Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt by Hassan Fathy

By Hassan Fathy

Structure for the bad describes Hassan Fathy's plan for development the village of latest Gourna, close to Luxor, Egypt, with no using extra sleek and dear fabrics similar to 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 how one can paintings with the bricks, supervised the erection of the constructions, and inspired the revival of such historical crafts as claustra (lattice designs within the mudwork) to embellish the constructions.

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9 7-8 9-18 Nubian Masons at Work too simple to see any difference. Now the average workman much prefers to be paid by the day, for then he can take frequent rests, refresh himself with coffee every half hour or so, and spin out the work so that it will continue to be a source of income to him for many weeks. It never occurred to these Aswani masons, though, that there could be two times for finishing a job, dependent upon the method of payment, and they simply said they would roof a room for 120 piastres.

That is, each, by overvaluing the common features, crowds out the individual ones. To some degree the individual must be sacrificed to the mass; otherwise there can be no society, and man dies of isolation. But all people should ask themselves how, in human personality, the common and the individual factors should be balanced. Inexorably and largely unchallenged, the promoters of sameness have prevailed and have eliminated from modern life the tradition of individuality. Mass communications, mass production, mass education are the marks of our modern societies, which, whether communist or capitalist, are in these respects indistinguishable.

The result is a building with all the defects and none of the advantages of the architect's work. Thus the work of an architect who designs, say, an apartment house in the poor quarters of Cairo for some stingy speculator, in which he incorporates various features of modern design copied from fashionable European work, will filter down, over a period of years, through the cheap suburbs and into the village, where it will slowly poison the genuine tradition. So serious is this situation that a thorough and scientific investigation of it becomes quite imperative if ever we are to reverse the trend toward bad, ugly, vulgar, and inefficient housing in our villages.

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