• Hassan Fathy was born in Egypt in 1899. He established a private
practice in Cairo where he also worked as professor of Fine Arts and
Head of the Architectural School, at the University of Cairo.
• An Egyptian architect who devoted himself to housing the poor in
• Fathy worked to create an indigenous environment at a minimal cost,
to improve the economy and the standard of living in rural areas.
• Fathy utilized ancient design methods and materials. He integrated a
knowledge of the rural Egyptian economic situation with a wide
knowledge of ancient architectural and town design techniques.
• He trained local inhabitants to make their own materials and build
their own buildings.
• Climatic conditions, public health considerations, and ancient craft
skills also affected his design decisions. Based on the structural
massing of ancient buildings, Fathy incorporated dense brick walls
and traditional courtyard forms to provide passive cooling.
• His work was considered to be ahead of his time as they were not
always welcomed by the government bureaucrats neither were they to
the tastes of poor Egyptians peasants who longed for the "luxury" of
the concrete city buildings. Fathy's buildings were distressingly
inexpensive. This was seen as a back draw.
3. •23 March 1899 Born in Alexandria, Egypt.
•1926-1930 :Worked at the Department of Municipal Affairs, Cairo.
•1930-1946 Taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo.
•1937 : Designed and exhibited first mud brick projects - country houses for
•1941 :Constructed first mud brick structures incorporating the inclined vault -
experimental housing in Bahtim, Egypt, commissioned by the Royal Society of
•1946-1953 :Delegated to the Antiquities Department to design and supervise the
project of New Gourna Village at Luxor, to displace the inhabitants of the Old
Gourna from the Antiquities Zone.
•1949-1952 :Appointed Director of the School Building Department, Ministry of
•1950 :Delegated Consultant to the United Nations Refugee World Assistance.
•1953-1957 :Returned to teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo. Head of the
Architectural Section in 1954.
•1957-1962 :Joined Doxiades Associates in Athens as consultant. Lecturer on
Climate and Architecture at the Athens Technical Institute. Member of the
Research Project for the City of the Future.
•1963-1965 :Director of Pilot Projects for Housing, Ministry of Scientific
Research, Cairo. Designed High Institute of Social Anthropology and Folk Art for
the Ministry of Culture, Cairo. Worked as Consultant to the Minister of Tourism,
Cairo. Delegated by the United Nations Organization for Rural Development
Project in Saudi Arabia.
•1966 :Lectured on philosophy and aesthetics in Town Planning and Architecture
Department at al-Azhar University.
•1975-1977 :Lectured on rural housing at the Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo
4. • Hassan Fathy died in 1989 but left behind a legacy of 160 building
projects ranging from small projects to large-scale communities
complete with mosques and schools.
• He designed and built superb villas of adobe and stone, but mainly he
grappled head-on with housing the poor. And he proposed elegant
solutions! His central concern was rural low-cost housing; he
organized residents to build cooperatively.
5. New Gourna
• New Gourna Project is one of his best known housing projects. This is due to
the international popularity of his book, "Architecture for the poor" published
originally in French, 20 years after the beginning of the project, in which he
explained his vision for the village. This book details his thoughts,
processes, dealings with the politics involved, and his theories behind the
• The idea was launched by the Egyptian department of Antiquities in 1946 to
build a new town near Luxor to relocate the inhabitants of the Gourna
• Building Type: multifamily housing, village
• Construction System: mud brick and adobe
• Climate: hot, arid
• Context: rural village
• Style: Modern
• His designs depended on natural ventilation, orientation and local materials,
traditional construction methods and energy- conservation techniques. He
went through detailed studies of temperature and wind patterns.
• Hassan Fathy did not believe that the locals should be housed in similar
homes. Each had different needs, tastes and comforts apart from the number
living in the house.
• Fathy worked with the villagers to tailor his designs to their needs with
6. • Fathy included an open air theatre, a school, a "Suq" (market) and a Mosque, famous
for the unusual shape of its minaret. He also built himself a house in the same spirit
of the village, using the same materials.
• The "Gourna Village experiment" was not just an architectural experiment. To
Hassan Fathy it was more like the development of a town on a cultural, social level
following the regional traditions. Relating to the people and knowing their needs
while asking them to participate in the construction of their town was a major part of
• The village was never completed. The locals did start moving into their new homes,
but eventually they did not settle down.
• The reluctance of the people to cooperate in the design and building of the village
was mistakenly understood as a sure sign of the inappropriateness the project.
Normally, the people resented the change and took every opportunity possible to
sabotage their new village in order to stay where they were and to continue their
own secret ancient trading.
7. • All what remains today of New Gourna is the mosque, market, a couple
of houses and Hassan Fathy's. Even the school was demolished and
rebuilt in modern materials. As for the rest of the houses, most of them
were rebuilt in a more "suitable" way according to the people's taste.
• In 1967, he had another trial similar to Gourna called the village of
Bariz in Kharga. It didn't prove to be a better success from the
previous because of funding problems.
10. ABD AL- RAHMAN NASSIF
• Location: saudi arabia
• Date: 1973
• Building type: residential
• The house was built with stone block recovered from
the demolition of the traditional tower houses in the old
city, which the client unsuccessfully tried to save.
• Rather than using the familiar dome over the majlis
here, he felt that an octagonal shukshieka would be
more regionally appropriate, and the use of this
particular element carries over into a larger house
designed in tabuk.
