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Study on the visual performance of a traditional residential neighborhood in old Cairo

conference contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Almaiyah, Hisham Elkadi
Traditional dwellings located in the hot arid zones of the Arabian regions are well known for their sensitive architectural response to the region’s climatic conditions and socio-cultural norms. The majority of these dwellings are well recognized for their courtyard arrangement and perforated fenestration system that evolved to control the harsh solar, climatic conditions without compromising the aesthetic quality of space and occupants’ wellbeing. However, the unique visual characteristics of these structures cannot be fully appreciated by assessing the visual performance of buildings in isolation from their urban context. Given the fact that much of the character of the traditional settlements of this region came from the collective visual perception of their architectural components as well as urban patterns. This paper presents a methodology that can be used to assess daylight behaviour at an architectural level as well as at an urban scale. The work examines the daylight behaviour of a well-known historic alleyway and of a courtyard house in the old city of Cairo. The variability in the visual perception and comfort for a typical pedestrian street and the occupants of the house was predicted using Radiance IES simulation modelling tool and a scaled model under an artificial sky dome. A comparative analysis between simulated results and measured values at target points was conducted and the results reveal a reasonable agreement with the simulation results. Preliminary results from the first phase of modelling were presented that give an insight into the overall visual experience in the traditional settlements in the Old City of Cairo where daylight has contributed to the place unique sense of identity.



Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia International Conference : Architecture @ the Edge (2011 : Geelong, Vic.)


82 - 92


Deakin University, School of Architecture & Building


Geelong, Vic.

Place of publication

Geelong, Vic.

Start date


End date







Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2011, Sura Almaiyah and Hisham Elkadi


H Elkadi, L Xu, J Coulson

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia

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