Interview with Giulia Tubelli, Architect, Italy
What are your most significant projects in Egyptian real estate?
The two projects that 5+1aa is handling in Egypt are in AinSokhna, with the design of a master plan for the new “Mount Galala” city located on the Red Sea 150 km from Cairo and 100 km from the Suez Canal, involving a land area of 2,200,000 m2 and an initial stage comprising 1,800 residential units, two hotels and other leisure activities on the coast. The second project – named “Fukha” – is located on the North Coast. Here, 5+1aa has only followed up the second stage involving an area of about 600,000 m2 and, just like the AinSokhna project, these are second homes.
Both projects are in particularly strategic areas experiencing construction development, Consequently, both are keen to become first home projects since they are located close to future administrative-local government centres – respectively, Mount Galala a few kilometres from the new administrative capital and the new town of Galala City, as well as Bay on the coastal area not far from the new city of El Alamein.
How did cooperation with TatweerMisr come about?
5+1aa took part in a selection process alongside about thirty other international studios. One of the main reasons why we were selected is that the project we are launching on the AinSokhna coast is a hillside location. Thanks to our experience as architects in Liguria, we were able to apply the ‘terracing’ logic – a concept that has only recently begun to emerge here in Egypt, since the country is largely flat and by no means mountainous. Tests were then carried out on new construction approaches, especially multi-containment, land-fills and terracing.
What were and still are the main difficulties encountered?
We got on well with TatweerMisr eight from the outset, since it is a young company founded only three years ago. The Egyptian team communicates extremely well with the Italian team and we have many meetings with them in Italy and us in Egypt in order to understand how to implement the project after the design stage.
How would you assess foreign investment in Egypt, especially as regards Italy?
In relation to foreign investment, we essentially target an Egyptian audience, although there is also the hope that, with the resumption of tourism, Egypt may once again become a place appealing to foreign investment. In our experience, despite current affairs, politics and economics, there is still a very strong Italian involvement and the bond between Egypt and Italy is still stable and easy to implement.