PBS Featuring the Story Behind the Making of Al Azhar Park Project In a Full Documentary

Sites International - Project - Al Azhar Park 01 Designed by Sites International, an award-winning urban planning & landscape architecture firm established by Dr. Maher Stino with numerous projects in Egypt, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In a full documentary, PBS featured the story of making Al Azhar Park Project in Cairo and how Sites International and The Aga Khan Foundation enhanced the life quality of the nearby poor neighborhood.

Cairo, a city of 16 million, is one of the most densely populated in the world, with only one square foot of green space per person prior to 2005. His Highness the Aga Khan, , saw the need to relieve this congestion. The result is Al-Azhar Park: a 500-year-old dump-turned-“urban lung” that provides much-needed green space and a source of civic pride.

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The Aga Khan Trust for Culture appointed Sites International as the lead consultant to develop and design the final master plan, landscape architecture, selected architecture and site supervision/project management of Al Azhar Park. The 74-acre site is uniquely situated amidst the splendor of Old Cairo, atop a 500 year old landfill and is defined along its western boundary by the 800 year old Ayyubid wall. The design theme is derived from the contextual Islamic heritage of Old Cairo and the design intent is to provide green open space for the densely populated city. The master plan centers on a major pedestrian spine that extends north-south, linking the topographically-varied landscape elements of the Park. Furniture and lighting fixtures were custom designed by Sites International, using local artisans from a nearby quarry district. Al Azhar Park, now a Cairo landmark, was instrumental in the development of environmental awareness and a better understanding of the profession of landscape architecture in Egypt. The Park’s diverse planting material is a valuable educational resource for botany and horticulture students. Throughout the design process, Sites International was mindful of sustainable design issues. Native and adaptive trees and shrubs were used to provide shade and heat relief and the irrigation system uses raw water from the Nile. Al Azhar Park transformed one of the poorest, most populous and historically rich parts of Cairo into a sustainable open space, stimulated social and economic development and generated revenues exceeding operational and maintenance costs.


SERIES : design e2| A Garden in Cairo | season III | episode 1