Zaha Hadid's Cairo Expo City will destroy Egypt's largest and most important Mental Health Hospital

UPDATE Wed. Dec 29, 2010:The Supreme Council for Antiquities announced today that building housing the Abbaseyya Psychiatric Hospital will be listed as an Islamic heritage site.

UPDATE Mon. Apr 18, 2010:
The designs changed on Zaha's website to include the hospital. Thanks to Luiz for the tip.

Original post:

Award winning Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid will help the Egyptian government destroy Egypt's largest mental health hospital, the Abassia hospital situated in the middle of Cairo, to build something called Cairo Expo City.

Cairo Expo City

Opened in 1883, after a fire consumed a number of royal palaces except for one that was painted yellow and named the Yellow Palace (el-Saray el-Safra) it became Egypt's first modern hospital for the mentally ill.

Now it's in an area of 28 hectares and has around 3000 beds, offers almost all major psychiatric sub-specialities and an outpatient and emergency psychiatry services. The hospital serves around 60,000 patients each year.

Old street sign written on it 'the hospital of the deranged street'

A 210 year old map of Cairo on Google Earth

Bibliotheca Alexandrina is hosting an interesting site called Memory of Modern Egypt which contains scans of photographs, documents and maps from 1800 till now.

The stupid bouncers won't let Per in

UPDATE: Read Sarah's post she has more details.

Woke up this morning to learn from Twitter and text messages that early this morning at 2am, Per Björklund was stopped by the Cairo Airport security and wasn't allowed entrance to the country. He is to be deported back to Prague.


The architect Frank Lloyd Wright covered some of his buildings with patterned concrete blocks. He named these blocks "textile." May be because he took the concept from textile designers who use argyll, houndstooth or paisley to decorate your socks, jacket and tie.

Argyle socks

To me, I was thunderstruck to notice that a hospital in the middle of Cairo is covered with the same blocks – exactly the same blocks – that covered the building that was the living quarters of Harrison Ford in Blade Runner.

Air quality today

Today is probably the worst and the most polluted day ever. I have never seen Cairo so polluted, smoggy and with such a choking stench.