Commissioner: Egyptian Ministry of Culture
Curators: Islam Elmashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid
The Egyptian pavilion at the Biennale Architettura proposes the theme of strategic redevelopment of spontaneous commercial spaces across the entire country. The phenomenon of ‘free’, unstructured, often illegal, trading is predominant in many urban and suburban areas. The traditional souk is no longer confined to narrow streets and interstitial spaces of historical areas. Indeed, the space of commerce extends its tentacles seamlessly along the lines of urban streams without any rule. The project for the pavilion focuses on these strategic spaces, but also on their content. The trading of ‘roba becciah’ is a large portion of all market activities. Disused items produced and dismissed by consumerist societies are first collected, and then stacked in areas creating mono-functional enclaves for future trading. The ‘roba becciah’ represents an important metaphor of the anthropological-urban condition of the modern world. The re-design of the ‘urban market’ seeks rethinking and the role of ‘free space’ within the dense morphological and social fabric of the city. It is a proposal that aims at the upgrading and ‘governance’ of large urban areas allowing a ‘free use’ that contributes to a better living of contemporary metropolises.