Urban Design and Harmony of Ramses Square

Ramses Square, a site of important historical and urban value, needed much development in order to meet modern urban and traffic conditions. To achieve this goal, the Egyptian Government decided to launch an international planning & urban design competition in order to find the best solution for the square in the light of the comprehensive planning vision for Cairo city centre. 


Keywords : Cultural rehabilitation

Competition results

First Prize

Second prize

Third prize

Theme and objectives

The aim of the competition was to produce an urban design plan of Ramses Square according to the wider, comprehensive vision for Cairo city centre. This was to be done after thorough analysis of the principal problems facing the district.

The proposed urban planning and design also needed to consider the negative impact of existing physical elements such as: 

  • The 6th of October flyover, constructed in the seventies, which infringed on the space of the square.
  • The new overhead pedestrian bridges constructed in the square that have not fulfilled their goal, as they were intended to facilitate pedestrian movement in all directions. Alternatives to these bridges had to be considered. 
  • Poor condition of parking provision in terms of location, capacity, entrances and exits.
  • Chaotic pedestrian movement all over the square. 
  • Increase of environmental pollution levels in the square, requiring the consideration of environmental aspects in proposals submitted by participants.

Applicants could also consider the rehabilitation of buildings, empty properties and open spaces in and around the square to achieve the best possible results. Hence, the study had to target the planning and design of the square, linking it to surrounding activities, spaces and streets. 

Key criteria

  • Achievement of the competition aims and consideration of the problems facing Cairo city centre.
  • Innovation.
  • Feasibility of execution.
  • Clarity of the scientific methodology behind the urban planning concept.
  • A successful relationship between traffic and pedestrians.

Jury Members

  • Prof. Dr. Abdallah Adbel Aziz, President, Egypt;
  • Prof. Dr. Abdel Mohsen Brada, Egypt;
  • Prof. Dr. Sameh El-Alaily, Egypt;
  • Alexandru Beldiman, UIA representative, Romania;
  • Prof. Diana Agrest, USA;
  • Axel Schultes, Germany;
  • Eliseo Arredondo, Mexico;
  • Prof. Claire Bailly, Alternate Member, France;
  • Prof. Dr. Soheir Zaki Hawas, Alternate Member, Egypt.


This competition was open to all architects and urban planners, either as individuals or in teams.


Competition closed. Results announced on August 2009