Foad Serag El Dien
Cairo, Egypt

This three-level high-rise building is laid out at an angle along two streets of Garden City. The “immeuble de rapport” (luxury low-rise apartment block), designed by the French architect Georges Parcq (1874-1939) in 1925, has a polygonal-shaped sail-over extended by an “avant-corps”, built out and bevelled, open at the top on a pergola with a geometric concrete lattice added afterwards. A cornice, dominating the elevation, delimits the original construction from two extra storeys featuring architectural elements of the Modern Movement, probably designed in 1940.

The architect integrates in his design an eclectic Beaux-Arts style with Art Deco elements – Art Deco friezes, balconies with geometric adornments in wrought-iron – and neo-classical features such as a Louis XVI frieze with drops. The main facade presents two “avant-corps” with openings. One of the specific features is the diversity of windows’ forms – rectangular, with circular or surbased arch, with decorative elements in neoclassical style and even neo-renaissance – contrasting with the imposing aspect of the building. Indeed, despite its horizontal shape, the result is an impression of structural mass due to the existing contrast between window size – small in order to diffuse partially daylight and retain heat – and the heavy material, brick masonry rendered with coat and paint, simulating natural stone and forming a regular bond. This construction process is often used in residential Cairo architecture. Decorative adornments of the facade such as friezes are moulded in a moist plaster, probably natural cement, a skill frequently employed for brick-facade design, while European Art Deco architecture presents high-grade materials and decors directly executed in cut stone. 

Georges Parcq, in his approach, brought together an eclectic style, inspired by his many travels to the Middle East and to India, a synthesis of neoclassical, neo-Palladianism and Art Deco features to create an architectural language in which the form of the building is defined by its function. 

Foad Serag El Dien Street, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt
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Construction 1925
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