Synthesizing Classical Tradition with Contemporary Architecture: The Unique Vertical Sphinx in Cairo
Fran Silvestre Arquitectos has designed an awe-inspiring vertical Sphinx house located on the northern coast of Egypt that is sure to capture the imagination of anyone who appreciates innovative architectural design. This unique project is situated just a short distance from the Mediterranean Sea, allowing for breathtaking views from the upper levels of the proposal.
One of the most striking features of this structure is a single line less than 30cm thick that symbolizes the traditional representation of the Egyptian god of wisdom. The vertical element, with a variable section, houses the communication core while maintaining the expressiveness of the entire project.
Part of the house is cantilevered, emerging from a vertical wall, which seemingly isn’t thick enough to support it. This type of cantilever requires a solution to its two fundamental parts, namely, the cantilever body itself, visible and apparent, and the vertical body or mast from which the first starts. To achieve the desired lightness, a triangulated steel structure solves the cantilever body issue. It can be built at ground level with maximum precision using precambers and then hoisted into position once the wall-mast is finished. A counterweight of the opposite cantilever balances the structure with additional mass in reinforced concrete.
The biggest challenge was creating the vertical body that hides the core of vertical communications and provides the necessary rigidity and resistance for the aloft house to emerge as a cantilever. The rest of the house balances the overturning moment of the vertical part.
The lower part of the house contains the entire program, except for the master bedroom located on an upper level, resembling an independent house. Contemporary architecture references such as the floor plan of the Pirelli Tower, where Gio Ponti created an optical effect that emphasized the building’s height, were taken up again. This strategy is used to make the perception of the structure that of a thin sheet of concrete. This technique is used in both the floor plan and the sections of the proposal.
The ability to synthesize classical tradition in the works of Andreu Alfaro inspired Fran Silvestre Arquitectos to pursue this attitude for the materialization of the proposal. The result is a project that seeks to synthesize a part of the tradition of the place with a materialization that represents a constructive innovation.