Following the official groundbreaking of “Campus 2026” at The American University in Cairo (AUC), DLR Group has unveiled its design for the project’s extended education hub and student living and learning spaces, which will enhance the physical campus and support AUC’s mission to provide top-tier education and research. Poised to revolutionise higher education in Egypt and beyond, the AUC campus expansion project integrates sustainable, state-of-the-art elements while preserving the character and integrity of the New Cairo campus. With a liberal arts education focus and a diverse faculty and student body, AUC delivers an internationally competitive education that nurtures diversity of perspectives.

Leveraging inclusive design strategies, DLR Group designed spaces that empower students to form new communities and develop interdisciplinary mindsets, thus equipping them with the requisite interpersonal skills and tools to achieve success in their careers. “Our design for two new buildings within the expanded AUC campus footprint fosters curiosity and innovative thinking within a cross-cultural environment,” said DLR Group Senior Principal and Global Higher Education Leader,
Stu Rothenberger, AIA, LEED AP. “Integrating sustainable design principles and supporting a stimulating learning environment that extends beyond the four walls of the classroom, this project will have a significant impact on the region and continue AUC’s inspiring legacy of elevating higher education in the world.” NextGen Student Living and Learning Spaces Spanning a total area of 123,795 SF, the NextGen Student Living and Learning Spaces accommodate 300 beds and programming that energises student life.

Illustrative of DLR Group’s integrated design expertise, the architecture, interior design, and programming combine to create a welcoming environment that accommodates the diverse profiles and needs of the student population while facilitating knowledge-sharing and social interaction. The design adds a cultural exchange dimension to the housing environment through kitchens where students can cook and interact. Cafes, co-working rooms, prayer rooms, music rooms, and more foster community engagement and identity development. Residential interiors provide a warm, comforting, yet neutral palette where student furnishings, rugs or art can become expressions of personal identity. Extended Education Hub Inspired by the street bazaars and narrow alleys that open to larger unexpected social spaces in Cairo, the Extended Education Hub delivers curriculum for learners of all ages, university students, and professionals seeking to enhance their skills. DLR Group envisioned the new 147,000 SF facility as a connector between the campus and community, with a unique program mix that accommodates a range of interests and people of varying demographics, whether attending English as a Second Language (ESL) courses or pursuing executive education from the Schools of Business, Global Affairs, Public Policy, Sciences and Engineering.

The design includes a 450-seat auditorium that will draw university students together with members of the community, and rooftop gardens that act as social connectors between groups. Showcasing materials carefully selected for their contextual relevance, such as limestone and sandstone, the adaptable interior and exterior learning environments are organised around two courtyards and streetscapes. Integrating courtyards and landscaped pathways to link buildings, and trellises and canopies to provide shade and outdoor learning opportunities, DLR Group built upon the original New Cairo campus master plan and considered how the two new buildings would relate to the existing surroundings, where pathways of shade and natural ventilation are common.

With a sustainable design approach, the firm created comfortable interior and exterior environments by leveraging varied types of scrims and trellises at different scales, internal courtyards, and evaporative cooling techniques such as a reflecting pool that allows for breezes. The recent groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of a multi-phase construction plan, with the first phase – encompassing the NextGen Learning and Living Spaces and Extended Learning Hub by DLR Group and a Technology, Research, and Innovation Lab designed by LEGORETTA®– slated for completion by the end of 2026.