Teela Residences in northern Egypt was inspired by the local textile industry
Barcelona-based architecture studio Vilalta Architects recently completed the design for a new residential project in El Mahalla, Egypt. Called Teela Residences, the complex is a mixed-use building that also features commercial and retail programming.
Drawing inspiration from the traditional architecture and culture of the surrounding city, the development negotiates two irregular pre-existing sites with two mixed-use blocks that are connected by a series of roof bridges that feature photovoltaic solar panels that help generate electricity for the common areas and commercial spaces of the development.
“The site of the project is divided into two separate plots,” said Xavier Vilalta, director of the studio. “One of the main challenges was to design a project that would combine both and make it become one single architecture project. The patio proportions relate to the size of the street which separates both blocks and makes the whole volume composed of three residential blocks that are connected by the roof bridges.”
According to Vilalta, roof bridges are an architectural element used across Egypt and can especially be found in Cairo. His favourite examples are the structures on Al Moez Street, or the tentmakers’ street. He added that the lack of community space near the project site further informed the roof bridges, with shared social zones, like swimming pools, a kindergarten and open-air gym, placed throughout.
Inspired by El Mahalla’s dynamic industrial history as the centre of Egyptian textile production, the mashrabiya-patterned façade controls lighting conditions of the interior while also ensuring the privacy of the building’s residents.
“We wanted to incorporate ideas about the textile industry since it’s a part of the local culture of the city. Most of the residents work in textile, and our clients did too,” said Vilalta.
Planning for project completion within two years, the architects worked with local engineers that were part of the design team during conception. Vilalta added, “We communicate with them on a daily basis to bring the project together combining our international experience with their local knowledge.
“I believe the building will have good social impact on the community living in it, as well as the city of El Mahalla. It will also promote the use of local materials, such as bricks, wood and green technologies like photovoltaic solar panels.