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Keywords

Heritage Preservation, Building Sustainability, Social Development, Industrial District

Disciplines

Architecture | Arts and Humanities | Education | Engineering

Abstract

Industrial properties are functional buildings. They are not built to fulfill the aesthetic needs of their users or communities. In urban areas of large cities, they are unlikely to have the privilege of attracting kudos for the communities in which they are situated. In Egypt, and precisely in the metropolitan city of Alexandria, Minet El-Bassal district was once a famous Alexandrian Industrial district. It was built around 1810 overlooking the only seaport in Egypt at that time. It consisted of headquarters of international trading companies, large store-houses, workers housing and "the bourse de cotton" an international marketing center for Egyptian cotton”. Brokers came from all over the world to this area; cotton was a major agriculture croup, totally for export under the British occupation in Egypt (1882-1956). The district was -and still is supported by a well designed transportation network either for people or goods, this network helped connecting the district with all vital spots of local production and marketing in Egypt. By the early 90s, the Egyptian government followed a new policy of liberalization. The immediate impact was a reduction in cotton cultivated area, total production and manufacturing. An industry, which had sustained large communities of people, became redundant. Many of the cotton factory buildings in Minet El-Bassal district are on their way to be demolished and the sites will be cleared for new apartment blocks. It is essential to create awareness of the heritage value of Minet El-Bassal district's industrial buildings -particularly of its cotton factories before they are demolished. This paper aims to document Minet El-Bassal district as an industrial coastal region and to discuss the various options to revitalize the neglected old industrial properties in the area, thus preserve the identity of the place and improve quality of life. The work proposed in this paper is based on the steps of a design studio course offered for fourth level architecture students at Pharos University in Alexandria, where the authors, as demonstrators of the course supervised the documentation work and suggested the rehabilitation of a group of industrial buildings in the study area.

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