The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated 12 November the 10th anniversary of its relocation to the New Cairo Campus.
The event was celebrated on campus with a musical performance presented by the students themselves, an exhibition of models and illustrations displaying the planning of AUC's eco-friendly architectural design and landscape in the campus library, as well as a media roundtable discussion entitled "Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of AUC’s Relocation to New Cairo Campus: The Vision, the Architecture and the Impact on New Cairo Neighbourhood.”
In 2008, AUC made history with the establishment of a new designed from scratch campus in New Cairo. AUC’s New Cairo Campus was designed to express its educational mission, weaving Egyptian architectural traditions into the design of a modern urban campus. The 260-acre campus reflects an institution built for learning, with 136 smart classrooms, 200 state-of-the-art laboratories, welcoming auditoriums and open courtyards.
“The New Cairo Campus was built to the highest international standards, while drawing from a number of cultural traditions reflective of our identity as Egypt’s global university. As we celebrate a remarkable 10 years since our journey from Tahrir Square, we are proud of all we have accomplished here, and we look forward to another decade of growth, service and institutional excellence,” said Francis J Ricciardone, AUC president.
The relocation served as an opportunity to develop modern facilities that would enhance the academic experience of AUC’s students and faculty, create space to welcome an international university community, and foster increased interaction between the university and its surrounding neighbourhoods.
At the media roundtable discussion, speakers Ashraf Saloum, former director of planning and design at AUC, and Khaled Tarabieh, assistant professor of sustainable design in the Department of Architecture in the School of Sciences and Engineering, discussed the green architecture and sustainability methods used at the New Cairo Campus and ways Egyptian universities can benefit from the university’s architectural model.
“We were building a campus for people to learn, rather than be fed information. We wanted to build a campus that provided students with opportunities to learn from everything around them, as well as from each other,” said Saloum.
With environmental sensitivity and technological know-how as two of its core principles, AUC built its energy management systems strategically into the campus structure, to reduce its overall energy usage. The orientations of buildings, as well as the design of indoor and outdoor spaces, also reduce energy requirements for cooling on campus. A hollow-square building design is repeated across campus on different scales, allowing as much natural light and air as possible to enter offices, classrooms and labs from every direction. Moreover, cooling systems are powered by natural gas instead of electricity, improving their efficiency and taking strain from the power grid.
In addition to the existing structure, AUC has been integrating environmental and social sustainability into the culture and structure of the university through initiatives that include a carbon footprint report, and water management, energy management, waste management and carpooling support.
“Adopting a lasting approach to sustainable development, AUC is internationally recognised as a green and environmentally responsible university. For the fourth year in a row, AUC is the only higher education institution outside North America to earn a coveted spot in the Princeton Review’s 2018 Guide to Green Colleges,” said Tarabieh.
The campus carbon footprint report is the first publication of its kind for a university in the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to mitigate carbon emissions and in line with the global movement to deal with climate change.
During the planning of the New Cairo Campus, the university chose to infuse the landscape with elements of the living environment, adding nearly 150 different species of plants – a mixture of international and native Egyptian – and more than 8,000 trees.
To create a fully inclusive learning environment, the new campus was designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. All campus areas are accessible by wheelchairs, and club cars are available for transport around campus. Sports facilities are also adapted for use by persons with disabilities.
AUC also hosts a three-story indoor athletic complex housing a 2,000-seat multipurpose court, a jogging track, six squash courts, a martial arts hall, exercise studios, and free weight training and aerobics rooms.
Outdoor facilities include a 2,000-seat track and field stadium, Olympic swimming pool, soccer field, jogging and cycling track and courts for tennis, basketball, handball and volleyball.
AUC was first founded in 1919 as a major contributor to the social, intellectual and cultural life of the Arab region. It is a vital bridge between East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, partnerships with academic and research institutions, and study abroad programmes.
An independent, non-profit, apolitical, non-sectarian and equal opportunity institution, AUC is fully accredited in Egypt and the United States.