Planting democracy

Cairo, Egypt

Jury report: ‘…the project seizes a vital feature of the site: a connection which goes beyond symbolical geometries and designed boundaries. It’s a landscape proposal with a remarkable botanical report that reminds the earthly garden, the reconciliation place par excellence. The tree is the unit, democracy a garden to look after.’
Our idea is to give to Tahrir Square the shape of what it represents today and what it can be tomorrow. An icon to the critical role that open spaces play in revolution and post-revolution era. It symbolized the revolt, and now it deserves to symbolize the rebirth of a democratic Egypt. As a new icon and space for interaction New Tahrir has the potential to play a role in consolidating a common cultural-historical background which creates an underlying identity of a community.

Forestation is based on a selection of different trees that are relevant in the Egyptian tradition; the result is a sort of green museum, where each plant has its own specific history and symbolic role. The variety of trees aims to represent the wide variety of people who have gathered together during the riots for a common, unique idea.

To make Tahrir Square an aggregation space, there is an ineluctable necessity: the creation of shade. During the period of occupation of the square, citizens sought shelter under the few trees present and they erected temporary shading structures. The need is clear: to foster social interaction in the open spaces in Cairo, you must create the conditions for climate comfort.