Shahira Fahmy, an architect from Cairo, Egypt started off her professional career as a surveyor mapping old Cairo to make the city more visible and accessible, and now has been hailed one of the “architects building the Arab Future.” Her real goal is assisting the public to retake ownership and decision-making in the city.
Recognized internationally, Fahmy has won many honors for her architectural work, including the Green Good Design Award of the Chicago Athenaeum in 2010. But she has shared the challenge of educating Egyptian culture about the why of architects, who are seen as a trade for the engineering field. Moreover the political situation in Egypt remains unsettled, complicating all forward movement in planning and building the future.
Since January 2011, the Egyptian resistance movement has left Tahrir Square to activate pop-up actions in public spaces around Cairo. Fahmy is especially intrigued by the mapping initiatives that have emerged to document a city in flux. She looks forward to the Fellowship as an opportunity to understand the new social, physical and political urban conditions and examine other cities for innovative models and prototypes and methods for dealing with volatile public space.