The Public Dome Playground
The Public Dome Playground was conceived by Alya El Chiaty and Sama Waly as a mobile playground, intended to be easily constructed and reconstructed in different spaces around Cairo. Based on the premise that Cairo is a city primarily built for adults, the project uses up-cycled material to suggest creative solutions for children and adolescents to claim their right to play with and in the city.
In collaboration with Daan Dijkstra, two geodesic domes were constructed as the unifying component of the playground. A geodesic dome is a highly sustainable structure developed in the 1950s by the American architect Buckminster Fuller, and adopted by many communities around the world as cost-effective, mobile and temporary housing solutions.
The Geodesic dome was the safest and most effective structure to ensure both mobility of the playground and safety for its users. For the first stage of the project, the dome will be installed in a public garden in Heliopolis.
Inside the dome, Alya, Sama and Daan have designed playground components using materials collected from around the city — from local mechanics in Downtown to used metal warehouses in Sabteya. The domes hold swings and monkey bars and are mostly uncovered so as to invite those who dare to climb up, in the hope that the garden will grow on them and they will become part of the garden.
We hope for this to be the beginning of a series of geodesic domes, as we prepare to open endless possibilities for play and game around the city. The dome can be seen as a skeleton, which serves to remind us of the rights of the children that should be considered when planning a city.
In the following stage, a booklet will be produced as a manual on how to build a geodesic dome, as a means to expand the reach of the project further throughout the city.
Sama Waly, a researcher in cultural history in modern Egypt, artist and filmmaker, currently works between Chicago and Cairo. Since 2012, her work has been exhibited, screened, performed and published in Cairo and abroad. As her research explores the urban and cultural histories surrounding Cairo and her interest lies in the creation of spatial interruptions, she works in installation, performance, design and the moving image. Waly is currently pursuing her MFA in Film, Video, New Media and Animation at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
Alya El Chiaty is an architect based between London and Cairo. She studied art at the Sorbonne Design School and at the Ecole Perparatoire Penninghen in Paris and attained a Bachelor’s Degree from the Ecole Spéciale D'Architecture, Paris. Interested in pushing construction and manufacturing processes and learning from different disciplines, she joins design with production. Alya has worked in architecture, design and manufacturing firms in Cairo including Tasmimat and Ultra Design and is currently working on creating cheap housing by assembling materials through digital fabrication. Alya is pursuing her Master’s Degree at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. Her work has been featured in publications such as Frame and Courrier de L'Architecte.