To advance an initiative aimed at educating Western architects
about materials appropriate for Middle Eastern hospital construction,
an Egyptian architecture professor visited Texas A&M in the
summer of 2003 to research materials used in U.S. hospital construction.
While serving Texas A&M’s College of Architecture as
a visiting professor, Ahmed Hussein Sherif, associate professor
in the Department of Construction Engineering at the American
University in Cairo, researched factors influencing the choice
of materials used in operating room construction. Additionally,
Sheriff evaluated the characteristics of the materials in terms
of durability, ease of cleaning, cost, comfort, appearance and
A partner and principal architect of Shafie-Sherif Architects
in Cairo, the professor has designed many health care facilities
across the Middle East region and is the author of several architectural
publications. He hopes his research will aid in the design of
future hospitals in the Middle East.
“In Egypt, we use many reference materials to select the
most suitable finishes for hospitals,” Sherif said. “But
most references are tailored to the western culture. They do not
reflect the way we live and practice in our country.”
Sherif’s research project was two-fold, consisting of an
evaluation of the hospital construction materials used in the
United States and their performance as compared to those used
in Egypt. The two sets of data will then be evaluated under varying
“Many architecture firms now work across the globe,”
Sherif said. “Firms coming from all over are experimenting
on our buildings. They build things according to their way of
life, rather than the life of the people of the Arab countries.”
Sherif says his research will help firms get a better grasp on
the Middle Eastern culture and the materials needed in that region.
He also said aside from the benefit to the people of Egypt, the
College of Architecture will also benefit from seeing differences
in hospital design in developing countries.
Sherif earned a bachelor of science in architecture and a master’s
in architectural engineering from Cairo University in Egypt. He
completed a doctorate in architecture at the University of Michigan
in 1988. He is an associate member of the American Institute of
Architects and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Sherif said the results of his research will be made available
to facility planners and architects in a number of regions.