Photographer: Åke E:son Lindman
Innergården på Sveriges ambassadanläggning i Kairo.
Cairo, Egypt. Embassy compound
The Embassy of Sweden in Cairo is located on a quiet, leafy street on the island of Gezira in the Nile. There are literally two sides to Nils Ahrbom's Embassy compound – a closed façade facing the street and an open east façade overlooking the Nile and the green garden
Imposing façade on island in the Nile
The Embassy of Sweden in Cairo lies in the diplomatic quarter of Zamalek on Gezira Island in the Nile. Designed by Nils Ahrbom and Hando Kask, the Embassy compound has a closed façade facing the street, but is more open on the side overlooking the Nile. This is common in North Africa and the Middle East, but there are also other reasons for the design. In the 1970s, war was a reality of life in Egypt and the threat to Cairo could not be ignored. The architect Nils Ahrbom was also concerned about what the strong sunlight from the south would do to the climate inside the Embassy building. The solution was a closed stone façade, a building for its time and cultural location.
Solar panels bring Swedish energy
In 2008, the National Property Board Sweden (SFV) installed solar panels on 250 m2 of the Embassy roof. The panels generate around 37,000 kWh per year, and the surplus is passed on to the Egyptian national grid. A meter on the Embassy shows visitors how much energy is produced, which will hopefully increase interest in this type of environmental measure.
Residence on the same plot
The residence runs parallel with the Embassy, with a paved courtyard separating the two buildings. With the Embassy and the residence so close to each other, there is an important need for privacy. The residence has a closed façade facing the chancery, but opens up onto the garden and the Nile. From the dining room and the large drawing room, glass doors lead out to the terrace and garden. A balcony with views of the Nile runs the length of the private apartment on the first floor.