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Taking its cue from ancient Egyptian stonework, the thoroughly modern Stone Towers development is a contemporary retelling of traditional iconography

Modern wonder

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For centuries the architectural wonders of Egypt have captivated the world's imagination. Vast stone structures rising above the landscape have elicited awe and incredulity from all who have seen them.

It was from this rich history that renowned deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid drew inspiration for the design of Stone Towers.

"I have always been fascinated by the mathematics and arts of the Arab world," says Hadid. "In our office we have always researched the formal concepts of geometry – which relates a great deal to the region's art traditions and sciences. This research has informed the design for Stone Towers.

The 525,000m2 mixed-use development comprises office, retail and hotel facilities across two distinctly different groupings of buildings – each overlooking the central landscaped region, known as the Delta.

To the north of the Delta, the buildings form a gradual S-curve, each following a similar set of rules, yet each entirely unique. Each of the 18 buildings is one of a pair connected by an all-glass, full-height atrium.

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The buildings on the southern edge feature a progressively more pronounced cantilevered facade. Lower than their counterparts, these buildings also successively angle away from the Delta.

Linking these two distinct groupings is the treatment given to their facades. Alternating protrusions, recesses and voids reference the intricate patterns and hieroglyphs recognised the world over.

"Egyptian stonework displays a vast array of patterns and textures that, when illuminated by the intense sunlight of the region, creates animated displays of light and shadow. The effect is powerful, direct and inspiring," says Hadid.

First published date: 03 December 2009

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