Alexandria - The former SGPD (far right) and its adjoining warehouse block with their bare functionalist architectural expression. The building was renamed to Miṣr Cotton Press post-nationalization. View north. © Damir, 2019.
Sites of Modern Industrial Heritage in Egypt and Iran

Local, National, and International Relevance for Conservation and Reuse





Industrial heritage, international exchange, modern era, Iran, Egypt


The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have only recently discovered their modern industrial heritage as an object of conservation and future development. Through an in-depth analysis of four industrial sites in Egypt and Iran, testifying to a designated modern era, this article documents the complex historical process of industrialization and its political and economic background. Building on fieldwork, archive studies, workshops, and interviews, the article explores how built structures of modern industrial sites signify the multi-facetted, symbiotic, and exploitative international exchange behind the modernization of economies in the region. In the face of many obstacles to the conservation of this heritage, ranging from incomplete listings and ineffectual policies to high development pressures on urban land, this article aims to transcend the current Eurocentrism in industrial heritage research and practice, and encourage regional claims on this significant heritage.

How to Cite

Damir, M., Oevermann, H., Meyer, M., Mahdavinejad, M., & Elmouelhi, H. (2024). Sites of Modern Industrial Heritage in Egypt and Iran: Local, National, and International Relevance for Conservation and Reuse. Docomomo Journal, (71), 4–12.




Author Biographies

Mirhan Damir, Alexandria University

is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University in Egypt. She holds a doctorate from Bauhaus Universtät Weimar. She is also a board member of TICCIH (The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage) and the co-leader of the TICCIH Communication Commission. Damir is experienced in research, teaching, and coaching in academic and governmental institutions in her home country, Egypt, and abroad. She has experience in the inventory and transnational valuation of heritage, especially in Egypt, with the wider lens between the MENA region and the West.

Heike Oevermann, TU Wien

is Professor for Heritage Conservation and Architecture in Existing Fabric (Denkmalpflege und Bauen im Bestand) at the TU Vienna. She holds a doctorate from the TU Berlin and was habilitated at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. She worked as an Interim Professor at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg (2021-2022) and is a Guest Professor at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Her research focus is the heritage of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on urban transformation, industrial places, and housing.

Martin Meyer, HTW Berlin - University of Applied Sciences

is a PhD-researcher at TU Berlin and is currently acting Head of Faculty 2 Administration at HTW Berlin. Having worked with Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading in South Africa; the German Development Cooperation’s Land Use and Settlement Program in Lesotho; and at the Building, Road, Housing & Urban Development Research Centre in Iran, he is passionate about international urbanism and the global exchange of knowledge and practical experiences. His research focuses on housing provision in Iran, theories of urban modernity and modern industrial heritage in the Global South, as well as participatory urban governance and planning processes.

Mohammadjavad Mahdavinejad, University of Nizwa

is an architect by education and is also interested in the sci-tech approach toward architectural design. He was Professor of Faculty of Art and Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran, founding member of TICCIH-Iran and is an active member of Docomomo-Iran. He established MHFL – Modern Heritage and Future Legacy Research Hub at Tarbiat Modares University to study how modern aesthetics, values, and technology left their footprint on modern movement monuments in general and the shared heritage of Iran and Germany in particular. After a successful career in Iran, he now serves as a professor at the College of Engineering and Architecture, University of Nizwa, Oman.

Hassan Elmouelhi, Technische Universität Berlin

is an architect and urban planner by training. He is a senior researcher, post-doc and project leader at the Department of Urban Development and the Department of International Urbanism and Design-Habitat unit at the Berlin Technical University. He also currently acts as the leader of the “Urban Living Lab” at the Arab Urban Development Institute. He holds a doctorate from the TU Berlin. His academic interests in international urbanism include: culture and urban informality in relation to aspects of urban development and governance in the global South with special focus on Arab/MENA region.


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