‘Cairo Since 1900’ shortlisted for 2021 Peter Mackenzie Smith Book Prize

Mohamed Elshahed’s bestselling Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide (AUC Press, 2020) has been shortlisted for the British Egyptian Society’s 2021 Peter Mackenzie Smith Book Prize.

When Elshahed, curator, critic, and architectural historian who focuses on modernism in Egypt and the Arab world, heard the news, tweeted: “Long overdue thanks to @sabrykhaled for the gorgeous cover photo for Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide. Thanks to all the photographers in this book. It is not easy to work in Cairo, nearly everyone who worked on this was pulled into a police station just for doing their work.”

Meanwhile, in New York City, the exhibition that Elshahed curated, ‘Cairo Modern,’ is currently on at the Center for Architecture (AIANY), until 22 January 2022. The exhibition is an accompaniment to Cairo Since 1900, the first comprehensive survey of the city’s modern constructions, including 226 buildings in 17 geographic areas built from 1900 to the present.

‘Cairo Modern’ showcases works by Egyptian modernists from the 1920s to the 1970s, half a century of rich architectural production that complicate our present understanding of global modernism. The exhibition introduces audiences to key architects from the period such as Sayed Karim (pictured) as well as examples of their works commissioned by the state and the city’s burgeoning bourgeoisie. Modernism in Cairo reflected the aspirations of the new classes that formed after Egypt’s 1919 Revolution who embraced the Modernist house or apartment as the materialization of new notions of class, identity, and modernity.



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