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

By Hassan Fathy

Structure for the terrible describes Hassan Fathy's plan for construction the village of recent Gourna, close to Luxor, Egypt, with out using extra glossy and dear fabrics akin to metal and urban. utilizing dust bricks, the local method that Fathy realized 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 easy methods to paintings with the bricks, supervised the erection of the structures, and inspired the revival of such historical crafts as claustra (lattice designs within the mudwork) to beautify the constructions.

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

Sample text

It is difficult to understand why authorities should be so niggardly in giving good professional service to individual families, and why architects comply with their dictates. Truth to tell, the mistake is not so much with the authorities as it is with the technicians; in medicine no one expects the doctor when dealing with the poor to try to mass-produce operations. Why then, when a passing infirmity like a sore appendix is honored by careful personal treatment, should a permanent necessity like a family house be accorded any less?

Seven thousand people living quite literally upon the past. They-or their fathers-had been attracted to Gourna some fifty years before by the rich graves of their ancestors, and the whole community had ever since lived by mining these tombs. Their economy was almost wholly dependent on tomb robbing; the farmland around could not support anything like seven thousand people, and anyway it belonged mostly to a few rich landowners. Although the Gournis had become unrivaled experts in spotting hidden tombs, and were most sly and successful robbers, yet they had not handled their industry very wisely.

In each room there were two side walls, three meters apart, and an end wall somewhat higher against which the vault was to be built. The masons laid a couple of planks across the side walls, close to the end wall, got up on them, took up handfuls of mud, and roughly outlined an arch by plastering the mud onto the end wall. They used no measure or instrument, but by eye alone traced a perfect parabola, with its ends upon the side walls. Then, with the adze, they trimmed the mud plaster to give it a sharper outline.

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