1907: Heliopolis Villa – Cairo, Egypt
Location: Cairo, Egypt
By: Alexandre Marcel
In 1905, Baron Empain purchased a large stretch of desert just outside of Cairo with plans to build a new suburb. This new city, Heliopolis, was designed to be a “city of luxury and leisure” with recreational activities, housing for rent and innovative design types for specific social classes. Construction on Baron Empain’s residence began in 1907 and French architect, Alexander Marcel was chosen for the project. The villa, which remains standing to this day, is an example of “early creative use of concrete”, on which is was entirely built. While the palace and the town have its own architectural style, the palace is reminiscent of a Hindu temple, with its collection of busts, statues, elephants and Buddha’s.