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SSU #5. Egyptian modern, from within (EN)

Egypt and its capital pertain to a geography, that of the Global South, in which modern architecture is commonly associated with Empire, while contemporary built environments are primarily linked to mud brick construction and informal housing. However, neither of these perceptions fully encapsulates the diverse forms of modernity that indigenous and cosmopolitan aspirations have embodied in Egypt, both historically and in the present.

The talk will endeavor to illustrate the point by discussing a few case studies, including the development of suburban Heliopolis, the Egypto-Belgian venture launched in 1905.

Drawing upon a wide range of global and local sources, it will highlight the multiple agencies and competing systems that contributed to the shaping of modern Cairo, at a pivotal time in its history, marked by Egypt’s transition from Ottoman dependence to nationhood. The architectural outcome was an amalgamation of old and new, vernacular and international, fitting local lifestyles and capacities.

Instead of viewing Egypt’s experience with modernity as derivative, the talk ultimately calls for understanding its journey forward on its own terms, as a creative process driven by rooted agency.


Monthly lectures on Friday evenings 17.30-19.30h in the city centre of Brussels. A meeting point for urbanites, just before the weekend starts. 

In collaboration with the Centre for Urban Studies. 

Free entry/ EN



Mercedes VOLAIT INHA (Institut national d’histoire de l’art) in Paris.


17:30 > 19:30



No registration needed


24 05
  • Cycles 2024
  • Cycles 2024 Spring

SSU #6. Mass Housing (EN)

17:30 > 19:30