Study on the visual performance of a traditional residential neighborhood in Old Cairo

Sura Almaiyah, H. Elkadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional dwellings located in the hot arid zone in Egypt 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 systems that evolved to control the harsh solar, climatic conditions without compromising the aesthetic quality of the space and the occupants' well-being. The unique visual characteristics of these structures cannot be fully appreciated by assessing the visual performance of buildings in isolation from their urban context. Much of the character of the traditional urban fabric of this region came from the collective visual perception of its architectural components as well as urban patterns. This paper examines daylight behavior of a well-known historic alleyway and of a courtyard house in the Old City of Cairo. Using the Radiance IES simulation modeling tool and a scaled model under an artificial sky dome, the paper investigates the visual comfort in a typical pedestrian street and a selected house. A comparative analysis between simulated results and measured values at target points was conducted. The results indicate a reasonable agreement with the simulation results. The paper gives an insight into the overall visual experience in the traditional settlements in the Old City of Cairo in relation to daylight components and hence their contribution to the unique sense of identity of the place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-86
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Urban Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


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