About the Talk

CLUSTER's (Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research) mapping initiative (clustermappinginitiative.org) includes online platforms for resource sharing and frameworks for critical interventions and urban regeneration. In Cairo, CLUSTER's projects map and archive heritage sites, creative initiatives, and networks of passageways and rooftops as sites for potential development in Downtown. In this presentation, CLUSTER presents their mapping initiative platforms and projects that map and archive the changing political and urban landscape in Cairo, and offer a preview of their collaborative mapping projects in Amman, done in collaboration with Studio-X Amman and Columbia University's Center for Spatial Research.


CLUSTER — Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research — was founded in 2011 in downtown Cairo, as a platform for urban research, architecture, art, and design initiatives. CLUSTER engages critical theorization while being grounded in professional practice, with an emphasis on participatory design processes. CLUSTER co-founders and principals Omar Nagati and Beth Stryker are authors of Archiving the City in Flux: Cairo's Shifting Urban Landscape Since the January 25th Revolution, editors of Creative Cities: Re-framing Downtown Cairo, and co-editors with Magda Mostafa of Learning from Cairo: Global Perspectives and Future Visions.

Nagati is a graduate of Cairo University; he studied and taught at the University of British Columbia and University of California, Berkeley, with a specific focus on informal urbanism. In Cairo he has taught architecture and urban design studios at Mansoura University the Modern Sciences and Arts University and Cairo University, and is currently appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield.

Stryker received her B.A from Columbia University, and her M.Arch from Princeton University. She has curated exhibitions and programs for the Ramallah Municipality, D-CAF, Beirut Art Center, the Center for Architecture in New York (where she held the position of Director of Programs), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, among other venues. She was a visiting Research Professor at SUNY Purchase from 2013-2015. 

CLUSTER has received critical recognition for its work, including recognition by the Curry Stone Design Prize (2014) and inclusion in the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, representing Egypt (2016).

Ali As’ad is an architect by trade and researcher by design. He has collaborated with design studios in India, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the United Kingdom since graduating from the University of Brighton in 2007 and from the Architectural Association in London in 2012. He has had numerous affiliations with academic and art institutions, has experience in design and research management, academic tutelage and curatorial/ exhibition practice. His collaborations have been featured at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale, the World Architecture Festival in Singapore, the Chicago Athenaeum, and more recently at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017. Ali is the Research Lead and Project Manager based in Amman for the CLUSTER mapping initiative collaboration with Studio-X Amman and the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University.

01 Cluster
Zain Cultural Plaza - Al Hussein Cultural Center
Ras El Ain