hotspot.

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