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Dr. Hassan Fathy, born in Alexandria in 1900, became one of the outstanding architects of his generation in Africa, demonstrating that it is possible to build for the poor and teaching people to build for themselves. Fathy's experience in planning and building the village of New Gourma, using mud bricks and employing traditional Egyptian architectural features, such as enclosed courtyards and domed and vaulted roofing. Fathy worked closely with the people to tailor his designs to their needs. He taught them how to work with the mud bricks, supervised the erection of buildings and encouraged the revival of ancient decorative techniques.

As he said in Architecture for the Poor, "In Nature, no two men are alike. Even if they are twins and physically identical, they will differ in their dreams. The architecture of the house emerges from the dream; this is why in villages built by their inhabitants we will find no two houses identical. Hassan Fathy was strongly against Western techniques and materials like reinforced concrete and steel which he found inappropriate for Egypt's climate and the craftsmen's limited skills.

New Gourna Project

His designs depended on natural ventilation, orientation and local materials, traditional construction methods and energy- conservation techniques. He carried out detailed studies of temperature and wind patterns.

The mosque at New Gourna by Hassan Fathy

Roof and dome of the mosque at New Gourna, seen from the minaret

Andrioli House - Fayyuum - 1984

school at Talkha, , a small town along the Nile in Northern Egypt.


Before and after implementation of emergency measures