Yara A. Khalf (Cairo, 1992) is a current student of the Master degree in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design at the Arab Academy for Science & Technology & Maritime Transport. She received her bachelor degree in Architecture from Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt. She is currently working as the graphics designer for “Arcplan”: Arabic cities planning e-journal. She is an enthusiastic architect and photographer interested in understanding the relations between architecture, the urban and photography through urban explorations.
Ahmed El Antably is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Architectural Engineering, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport. He is interested in design media and the ways in which they are socially deployed in design discourse, and the effects they introduce in design practice. He is also interested in issues of (re)mediation and perception in virtually (re)constructed places. El Antably received his doctoral degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in New Media.
Mona A. Abdelwahab is Associate Professor in Architecture, Department of Architecture and Environmental Design at the Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Egypt. She received her PhD in Architecture from Newcastle University, UK. She followed her post- doc studies at the Department of Spatial Planning, University of Groningen, NL, where she co- founded “YA-AESOP- Booklet Series: Conversations In-Planning”. She is a founding member of Khotout Association for Design Studies and Planning, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Arcplan”: Arabic cities planning e-journal.
Beyond the glamour of Cairo history lies a different side of the city that unravels the unique beauty of urban decay. Al-Hattaba, a UNESCO heritage area, is caught in between these narrations of beauty and decay; the beautiful home whose inhabitants want to keep and grow, and the formally enlisted dangerous informal space subject to eviction and demolition.
Al-Hattaba embraces the beauty of its rich and diverse history, growing through time. It beholds moments of prosperity, failure, change, beauty, and loss.
Urban decay photography is used to interpret al-Hattaba’s controversy and explore the bonds between time and memory. We take the reader through a visual journey in al-Hattaba.
It constitutes a photo-sequence that considers al-Hattaba in reflection of its background context, the Citadel of Saladin; historic and residential buildings, some abandoned and attempts of local renovation. This urban setting reflects a rich visual diversity that witnessed its changes through time. We argue that the essence of al-Hattaba’s beauty is in its urban decay. It is a space that will never fail to amaze its visitors with its hidden beauty.
Abo-AlAmayem, Mohamed and Abd-AlHafez, Mohamed. “New Islamic monuments from Al-Hattaba and Bab Al-Wazir cemetery in Cairo” Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists 9, no.9 (2008): 133-160. Translated from the Arabic version available at https://journals.ekb.eg/article_2615.html
Al-Ibrashy , Mai, et al. Rep. “Research on Intangible Heritage and Storytelling Event in the Action Area - Final Report. Cairo, Egypt”: Urban Regeneration Project for Historic Cairo - URHC, (2014).