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Paris Firm Unveils Innovative Campus for Universite Francaise d’Egypte

Set to open in 2027, Parisian architecture firm Jakob+MacFarlane designed Universite Francaise d’Egypte with sustainable practices like solar panels and irrigation systems that repurpose wastewater.

Ushering in a new era for a distinguished educational institution in Egypt, Parisian architecture firm Jakob+MacFarlane will lead the design of the Universite Francaise d’Egypte's new campus in Shorouk City. Their winning proposal - which will welcome 3,000 students by its first phase in 2027 and up to 7,000 with further extensions - was submitted along with Cairo-based architectural consultants Raafat Miller Consulting, French engineering firm Artelia, and landscape designers Sempervirens.

Combining aesthetics with practicality, the firm’s commitment to sustainability is evident throughout the project. Solar panel roofs shelter the campus from heat and provide energy, while wastewater from the accommodation areas will be captured and repurposed for landscape irrigation. Aside from student housing, the campus includes learning, research, catering, recreation and administrative spaces within its 32,000 sq/m built area, while its greater outdoors features roads, green spaces, parking lots and sporting facilities.“We’ve been enamoured with Egypt’s history since our youth,” Dominique Jakob tells #SceneHome. “Looking at the country’s past and traditional architecture proved to be a source of inspiration and an answer to our environmental concern. By harnessing the power of clean sources and utilising natural elements available in the region, we hope to succeed in creating a truly sustainable campus.”

‘Barjeel’ wind towers, a form of traditional wind catchers, make their presence with a contemporary twist. Employed with modern mechanics, they will facilitate air circulation to provide a pleasant environment within, while sunken gardens of desert flora further tie the outdoor visuals to the design’s context, and aid in water conservation. Pushing the boundaries of sustainable architecture whilst representing the surroundings in material, form and landscape.

“This is an important moment of the coming together of two cultures, sharing knowledge and cultural histories in a campus that we hope inspires and educates,” Brendan MacFarlane adds. This project represents the knowledge and expertise which the co-founders gained through their 20 years of architectural practice. It is also part of an ambitious strategic development plan by the Egyptian and French governments, and a partnership between the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Agence Francaise de Developpement.

Students will get to choose between departments that include Architecture and Urban Planning, Energy, Mechanical Engineering, IT, Applied Languages, Management Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences. Aligned with the vision of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for 2050, the new campus embodies an oasis where ideas will flourish within a collaborative environment, while setting a standard for green academic campuses in the region.