Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Illicit Scripts: An Architecture that encapsulates the writers of the unwritten chapters

posted on 2024-06-10, 02:40 authored by Helmy, Nervan

With recent political unrest in Egypt and the election of a new president, the Egyptian people came close to having a radical Islam believer, purportedly affiliated to the radicalist group known as ISIS, as the leader of a nation that so far has remained secular. The fear shared by a great part of the Egyptian population is if Radical Islam did become the foremost power of the nation, a non-secular dictatorship becoming the new decree, causing a transformation in class, tradition and culture, and creating segregation within the believers and non-believers. The resistance becomes the outcast, living in poverty and forced into hard labour. In such a hypothetical, but not unimaginable situation, how might the oppressed survive and live comfortably with only the aid of their own community, without support of society and Government?

This thesis explores an underworld of ghettos and forced segregation settlements in order to propose a utopian alternative within a dystopian scenario and investigates how Interior Architecture might manipulate space and create comfortable and secure atmosphere within the confines of an abandoned building.

Theorist Michel Foucault and his book on “Discipline and Punish” will help guide the design research in relation to authority and actions against the unlawful. Looking at the panopticon also reviewed by Foucault, will provide a better understanding of how Interior Architecture can influence the environment.

The selected site, Bibliotheque Alexandria, was chosen for its history and the likely destruction under a non-secular radical regime. In a radical authoritarian regime, it is conceivable that restriction of knowledge would be the first act of power, following so many examples throughout history. With the abolition of the library, the building will become abandoned and provide the space for a segregated community to occupy. The thesis aim is to achieve a micro ecosystem within the architectural shell as to provide for the community and its inhabitants. Using Interior Architecture to develop a design which would enable this new lifestyle of the oppressed people of Alexandria through the use of materiality, modular systems as well as the traditional skill set within Egypt.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

870304 Stone, Ceramics and Clay Materials; 870204 Residential Construction Design; 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Abreu e Lima, Daniele