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Townhouse gallery’s downtown HQ partially collapses

Townhouse gallery’s main building on Nabrawy Street in downtown Cairo partially collapsed on Wednesday morning, but no one was hurt.

The side of the building that collapsed this morning housed the Townhouse Library, which was recently renovated, the new first-floor gallery extension and some offices, according to artist and Townhouse residency program coordinator Ayman Ramadan.

Townhouse’s staff had started seeing ceiling cracks and rubble dropping in the first-floor space some days ago, according to Ramadan, and had commissioned an appraisal from a private architect on the damage. Staff evacuated the building a few days ago.

He added that there was meant to be a meeting with engineers from the muncipality as well as shops and residents in the building to see how they could contribute financially to fixing the problem.

The former residential building was constructed in the 1890s and is five stories high.

The collapse comes less than two months after the gallery re-opened in February. It had been forced to close following a surprise visit by the West Cairo Municipality, the Ministry of Manpower, the Tax Authority and the Office of Artistic Products Police Department in December.

Townhouse is one of the oldest non-profit contemporary art galleries in Cairo, and has been operating since 1998. It acted as a catalyst for the non-state-affiliated contemporary art scene and participated in setting up some landmark art events in Cairo, such as Nitaq (2000-2001) and PhotoCairo.

Last year it opened a new branch in a private residential compound in the upscale suburb of Sheikh Zayed, which continues to operate.

Correction: This article was updated on April 9 to reflect the fact that Cairo Hacker Space was not immediately affected by the partial collapse. Ayman Ramadan and Cairo Hacker Space founder Tarek Omar initially thought that Cairo Hacker Space lost all of its equipment in the collapse, but this turned out to be due to a miscommunication just after the collapse.

Townhouse.jpg

Townhouse collapse

 

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