Alexandria's historical Villa Aghion in process of demolition

Rowan El Shimi, Wednesday 5 Feb 2014

As the wrecking of Alexandria's architectural heritage sites continues unabated, Villa Aghion built by the Perret brothers in 1927 is currently being demolished by court order

Villa Aghion
Villa Aghion in demolition (Photo: Courtest of 'Save Alex')

One of Alexandria's oldest and most iconic modern architectural sites, Villa Aghion built by the Perret brothers in 1927, is currently being demolished.

The building owners obtained a court order for its demolition and began the process on the morning of Wednesday 5 February.

"We have already lost 70 percent of the villa; the most significant parts," Mohamed Abou El-Kheir of the heritage activism group Save Alex told Ahram Online.

Since the court works independently, and not in accordance with the National Organisation for Urban Harmony responsible for maintaining Egypt's architectural heritage, similar sites are repeatedly being demolished, Abou El-Kheir said.

Located in Wabour Al-Maya, one of Alexandria's wealthiest neighbourhoods, this private residence was completed by the Perret brothers for Gustave Aghion, an architect himself, between 1926 and 1927.

The building derives additional historic significance from being the first of a series of buildings erected by the Perret brothers in Alexandria and Cairo between 1927 and 1938.

The Perret brothers, prominent figures of the neo-classical architectural movement, are credited for numerous iconic buildings in Paris, including the 1913 Theatre of the Champs-Elysées.

The state of Villa Aghion awaiting Alexandria's governor to arrive to the site (Photo: Courtesy of 'Save Alex')

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