Article in "Future Cities Laboratory Magazine," 2013.1, 52-57
Although the significance of vernacular cooling strategies is well accepted among scholars of architecture (Taut 1937, Fitch / Branch 1960, Fathy 1986), the differences between passively cooling a small village house, and cooling a large-scale city building have to be considered carefully. But what about the large-scale high-rise informal buildings in a big city like Cairo, Egypt (Fig. 1)? Have these buildings something to teach us in terms of cooling large-scale mass housing developments (Fig. 2)? In this article I’m going to argue that the very young phenomena of informal building is the missing link between vernacular and academic construction. The gap between tradition and modernity can be bridged by investigating informal cooling strategies. During fieldwork conducted in an informal quarter in Cairo (Egypt, 2010) I had the opportunity to live with and to investigate such informal cooling strategies.