Since the early 1990s, the Egyptian architect has been developing a praxis rooted in the “idea” of architecture, at the crossroads of several disciplines, and fuelled by the thinking of the philosopher Henri Bergson. Seen above all as a spiritual exercise removed from the act of constructing, his architecture remains open and available to any kind of potential—metaphorical, symbolic, and topological. His projects give rise to forms which create a state of crisis in Cartesian space, in accordance with the basic principles of the “State in the making” and “flows”. Naga draws inspiration from the site of the work and its perception, and plays with feelings of instability and vulnerability, balance and dynamism. For the Scandars Residence (Cairo, 1996-97), he created different sections of interaction with the physical and phenomenological dimensions of the terrain, somewhere between desert and urbanized hills. An identity-related bipolarity also emanates from the architect’s work, whose activities are shared between the United States and Egypt, but without tipping over into any vernacular tradition. This tension is to be found in particular in the temporary show Requiem (American University of Cairo, 2001-02), devised as a tribute to both the victims of the World Trade Center attacks and the Intifada.
A graduate of Ain Shams University in Cairo (1975), Tarek Naga (1953, Cairo) emigrated to the United States in 1979. He obtained a PhD in 1985 at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) with a thesis on the relations between
avant-garde movements and socio-cultural phenomena. In 1991 he created his own agency in Venice (California). In 2000, he was invite to create the Egyptian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Today, the agency is in charge of ambitious urbanistic and architectural projects in Egypt (Le Plateau des pyramides de Gizeh, 2007—work in progress) and abroad (Oqyana Center First, Dubai, 2006-2008).