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  • Writer's pictureDinaKhalil

Scratching Away Our Heritage

This documentation presents a group design project undertaken by yours truly, Dina Khalil and my sister, Maya Khalil, focusing on the alarming issue of the demolition of historical sites and buildings in Egypt.


The What

The project aims to raise awareness about the loss of significant cultural heritage due to the construction of malls and skyscrapers. Using a scratch and "win" approach, the project depicts the before and after images of these sites, emphasizing the irreversible loss of Egypt's history and its impact on society.


Egypt is renowned for its rich historical heritage, including ancient temples, pyramids, and architectural wonders. However, in recent years, there has been a concerning trend of demolishing historical sites and buildings to make way for modern developments. This project aims to shed light on this issue and highlight the significance of preserving Egypt's cultural heritage.


The Why

  • Raise awareness about the loss of Egypt's historical sites and buildings due to demolition.

  • Encourage empathy and emotional connection by engaging users in the discovery of what has been lost.

  • Promote dialogue and action towards the preservation of Egypt's cultural heritage.

The How

In the initial phase, friends and family were engaged to contribute before and after pictures of demolished historical sites and buildings. These images were carefully selected to showcase the architectural and cultural significance of the sites. The old pictures were scanned and digitally enhanced to improve clarity and quality. Scratch art was then created based on the modern buildings that have replaced the historical sites. The scratch art was overlaid on top of the old pictures, ensuring proper alignment and visibility. Different scratch art techniques and materials were tested to achieve an optimal user experience.


The core of the project consists of scratch and lose cards designed to showcase the before and after images of the demolished sites. The cards feature a layout where the modern building is visible on the surface, while the old picture is hidden underneath. The scratchable area covers the modern building, concealing the historical site. The cards also incorporate educational information, including the name and historical significance of each site.


Efforts are being made to gather more before and after pictures from various sources, including online archives, historical societies, and local communities. The authenticity and relevance of the collected pictures are carefully verified to ensure their accuracy and value. The aim is to expand the collection to include a wide range of historical sites and buildings across Egypt.


The Aftermath

The project has presented the initial four sets of scratch cards, and feedback has been gathered from participants who have engaged with them. The scratch and lose experience has elicited strong emotional responses and raised awareness about the irreversible loss of Egypt's cultural heritage. The design approach has effectively conveyed the message of heritage loss and sparked conversations about the need for preservation.


Future Plans

To further enhance the project, we will continue expanding the picture collection by collaborating with local heritage preservation organizations and seeking more authentic before and after pictures. We are planning to propose this project to and partner with educational institutions to incorporate the project into educational programs and initiatives.


Final Thoughts

Through the scratch and lose approach, this project successfully highlights the loss of Egypt's historical sites and buildings. By engaging users in uncovering what has been lost, the project fosters empathy and emphasizes the irreplaceable nature of the demolished heritage. The documentation provides an overview of the project's objectives, methodology, design process, and initial outcomes, highlighting the importance of preserving Egypt's cultural heritage for future generations.

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