DeathLab at Columbia University

DeathLab at Columbia University

New York, NY


EXTRAORDINARY COEXISTENCE: Cairo's City of the Dead, 2013

Kimberly V.K.H. Nguyen
Oct 31, '13 2:04 PM EST
DeathLab - EXTRAORDINARY COEXISTENCE: Cairo's City of the Dead
DeathLab - EXTRAORDINARY COEXISTENCE: Cairo's City of the Dead

Monday, November 4, 2013 6:30pm
Al-Fuheis Parking Building, Downtown Amman

Cairo's City of the Dead

Moataz Faissal Farid (Co-Founder, Zawia)

followed by a conversation with:
Karla Rothstein (Associate Professor and Director of the Death Lab at Columbia University's GSAPP)

Monday November 4th, 2013 at 6:30PM

37 King Hussein St. (formerly Al-Salt St.)
Al-Fuheis parking building - 13th Floor
Downtown Amman


The city, as it is; is an eclectic collage of superposed states; it involves overlapping images of co-existing urban situations. Both the physical existence of the city as a built texture and the social geography of urbanity form a superposed morphology. Cairo’s “city of the dead” is a significant example of this urban superposition, where two very distinct states of existence overlap each other, an extraordinary coexistence of life and death. Cairo's "city of the dead" is partly a cemetery, with its monumentality and sacredness, and partly a vibrant city quarter with around one million dwellers living within its limits. For those who are not living in the “city of the dead”, it is a graveyard with inhabitants. For the inhabitants themselves, it is the city, an enactment of their being.

The lecture will demonstrate thoroughly the unique case of Cairo’s "city of the dead", its founding and evolution. Moataz Faissal Farid will analyze the larger context where it lies, the city growth around it, the cultural and religious traditions of burial in Egypt, and how all this affected the life and the architecture inside the "city of the dead", and finally it will question the validity of various ideas and ongoing development projects in the area.


MOATAZ FAISSAL FARID (born 1983 in Cairo, Egypt) studied architecture in Ain Shams University in Cairo Egypt, and in the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. He collaborated with 'Archplan' studio and 'Dar-al Handasah' company in Cairo during the period from 2005 until 2007. He is currently living and working in Milan, where he is collaborating since 2008 with the international architectural studio 'Stefano Boeri Architetti'. He exhibited his work in 2008 at the Egyptian National pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, with the project ‘Shadow of Geometry’ curated by Tarek Waly. In 2011, he co-founded 'Zawia', an English & Arabic publication and series of events on architecture, design & urbanism, published in Egypt and distributed internationally. Together with the Zawia team, they organized two discussion panels and volume presentation in Linke Lab in Milan and in Megawra Hub in Cairo. He collaborated with ‘Magaz Magazine’ as a contributing writer since August 2010, a magazine on design and architecture published in Cairo, Egypt. He participated in a research project titled ‘900 Km Nile City’ with the ‘Berlage Institute’ in 2013, and together with Pier Paolo Tamburelli he edited a book with the same title, it was published in Cairo in February 2013. He also co-curated an exhibition for the same project together with Amr Abdelkawi, and moderated a discussion panel held at the ‘Townhouse Gallery’ in Cairo in the same period.

“Extraordinary Coexistence: Cairo's City of the Dead” is a public lecture organized by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s (Columbia University GSAPP) Studio-X Amman Lab.

All events are free and open the public.