• The importance of the Nassif house comes mainly from
its early idealistic and innovative attempt to revive
Jeddah’s lost heritage at the time when it was invaded
by the modern office blocks and shopping malls which
necessitated the demolition of many of its historic
11. • The house consists of two storey with a double-height reception hall,
ten different rooms, service areas, internal courtyard with fountain and
open courtyard with garden pavilion on the first floor.
• The house featured Arabic Islamic elements including domes,
mashrabiyyahs (wooden lattice work), thick walls, enclosed patios and
fountains of marble.
INNER COURTYARD AND
ENTERANCE FROM THE
(wooden lattice work)
• Nassif house evoked the value of tradition at a time when the influence
of the International Style was widespread because of the oil boom of
• It also drew the attention of the people to their architectural heritage
and stimulated the realization that Jeddah was the only remaining
example of Red Sea architecture in Saudi Arabia.
12. AKIL SAMI HOUSE
• The cabin is located on Locus Lookout, on the crest of a hill, with
breezes from the south-west. It has been aligned in an east-west
orientation; deciduous trees protect the northern facade from direct
heat gain during the summer and allow the radiant heat to be captured
by the thermal mass properties of the limestone block from which it is
built, in the winter.
• The limestone also adds stability against the increased wind speeds
experienced at the summit of a hill. The bedroom is located on the
eastern facade to avoid the hot westerly sun when the users are trying
to go to sleep. This positioning also allows the clean, bright morning
light to filter in.
• The kitchen and dining room are north facing, so as to take in the view
while preparing and eating meals. The study and reflecting areas are
on the south, taking in diffused light for study and for a more peaceful
• Natural ventilation is key in the cabin and windows and openings are
positioned to allow the south-west wind to flow through the interior
spaces. An interior courtyard is also present to provide cooling and a
shaded outdoor space.
13. Numbered spaces for the floor
1. Interior courtyard
4. Reflecting space (covered
6. Dining room
SITE PLAN FLOOR PLAN
(wooden lattice work)
14. • There is very much a blending of design for human activities and the
environmental filter. Indeed the house is mostly designed towards
managing the cliimate but this is only for the benefit of the users so
that they may go about their activities in a much more pleasant and
• The arrangement of rooms and spaces is such that those areas which
are likely to be seen by guests and used by multiple people at once
(i.e. living room, dining room, etc) are grouped together near the
entrance to the house. the spaces are ordered in terms of privacy and
the further from the entrance to the house the less public the rooms;
therefore the bedrooms are at the furthest end of the house so that
these 'private' areas are not walked through or past by guests.
• In this manner, Fathy was aware of the needs and uses the house
would be put together and as such is designed to provide an ease of
function in everyday life. Such a pleasant and fluid atmosphere must,
subconsciously, improve the user's mental well being.
15. Hamed Said Studio
• The Hamid Said house in the al-Marg neighborhood of Cairo represents an
important project in the collection because it is the first documented
application of mud brick construction, and is still standing.
• The first phase, which was built in 1942, was simply a studio and sleeping
space for the artist and his wife, incorporating a large vaulted loggia as an
open exterior sitting area from which to appreciate the seemingly endless
green palm grove surrounding the property.
• The construction of the house coincided with a climate of concern among
Egypt's intellectual community at that time about the detrimental effects of
industrialization on the traditional cultures of the world and the need for a
search for Egyptian origins in the face of the threat.
• The second phase, which followed four years later, was equally sensitive in
accommodating the environment, having been organized in such a way as to
avoid several large trees on the site. A characteristically variegated and top-
lit gallery of a type that was continuously refined by Fathy in subsequent
designs serves as a transitional element between the first and second
phases of the house, yielding framed views into a central courtyard which is
the client's reward for allowing the trees to remain.
17. The Nile Festival Village Project
• The Nile Festival Village Project was intended to be sited on
the Tarh el-Bahr Island in the middle of the river near Luxor.
• Moving through three distinct permutations during a six-year
period, each of the schemes are dependent upon a central
docking area for the boats needed to bring visitors to the
island. The first of these, dated May 1976, divides the landing
areas between the island's northern and southern shores,
with a series of pedestrian ways progressing at right angles
toward the tightly clustered bungalows at the centre of the
19. • A second scheme, done in August of 1977, reverses this arrangement by
concentrating all boat arrivals at one main quay on the southern shore
and puts the major guest facilities, such as reception, theatres,
restaurants, banks, swimming pools and a crafts khan, in a band
spanning the entire width of the island. These public facilities, in turn,
displace the guest bungalows to the outside edges of the village, in what
seems to be a more logical arrangement.
21. • A third and final design, done in March of 1982, refines this
approach even further by greatly accentuating the interlocking of
land and water at the main landing. The final result of this dramatic
design decision is to make the entrance from the boat to the
reception area even more ceremonial. For some inexplicable reason
the contours of the island have changed in the third design, possibly
due to the erosion of the shoreline in the intervening years, and in
the interim, the need for easier access from perimeter bungalows
into the central area has altered the distribution of the units once
The old Gourna village is built over tombs, many of which were not discovered yet. The residents were famous for being able to bring up suspiciously authentic Egyptian monuments from their cellars. The antiquities were having trouble controlling the tomb-robbing occurring in the areas of the Valley of the Kings, Queens and Nobles nearby. And so, the perfect solution seemed to be to move the seven thousand locals whose economy depended on tomb looting. This came as Fathy's perfect opportunity.The new location is about five miles downhill towards the river, not far from the old village. Hassan Fathy's saw this as a challenge, as he says in his book. Faced with a 50 acre land intended to home 7000 people unwilling to leave their homes was not to be an easy task.