Raise the Roof
One ingenious new start-up we ran into at the Rise Up Summit aims to maximise space, reduce energy usage and increase enjoyment by developing unused rooftop space. We talk to the founder of Rooftops Egypt to find out more...
Egypt has an undisputable abundance of two things: people and roofs. And for some reason, up until now, the two very rarely collide unless we’re talking lavish pool parties or revolution-time snipers. One company we bumped into at last week's Rise Up Summit, however, is reaching for the skies, quite literally, with an ingenious initiative that would solve some of the city’s problems of over-population, and also encourage a greener way of life. Rooftops Egypt, founded by Mahmoud Fiky, came to life just one month ago offering up design, furnishing and construction services for people's roofs, meaning that dream project of turning your rooftop into a pool area, play area, barbeque garden or BDSM chamber is just a survey away.
“The ugly rooftops you see from the plane flying over Cairo have always got me thinking,” Fiky told us about his light bulb moment. “Then, with the increasingly crippling traffic, I began to look for a closer gym or cafe to meet my friends. Then it hit me that I have to find or invent a space to install these utilities. Roofs were an ideal place as they are close by, secure and not used! So I came up with a few solutions to get rid of the rubbish and prepare the 'new' space for whatever utility the tenants want.” Fiky then went on to partner up with a team of Egypt’s prominent architects, gardening and solar solution companies, security systems experts and furniture vendors to construct these new skyline havens from A to Z, designed to fit any budget.
We know some of you must be thinking Omm Samah on the third floor isn’t going to like this and el ostaz on the 10th floor uses the roof to breed street cats, but Fiky hopes that Rooftops Egypt will be able to “bring Egyptians together to agree on ONE project that would benefit the building or neighbourhood. We want to unite everyone.” Some of you may also be thinking that el 7ay will come and shut down the operation before you can say "rootop gazebo" but, as Fiky explained to us, you only need a permit or planning permission if you want to build on more than 25% of the roof. Any skeletal structures, gardens, pools or landscaping do not need a permit.
And what you can do with your roof with Rooftops Egypt is pretty open. “The sky is your limit. Apart from the pools, gyms, playgrounds, gardens, barbecues, lounges and pergolas, you can put a library, cinema, football field, boutiques, cross fit space, art exhibitions, mini golf, hostel or even an event space for weddings or parties.”
Another great aspect of the business is that they are also offering solar energy solutions for buildings from solar powered generators to water heaters or air conditioners, in order to go green and save energy. “Egyptians care about investments with immediate and long-term return. Having solar energy might be expensive right now but it gets cheaper every year.”
So we’re off to design our rooftop amusement park powered by the sun with a jacuzzi centerpiece that doubles as a skate park. To inquire about what you can do for your roof check out Rooftops Egypt on Facebook or visit their website www.rooftopsegypt.com.