Rancho Compound
An oasis in the desert, an exclusive residential complex that offers an alternative to the density of Cairo; spacious villas each surrounded by approximately 2 feddans (the equivalent of 8.400m²) of gently undulating gardens and cultivable land. Traffic and other circulation are separated for comfort and safety; roads are minimised to maximise green areas and to increase plot sizes.
Egypt - Cairo // Urban planning + residential // 1.069.104m² plot, 49.292m² built // Climate: arid, hot desert climate
More units, less cost
More greenery, more space, less noise, less contamination. The smart design of the inner roads following the terrain’s natural topography reduces significantly the construction and maintenance costs, while allowing a total number of 91 units, instead of 85 as the previous project, and larger plots.
Stretching from the commercial zone along the Cairo-Alexandria Road front, to the other extreme of the site, a generous pedestrian route provides a sustainable circulation route, punctuated by banks shaded by trees, as well as a community space where residents can associate, socialise, relax, and practice sport. The villas are sited within a comfortable proximity to this tranquil green way, while the agricultural and horticultural land serves to separate the houses from the road. A long undulating roof shades a promenade occupied by exclusive shop and restaurant pavilions. Water recycling is centralised in an area of wetlands and ponds.

These strips serve as transition zones, to elevate the privacy and security of the residential zones. The commercial strip is the interface between public and residents, and by occupying the complete length of the busy Cairo-Alexandria Desert Motorway acts as a sight and sound barrier for the residential area, while at the same time offering maximum public presence to the commercial centre. This 630 metre long frontage is dominated by the two long undulating pergolas that shade the boutique pavilions underneath. The pergolas are tensile frames clad with translucent Kevlar. All the commercial units are individual, undulating forms, therefore all façades are free, maximising shop window display and allowing a great flexibility in the interior distribution. Furthermore the façades are of flush finished glass, further breaking down the division between interior and exterior.

At the centre of the commercial zone is a exhibition and functions space. Also at the centre but behind this space towards the residential zone is a courtyard formed between the two curved pergolas; here is a food and performance court, an outdoor space normally occupied with terrace seating for the surrounding restaurants, but also adaptable as a space for outdoor performances, exhibitions or markets. There is a continuous file of car parks in front of the boutique strip, with a respectable separation of public space dotted and sliced with fine fountains and water canals. At the centre is a VIP valet parking service, with car wash. At the two ends of this commercial strip are two singular buildings. A mosque is located at the northern extreme, with an internal courtyard and surrounded by gardens and space for people to gather. At the southern end is a delicatessen of local, imported and organic goods, specialising in the produce cultivated on the feddans of the Rancho properties. Just as in the case of the commercial strip, these two buildings have car parking located directly in front, can be seen from the road, and form a separation between the motorway and the countryside of the private residences.

In the strip where power lines cross the site a wetlands green area is created, dedicated to the reuse of water. This area is divided into two water zones: the higher one is a swamp to collect rain water whenever possible. The second one collects accumulated grey water in order to naturally treat it for reuse in irrigation purposes.
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