The Association for the Protection of the Environment (A.P.E.) is a private voluntary organization registered in Egypt in 1984. Its headquarters are in the Manshiyet Nasser area of Cairo, Egypt and it has a committee in Tora and Kattameya, Cairo. The Association’s goals are both to improve living standards within Zabbaleen communities and to protect the environment through creation of a better understanding of the dynamics of household garbage collection in urban areas, and promotion of waste reduction, reuse and recycling initiatives.

Ukumbi and A.P.E. established collaboration in March 2010, with the support of the Finnish Embassy in Cairo, to design and construct a new Learning Centre for the Zabbaleen community in Mokattam, Cairo. The architecture of the new Learning Centre follows the traditional Egyptian way of using space. Green areas will be preserved as much as possible, including the trees on the site, to create a pleasant environment. The use of recycled materials is of priority, in order to create a model of what can be achieved by efficient and innovative recycling, and also to raise the level of self esteem among the Zabbaleen.

Renewable energies and solar heaters are included into the design, separated and neutralized gray waters will be used for irrigation. Natural local lime stone is preferred to burnt mud bricks due to minor energy consumption, new recycled materials invented by A.P.E. will be introduced in the building. The design aims to create a harmonious and comfortable environment, adapted to local conditions and needs. The architecture will develop in collaboration with its users, and make good use of the potential of A.P.E. and the Zabbaleen community.

Hollmen Reuter Sandman architects