How did you get to work in architecture ?
I studied architecture in Cairo University. I worked with Shehab Mazhar for three years. I am very proud that I come from Shehab Mazhar's School. After that I left Shehab and start my own businss. I.El-Habrouk Architects
What made you start your own company ?
I started to get work for me personally so I could expand and grow, Thus I established my own office.
What did you want to do with architecture? Why did you choose architecture?
Architecture gives me the chance to create something and actually witness its progression and that generates a great feeling. You plan a project and you think about it, at first it's just a sketch and then you watch it grow step by step
What are your plans for your company ?
I aspire to have a big firm because being an architects makes me feel fulfilled. For instance, I am not concerned with owning a compound or a project as much as I'm concerned with building it I don't care about the material gain as much as I enjoy the feeling of achievement
Why do I have the feeling that all the young and old talented architects are heading towards "commercial" projects with building extravagant villas rather than housing projects for example ?
That's very true. During the boom of the real estate market a lot of architects worked on luxurious compounds but now architects are heading back towards development project and housing compounds. However at some point the market will be saturated and we will end up with more supply than demand. Whereas now the high demand is on housing projects and that's why everyone is heading back towards them as I mentioned earlier.
Charity work is something else. Building an orphanage. for example or offering your services for free is something I think every architects should do. I provided my services free of charge for building an orphanage and believe in a third world country like ours everyone should reach a hand to the unprivileged in any way they can .
"Architecture gives me the chance to create something and actually witness its progression and that generates a great feeling"–
What inspires your designs ? What is your style ?
The idea comes to me once I visit the site. I feel that what should be built there. The style that suits us the most in the modern Spanish and also the Mediterranean. We try to work a compromise between the Modern, Spanish and Mediterranean Style. We use them and modify some details in order to modernize the design . The Mexican style also works very well in Egypt. The warm colours, the wood and the vintage look, it's not luxurious or expensive but very comfortable Classic style has its admirers but a lot of details are involved and you have to focus on every minor details because it is very hard and you can do it everywhere. This site is very important, for example you cannot have a classic building on the the beach. When I see something like that it's really upsets me because I know it's wrong
Architecture and landscape are not only about the experience but mostly about the sense,taste and talent. Architects have to be updated and aware all the time.In Egypt this is not the case. So Egyptian architects come up with ideas that have been done numerous times. Also , there is no real good taste. They combine designs in a haphazard way and this is maybe because they haven't really seen a lot. Then try to impress but they end up doing wrong things
Architecturally speaking , what are your favourite designs in Cairo?
In Cairo's down town area. if you pass by at an early hour you will find yourself parking and wanting to go for a walk. it's as if you are in Paris. Also heliopolis is very well planned and love the Baron-Empain Palace, You can also find really good buildings in Zamalek
What countries do you think have good architecture ?
The United States of America, mainly because it is really big so they have a lot of diverse designs. Also Spain, whether it's Madrid,Barcelona or even Ibiza, you'll always find great architecture there
What are some of the common mistakes Egyptian Architects do?
They use all patterns of design at the same time so it becomes too much
What is the trend in designs these days ?
Most people tend to like the Mediterranean and the Spanish style . The trend now is to mix between architecture and landscape and integrate them. which makes the house even more comfortable
What is your advice to someone with a limited budget to create a nice apartment ?
I believe that money has nothing to do with creating a nice place. It is mainly about taste and creative ideas. If you have really good ideas. then you can make something good with very little money, 70% of it is not about the money
Sushi or steak ?
What is your favourite architect or someone you look up to in the field?
It Egypt, it's Shehab Mazhar and internationally it's Lord Norman Foster
What do you do in your free time?
I play sports , mainly water sports and I try to travel as much as I can
If you weren't an architect what would have you wanted to be?
I would have wanted to be a banker because I am good with numbers
What is your favourite place in Egypt
The place I love the most is an island in Hurghada caleld Abo Monkar
What makes you really angry?
An ugly building
What is your favourite book ?
What is your favourite type of music ?
I enjoy listening to oldies and chill-out music
What is the advise you would give a fresh graduate who wants to be an architect?
He or she has to be exposed to all the different styles and designs and has to be updated an see everything around them and notice how every building is built, because this considered the architect's library