Architecture of the place competition 2023

National Cultural center, Sohag

The winners announcement:

The winners and honorable mentions were selected by SAE jury members, who met remotely in January 2024. The panel members were:

The winners were selected from a shortlist made by professional jury members in the architectural field. The shortlisted finalists were chosen from a larger number of 130 submissions representing 7 countries.

Selection of the finalists was based on criteria set in the competition’s brief, such as responding to the site’s context and offering solutions that are mindful of the existing nature of the place, as well as the needs of innovation culture center for people in Sohag.

After reviewing the submissions, the jury commented:

The submissions for the Sohag, Egypt, “Architecture of the Place” competition. Each proposal was remarkable in its way. The standout entries skillfully merged modern functionality with seamless integration into the local environment, respectfully acknowledging the area’s rich heritage and the site’s unique character. Notably, these designs placed a special emphasis on the visitor experience. This project is poised to become a significant landmark, promoting cultural exchange and fostering community development. The evident creativity and talent in these designs hold great promise for enriching Sohag’s cultural fabric.

The winners and finalists will be celebrated during SAE annual ceremony held in March 2024.

And our team will announce the exact info about the ceremony soon.

The prizes:

1st prize: Three thousand and five hundred American Dollars and the international certificate of SAE signed by our Jury members + SAE MEDAL + Project publication in international architectural magazines and news.

2nd prize: One thousand and five hundred American Dollars and the international certificate of SAE signed by our Jury members + Project publication in international architectural magazines and news.

3rd prize: One thousand American Dollars and the international certificate of SAE signed by our Jury members + Project publication in international architectural magazines and news.

After revising and judging all submitted proposals the jury members decided to give 7 honorable mentions not just 3 as indicated in the competition brief because of their excellence in submitting creative and innovative projects in such a context.

7 Honorable mention : SAE MEDAL + Certificates of appreciation + Publication.

We are delighted to announce the top finals of the (Architecture of the place) v.01 2023 International competition to design a National culture center in Sohag, Egypt and the codes arrangement is our private system not with the ranking of winners in the following:

ATP 220 (Fatma Waleed (leader)-Mariam ghonaimy -Ahmed ghorab -Hisham halim -Merna Mohamed).

Brief: Although Sohag is a tourist city filled with the spirit of nature and has many advantages that make it a high position among the cities of Egypt, it is expelling its residents, but it is due to the lack of an opportunity to establish a fair life due to the lack of job opportunities that help its youth to stay in and develop it.

The deserts and missed opportunities in the city that no one has yet discovered can be better exploited, and thanks to the technology available now, these vast areas can be used to design natural and environmentally friendly products that become local products for the city and are globally distinguished.

ATP 177 – BlueyArch – (Abdullah Sayed – Omar Fawzi – Ahmed Osama).

Brief: Our vision is to create a project that can help lift the tourism section in Sohag and help bring people from all over the world to see the beauty of Sohag and the beauty of the Sohagian people. It is necessary that Qarman Island does not stay neglected like it is now, and this project will help boost its economy and decrease the unemployment rates in the city.

The Sohagian Experience is a philosophical approach that intends to implement elements of Sohag’s culture, identity, and lifestyle into the project and make the users and visitors feel the true Sohagian experience all in one place. Using Neo-Vernacular architecture and the context of the city to design this project was very inspiring and people from Sohag will definitely appreciate this project and hopefully be a landmark to the city.

ATP 228 – haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050 – (Martin Haas, Evgenii Varlygin, Xun Li, Sandro Ruiu).


Lantern on the Nile – “a festival of light and shadow”

The Nile provides the most beguiling of contexts. The National Cultural Center is to occupy a highly privileged position on Qaraman Island. The symbolic significance of such a project is unparalleled. The opportunity must be seized to create a social, economic, and environmentally sustainable project. This is an opportunity to demonstrate and to set new standards.

Low-tech / High-nature! Our proposal is the result of a site-specific design approach. We wish to harness the potential of local skills by using locally sourced materials to create a unique and highly distinctive visitor destination. Massive earthen forms emerging from the island are sheltered by a new delicately articulated canopy. A new structure begs to be explored; the visitor is encouraged to enter a box of treasures! The constant transition between massive volumes and light-filled spaces creates seductive patterns and areas of surprise. In the evenings energy harnessed from the sun transforms the building into a gently glowing beacon of light; a unique place to gather on the Nile.

