By Hassan Fathy

Structure for the bad describes Hassan Fathy's plan for construction the village of latest Gourna, close to Luxor, Egypt, with out using extra smooth and costly fabrics reminiscent of metal and urban. utilizing dust bricks, the local method that Fathy discovered in Nubia, and such conventional Egyptian architectural designs as enclosed courtyards and vaulted roofing, Fathy labored with the villagers to tailor his designs to their wishes. He taught them tips to paintings with the bricks, supervised the erection of the constructions, and inspired the revival of such old crafts as claustra (lattice designs within the mudwork) to decorate the structures.

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Extra info for Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt (Phoenix Books)

Sample text

Elle ne m'interesse pas beaucoup. (Famille et Habitation, by Paul Chombart de Lauwe [Centre National de la Recherche scientifique), p. ) To appreciate the participation of the ordinary citizen in the culture of his city today, we may contrast Le Corbusier's regard for his client with the relationship between the patrons and craftsmen of the past. Let us remember that a "patron" could be as humble a person as Mohammed Ismail's water bearer. The responsibility for this degeneration of the patron to the status of client lies squarely upon the architect, who has himself degenerated from an artist to a professional.

Within a few days all the houses were roofed. Rooms, corridors, loggias were all covered with vaults and domes; the masons had solved every problem that had exercised me (even to building stairs). It only remained to go out and apply their methods throughout Egypt. It happened that I had a friend, Taher Omari, who had a farm at Sedmant el Gabal on the edge of the desert of Fayum. It was in a lovely situation and just perched on the clifflike edge of a kind of plateau overlooking the Bahr Youssef Canal and the Nile Valley.

Stoppelaere, the head of the Restoration Section in the Department of Antiquities, so that they each suggested to the Abbe Drioton, the director-general of the department, that I be approached about the new village of Gourna. They had seen my two examples of mud brick building, the houses for the Royal Society of Agriculture and the house for the Red Crescent, and had been impressed alike by the potentialities of the material and the low cost of using it. Accordingly Drioton came to see these buildings and approved the suggestion, with the result that I was granted leave of absence from the School of Fine Arts for three years to build a village.

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