Assessing daylighting performance of a traditional residential neighbourhood in historical Cairo

H. Elkadi, Sura Almaiyah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Traditional dwellings located in the hot arid zones of the Arabian regions are well known for their sensitive architectural response to the region’s climatic conditions and socio-cultural norms. The majority of these dwellings are well recognized for their courtyard arrangement and perforated fenestration system that evolved to control the harsh solar, climatic conditions without compromising the aesthetic quality of space and occupants’ wellbeing. The unique visual characteristics of these structures cannot be fully appreciated by assessing the visual performance of buildings in isolation from their urban context given the fact that much of the character of the traditional settlements of this region came from the collective visual perception of their architectural components as well as urban patterns. This paper presents a methodology that can be used to assess daylight behaviour at an architectural level as well as at an urban scale. The work examines the daylight behaviour of a well-known historic alleyway and of a courtyard house in the old city of Cairo. The variability in the visual perception and comfort for a typical pedestrian street and the occupants of the house was predicted using Radiance IES simulation modelling tool and a scaled model under an artificial sky dome. A comparative analysis between simulated results and measured values at target points was conducted and the results reveal a reasonable agreement with the simulation results. Preliminary results from the first phase of modeling are presented that give an insight into the overall visual experience in the traditional settlements in the Old City of Cairo where daylight has contributed to the place unique sense of identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLe patrimoine, moteur de développement: actes du syposium de la XVIIÈME Assemblee Generale de l’ICOMOS organisée par ICOMOS France, du 27 novembre au 2 décembre 2011 Maison de l’UNESCO, Paris = Heritage, a driver of development: proceedings of the 17TH ICOMOS General Assembly Symposium organised by ICOMOS France, from November 27 to December 2, 2011 UNESCO House, Paris
Place of PublicationParis
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event17th ICOMOS General Assembly and Scientific Symposium: ‘Heritage, driver of development’ - Paris, France
Duration: 27 Nov 20112 Dec 2011


Conference17th ICOMOS General Assembly and Scientific Symposium


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