ISLAND – CIRCA 1975
Gezira Island is positioned between the two east-west major thoroughfares, between the 6th of October and 15th
of May Bridges. The 26 hectare site sits at the base of the Cairo Tower and directly
across the Nile from the Nile Hilton. Initially developed via a State Gift of
Spain as Andalusian Gardens, the site had become derelict in the early 1950’s.
Island was conceived as an orientation destination for Cairo’s three million
tourists. It was designed as a jumping off place where the past, present and
future could be coalesced in such a manner that past glories and plans for tomorrow could be more easily comprehended.
In conjunction with Sheraton
Management Corporation two themed hotels (the RA and Osiris), containing 600 rooms each, would be built. Each would be themed to represent a different kingdom. They
would have small casinos which would be operated by Egyptian partners.
A government supported school
teaching the ancient arts and crafts of Egypt would train selected students from outlying villages. Their output, and that of surrounding workshops, would provide goods for an integrated bazaar along the
lines of the famous Khan Kahili Souk, which many foreigners are uncomfortable in visiting.
A smallish marble-clad pyramid
containing a tilt-screen projector and computer-controlled, planetarium, star ball projector served to orient visitors to
key destinations along the Nile. Tied to the heavens, the film presentation
chronicled Egypt’s evolution and dreams for the future.
A derelict open-air amphitheatre,
seating 500, would be revitalized, and present 350year-old, Egyptian Triumph Plays. As with the Sphinx presentation at the Pyramids, shows would be presented in a different
language on a specific schedule. The original Andalusian Gardens would be revitalized,
as would the Nile-side promenade, which had been closed to the public for many years.