The role of architectural heritage in offering a more resilient lockdown in Egypt

Tarek Teba, Nada ElZoghby, Nevin Gharib

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


Heritage buildings play an essential role in representing people past, preserving their culture and social identities and accommodating contemporary functions that support cultural activities. These buildings employ key design principles that anchor the formation of the space and its landscape into the cultural aspects of the communities and the environmental conditions of their location. During COVID-19 pandemic, contemporary buildings have struggled to provide comfortable and effective context for people who had to isolate individually or as a group, while the heritage buildings that mostly serve for cultural purposes have been closed and their functions suspended with another challenge arising of accommodating people in need for self-isolation. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate whether heritage buildings could have performed better than contemporary buildings that were used for individual and mass isolations in Egypt and if key design principles and strategies could be learned from heritage buildings to inform future architectural approaches in the country in order for the built environment to be more resilient in time of pandemics. This question is explored through a comparative empirical study between heritage and contemporary buildings regarding key design principles and strategies and their impact on people’s physical activities, mental well-being and social life during the isolation time. By investigating and comparing their architectural and landscape designs, materiality and environmental aspects (indoor air quality and lighting quality in particular) in both individual and mass isolations situations, the article aims to assess the performance of heritage buildings in such scenarios and highlight key design strategies and features that could inform future buildings and their contribution to users’ experience and resilience during isolation. Results demonstrate that contemporary housing designs negatively impact people experience and health during isolation while contemporary public buildings perform better considering that they were designed based on good standards and assuming that they have the right orientations and landscape, which is not consistently applied. On the other hand, heritage buildings can consistently contribute to positive experience during individual and mass isolation. In addition, key features such as privacy, open spaces and landscape and good ventilation, which have huge impact on users’ satisfaction, are lost or less effective in contemporary residential and public buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding Resilient and Healthy Cities: A Guide to Environmental Sustainability and Well-being
Subtitle of host publicationHERL 2022
EditorsAnna Laura Pisello, Ilaria Pigliautile, Stephen Siu Yu Lau, Nancy M. Clark
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783031338632
ISBN (Print)9783031338625
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2024

Publication series

NameAdvances in Science Technology and Innovation
ISSN (Print)2522-8714
ISSN (Electronic)2522-8722


  • heritage resilience
  • heritage and society
  • heritage and COVID-19
  • lockdown and well-being
  • heritage-informed development


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