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Egypt

Cairo Demolition: A City's Heartless Pursuit Of Progress

Families, neighborhoods and even the remains of loved ones are bulldozed over in order to build new highways and other works without the input of the people.

A woman at the family's tomb in Cairo's City of the Dead
A woman at the family's tomb in Cairo's City of the Dead
Sharif Abdel Kouddous

-Essay-

CAIRO — One Saturday last month, I stood surveying the rubble of my family's burial plot in the historic area of Cairo known as the City of the Dead. The wall separating our plot from the street had been demolished by a bulldozer that morning. The government was clearing a path for an overpass, 17.5-km-long, that will cut through this ancient necropolis, linking the October 6 Bridge to the Mushir Tantawy highway — and our family's burial ground, like many others, was inconveniently in the way.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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