Naoum Shebib
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The Al-Ahram building, 1968

Al-Ahram globalThe board of Directors of Al-Ahram, one of the most important newspapers in the Arab world, selected Naoum Shebib as architect and structural engineer, to construct a new building adjacent to the one already in place on Al Cairo-Galaa Street. Given the complexity of the project, the project took about 6 years, from 1962 to 1968. It should be noted that during construction the newspaper continued to be printed without interruption.

Description

This imposing building occupies an area of 30,000 square meters (323,000 square feet). While the former one-story building included only rotary printing-presses, the new 12-story building united all departments under one roof: management, administration, writing, printing and distribution.

The administrative departments consisted of the accounting department (with the country's first computers), the advertising department and management.

Meeting roomThe editorial departments included the newsroom hall, offices, photography workshops and the telex and radio room.

The printing departments included linotype workshops, zincography rooms, space dedicated to page layout, rotary printing-presses and mechanical packaging areas.

This building also housed public areas: conference rooms, display rooms, a restaurant and reception suites. The building structure consists of four separate volumes each with its distinctive shape, size, materials and their fenestration. These volumes create a beautiful architectural continuity in which curved and straight lines intermingle harmoniously. On the main façade, a vast luminous windowed hall contrasts with a long granite wall.

With its modern style, the building admirably complied with all of this high class newspaper's space needs. The interior layout is comfortable and welcoming with its sleek and attractive circular staircase.

Construction

Due to his broad construction expertise and entrepreneurial skills, Naoum Shebib supervised this project worth 5 million U.S. dollars in 1968.

According to Al-Ahram *, after the new building's inauguration in 1968, the site attracted from around the world visitors eager to see one of the finest and most modern press buildings of the time.

The newspaper quotes Mounir Nasser, professor of journalism, from his book Press, Politics and Power (University of Iowa, 1979) as follows:

"Al-Ahram is not just a great building, but a complex media compound. It includes the most sophisticated printing-presses, the first computing devices and the first British assembly machines. [...] "

* Source: http://hebdo.ahram.org.eg/arab/ahram/2009/3/18/opip1.htm