A new visitor experience in a land of superlatives. Commencing with the initial boat journey the visitor is afforded an opportunity to slowly ponder the forms of the building and its relationship to the island, the city of Sohag and the Nile. A series of mooring points allow the building to be approached from different sides. From here paths cut across the 4 Egyptian landscapes. The new building sits at the intersection of these landscapes, a contemporary interpretation of a piece of classical architecture. A new cultural heart for the nation!

ATP 202 – (Fatma Mostafa Sayed Youssef Ahmed Fawzy Mostafa Magdy Mohamed Abd ElAleem Omar mohamed el olamy Omar Mohamed Elaiyouty).

Brief: Our vision for the culture center in Sohag is to create a dynamic and inclusive space that celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region while fostering creativity, learning, and community engagement. We aim to design a center that serves as a vibrant hub for artistic expression, cultural exchange, and the preservation of traditions.

Through immersive exhibitions, performances, workshops, and interactive programs, we envision a place that inspires visitors of all ages to explore, appreciate, and actively participate in the diverse cultural tapestry of Sohag. Our culture center will be a beacon of cultural pride, knowledge, and inspiration, nurturing a sense of belonging and fostering connections among individuals, communities, and their shared heritage.

ATP185 – WARSHA -Mohamed Hussien.

Brief: Project Vision: Qurman National Culture Center

At the heart of the Qurman National Culture Center lies a visionary concept: the modern adaptation of ancient architectural elements. This concept serves as the guiding force, shaping a space that seamlessly marries the timeless beauty of the past with the practical needs of the present.

Harmonious Blend of the Old and the New: The vision for the Qurman National Culture Center envisions a harmonious blend, where ancient architectural features are carefully interwoven with contemporary functionality. Rooted in the historical tapestry of Sohag’s funerary temples and coffin tombs, the design pays a respectful homage to the city’s rich cultural heritage.

ATP 154 – Elmaghraby Design House – Ahmed Medhat Elmaghraby.

Brief: The banks of the river Nile witnessed the miracles of the great Egyptian civilization birthing with it a new era of architectural development. Life in the Nile Valley flourished because of two elements with its natural environment; the water of the river and its mudbanks.

The concept of this project is inspired by bringing the two elements of life together in a contemporary architectural articulation. The first element, represented by the waters of the Nile, penetrate the project reaching the main ‘saaha’ which consists of a small lake and is considered the main entrance to the project accessible via small boats. The second element, being the river’s mudbanks, is represented in the envelope of the structures (rammed earth) offering necessary heat insulation using sustainable and locally sourced materials.

The form generation is a result of an interpretation of the interactivity of the flowing river Nile with its mudbanks and surrounding rocks. Over the years, water has formulated fluent articulations on rocks and mudbanks resulting in magnificent views on either ends of the Nile’s banks The project’s function is drawn from a motivation to transform the quest for knowledge and culture from a routine task to an exploratory adventure. The adventure begins in a small boat that sails from the river’s mudbanks arriving at the deck inside the project. From there the visitor can begin a journey on foot exploring the different structures and enjoying a unique experience in each, starting with the semi-shaded library until reaching the theatre. The mega steel canopy offers protection to daytime visitors from the striking heat of Sohag’s sun, in addition to reducing heat gain of the covered structures.

The design of this cultural center is driven by motivations to transform it from being a local center to a tourist attracting project for visitors from within and outside of Sohag, offering yet another imprint of the miracles of the Nile and the cultures it has witnessed.

ATP 227 – pharos university architects – (Mona Mohamed Naguib, Mohamed Mahmoud Elfakharany, Mohamed Abou Khalil, Habiba Mohamed , Marawan Abdelbasit).

Brief: The Cultural Center in Sohag aims to serve as a hub for promoting and preserving the rich cultural heritage and historical legacy of the diverse Egyptian civilizations that have influenced the city over the ages. It will play a significant role in fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation for the local culture, while also addressing the community’s needs by offering various lacking services. The center will contribute to the overall development of the Sohag community, particularly in the areas of education and culture.

The building was designed as an architectural embodiment that combines the past and the present. The idea is clear in the facades designs and material which contributes to the diversity of the different civilizations that Sohag witnesses.

