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Discussion about Low Cost Housing - sec. 3

Subject: Informal lessons
From: Abbas Zafarany

Informal lessons

My proposal of a small house is based on the real world demand-supply mechanism for such houses in informal and semi rural areas, in these areas -which provide housing for more than 80% of Egyptians- people are free from the law, so they build directly for their instant needs, they build houses that have three characteristics:

1- gradual development
2- small areas and low cost
3- almost no selling, only rent, and the owner is the builder

In these places, any normal Individual buys a small piece of land, 80 - 170m2 (1/2 - 1 kirrat), and he pays the price (5000-10000LE) on a reasonable period of time.
After he finishes his dept, he starts building one floor, may be a part of it, the contractor or the master builder finances the construction partially, while the owner collects all he can to pay for the construction, in few years of financial stress, the owner gets a single story unfinished house, he moves into it and relaxes for a while.
In few years he starts the cycle again, building the second floor. to give himself more space, or a flat for his son to marry, or more important, to get the rent.
In these areas there is no contracts for renting, so they can deal free from the Unfair laws that prevent the owner from raising the fee with time, so they are not afraid to rent.

A single room may cost 50LE monthly (12-16m2), an apartment of 1 bed room (2owda wesalla we manafe3hom) may cost 100 LE(30-40m2), these areas are practical for many families, for us here on the web, most of us are more financially stable (we are architects and we own computers) so the case cannot be judged by our own level of acceptance, we are talking about people who are less capable financially.
Although bigger apartments are available with higher rates in the same zones.

I think if we learn the lesson and apply it in better urban and Architectural standards, we may have a solution to finance housing

1- by having private small houses that can be gradually built and enlarged.
2- by building rent houses, not (Tamleek) with a variety of areas, giving more focus on small areas (at least for a beginning). occupants should move to bigger houses when their needs and financial capabilities grow.
3- be practical, and shoot for achievable goals.

3abbas el za3farany

Subject: Furniture in a small house
From: Nagla Mahmoud

Dear friends
Lets continue our discussion about economic houses for new marriage.

A newly married couple real need is an affordable furnished house, not only a bar wall house.
If the house was small, design of furniture must be integrated with the architectural design, the traditional furniture will not fit in the tight spaces, plus it has high cost with no reason.
We can design furniture that makes the best use of the space with reduced cost by:
1-Using furniture in small sizes with multiple uses,
2- Using built in furniture
3. For example we may build the base of the bed with brick, and put the wooden boards on it as usual, and use the enclosed space for storage. Or build the couch and use it for storage and sometimes use it as an extra bed. By removing the back rests and using them as pillows, (a modern variation on Kanaba Balady/ Mastaba), but with comfortable size and good look.
4.Use furniture as separation between spaces, a cupboard may be a good separator between two bedrooms. The kitchen counter may separate it from the living, etc.
5.Use Integrated furniture units, and using high storage spaces, Like having book shelves over the (bofeeh) in a living/dining room, or putting the master bed in a recess in the cupboard to make use of the wall behind the bed and over it, even the commodes might be an open shelf in the same cupboard.
6.Using movable or operable furniture, like a tea table in the living room which can be elevated to be a dining table at food time, or an add on to it that makes it bigger if there were more people to eat, a door of the cupboard or bookshelves can be Used as a desk when needed
Using these types of furniture that could be made in mass production, from durable materials may give a less overall cost for the furnished house
This does not mean using expensive woods, using massive Sweden wood (Mousky) for furniture is not expensive, but gives heavier more durable furniture than using hollow boards of poor interior filling and expensive cladding. The over all cost will be almost the same, but the cost will be in the long life material rather than manual work.
While This furniture is modern in design concept, it may have any traditional ornamental style that suits the layman taste, ornaments might be engraved in massive wood by Industrial mass production techniques like hot burning stamps or simple groves, or to be molded of plastics or poly-Urethane, or even silk screen colored Printing.
These ornaments may be designed by professional artists, the big mass production may compensate for their high design rates.
If any one of you have any designs for these furniture or ornaments, please send it to the group, or if you know web addresses about this type of furniture, please tell us.
Thanks for your time


Subject: Re: Furniture in a small house
From: Samia Morsy

Dear Nagla and all
I really admire the fact that you are concerned for newly weds who cannot afford a lot, but believe me built in furniture especially beds is horrible if it is not placed in a spacious room and not decorated in a stylish way, like may be covering the side of the bed with the same material of the floor be it a rug (something soft) or something which can make it an addition rather than something in the middle of the room you're totally stuck with
and can't change. Oh my God when your feet or knee gets hit in it, believe me you won't be pleased at all with the idea.

The other thing you totally loose when you go for built in furniture is flexibility and adaptability. You won't be able to change the furniture arrangement for one bit. So that's also an important point to consider; 'cause when you've got a small flat you need some flexibility so you can try out different settings of furniture.

Let me give you an example. A few years ago, my folks decided to buy a property in Marsah Matrooh. So they bought a flat overlooking the sea and the heart of a quariah siyahiah.
The company who owned the village implemented some of your ideas especially the built in beds.
When my parents saw the look of it, they totally opposed the idea and asked the company not to proceed with it in their flat. They agreed without problems.
But what happened was that they (the company) decided to ask other people if they wanted the same arrangement cause it was cheaper for them not to build furniture. And believe me Nagla whoever they asked chose not to have built in furniture. And this village is not anything posh like Marina and the rest, as you might think, you know how Marsa Matrouh is. So this shows, that if given the choice, people would rather choose light furniture -which is usually inexpensive-that they can move it around and may be change it later, than be stuck with built in ones.

On the other hand, I can't agree more with you that there should be inexpensive furniture made of inexpensive but durable wood. And fortunately I think there are plenty of them.
The nearest I person I can recall is my dad. Let me tell you a little bit about what he did.
First of all my dad is a professor of Nuclear Physics, but when he retired - beside working as an "Ostaz 3'eer mutafare3'"- he decided to pursue an old hobby of his, which is carpentry. So he bought a place ( warsha) and furnished it all new machines.
He had all your ideas of designing units for people with limited resources. And since then he has done a lot of work under this notion. But as for the ornaments I don't know if he has reached any specific designs.
Well, his details are with me if anyone needs them.

Best wishes
Samia Morsy


Discussion sec. 1



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  Editor's Note

For several millenniums, Egyptians have lead the Architecture of the whole world, this bright history actually puts a load on our shoulders as contemporary Egyptian Architects and planners, if we really want to be proud of our ancestors, we have to do a positive step to regain the lead, or at least stop being lagging behind the whole world!

For more than two centuries now, we have been just importing Architectural ideas and technologies from the west (as we have been doing in all aspects of our life), and for no more than 50 years we began to explore our Architectural heritage to find a new source to learn. The step forward, which should be taken now, is to digest all resources of knowledge, and to introduce to the world a new Contemporary Egyptian Architecture:


This will not be done by a single person, it needs the cooperation of hundreds of minds and hands, may be a whole generation of Architects and Intellectuals have to contribute to such a process till we find a solid product.

That's why this site has been created.

To provide a link and an Information source to everybody who wants to contribute, and to open a gate to publish ideas and discuss them with others. It is open for any contribution, any Architect who wants to publish his work: projects, articles, papers or thesis, is welcome. It's also open for any news, or announcements about conferences, seminars, competitions, expositions or new products.

We welcome anyone want to share us, or want to publish his work in the site, just send us an email to know the way of publishing your works, papers, articles, ...etc.