In addition, the Islamic “Mafrouka” which is an essential element inspired by Islamic civilization, was used to generate the shape of building plans. The 4 wings of the “Mafrouka “ helped in the formation and division of different functions, while, creating harmony and balance in the architectural design. The shape also provides a central court that is used for social and environmental purpose. The landscape pattern was inspired from a traditional pattern originated in Sohag.

ATP 204 – Multaqa – (Radwa Mohamed mosaad , Mahmoud Abdelraouf , Mai Ali , Dana Ekramy, Aya Ayman).

Brief: Nestled in the heart of Nile, this architectural venture seeks to redefine the cityscape with a focus on fostering community engagement and inclusivity. The design concept revolves around the seamless integration of internal and external spaces, offering a platform for people from all walks of life to converge and interact.

As a mediator, the building bridges societal gaps, encouraging dialogue among different classes. A central square welcomes individuals of all ages, fostering communication, creativity, and community bonds. Positioned strategically along the Nile, the structure provides panoramic views, with terraced architecture promoting gatherings and engagement.

Cultural activities take center stage within this building, serving as a hub for exhibitions, performances, and gatherings. The intention is to dismantle barriers and fears between different cultural levels, facilitating interaction in a neutral and inclusive environment. In a city where the organization of buildings often succumbs to chaos, this architectural endeavor adapts to the unique characteristics of Sohag, contributing a sense of order and purpose.

All of Sohag’s residents find a place in this architectural narrative, symbolizing cultural enrichment and community building. The building connects people to each other, fostering unity and shared identity in the heart of the city

ATP 182 – PLARCHFORM – (Nikos Dikas, Afroditi Antoniou, Giorgos Drosos, Alexis Koulouras, Giorgos Rafail Theodoridis).

Brief: The Vessel: for the cultural content and the social flow of Sohag

 Our proposal approaches the design of the new culture building as part of a wider transformation of Sohag city. Sohag Governorate and Upper Egypt. Our vision is strongly linked to providing a new space for the people of Sohag for the enjoyment and production of culture and for the overall prosperity. This multipurpose space includes a great variety of uses: Traditional and folk culture, contemporary creative art, craftsmanship and making practices, theater, music and dancing, gastronomy and street food culture, education and long life learning, library, entertainment and leisure. All creative flows and social content are hosted in The Vessel. A building that interacts with the actual flows of the life-giving Nile river, but also includes the content of contemporary social and cultural life of Sohag. Its architectural core is defined by the flows of people, the flows of ideas, the flows of emotions. The competition area on the south edge of Qaraman island is designed as a new green park. For the implementation of the park, on top of the existing flat sandy plot, a new mild topography is created. The top of this new terrain is located at the footprint spot of the new building and it slowly slopes to the river side. On this new topography and as part of its new totality, the building is created. Organized in three distinctive parts section wise: i) the lower base part (the Base), ii) the upper part (the Prism) and iii) the flying-like sunshade (the Floating Canopy). The building is designed as a ceramic wrap that includes the culture center. Local raw materials, local production and the great tradition of ceramics in the Nile area are linked to this decision. Main element of the external shell is the ventilated translucent facade with ceramic louvers and insulated glass panels. The facade is designed as a mechanism of a free relationship between the environment, the new park, the river, the cityscape and the interior life. The whole building, from the Base to the upper levels, is organized around a large courtyard void, the Atrium. A typology which is familiar in Egypt from ancient times to traditional rural architecture, adapting to the local climate and providing cooling, natural ventilation, natural light and inner views. Both new landscape and green space is strongly linked to the building in a balanced and harmonic way. The new Qaraman park is a relaxing landscape with local trees and flora, designed as a destination for everyone.

ATP 194 – The Neighbours – (Sema Salah, Ro’a Juabeh, Yara Barghouthy, Hussein Awawdah).

Brief: Enhancing the river`s ability to saturate the complex with vitality and gatherings is essential besides allowing the boats` owners to trade within the center.

Also, providing spaces that will add to women and the illiterate in changing their standard of living in a place similar to them culturally and spatially.

We will announce the final list at our annual ceremony in March 2024 and also will send the invitations to the winners by the end of Feb 2024.


An open gallery for all submissions who participated in the (Architecture of the Place) competition will be held in our ceremony.