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Discussion about Gourna - sec. 1

Subject: Re: Housing problems
From: Tarek Rashed

First. Thanks for nagla and Abbas for their sweet words.

Second as for the housing issue......3oud is correct.. The idea you introduce ya Abbas is great and ideal, and ..but yet.. What about the social forces, which lead the couples to seek a 150 or 180 m2 apart. instead of 60 or 80 m2. It is the same problem beyond the failure of Gornet's 7assan fat7ey in Luxor in the 40s... he built an ideal village which is taught in many institutions all over the world,.... but yet, no body lived in it. the shape of the domes he chose was great for air circulation, but reminded the intended people with the cemeteries... and the separation between houses and animal courts was a brilliant design in so many aspects, but he forgot that farmers cannot sleep without having the animals home.... so we are again facing the same philosophical debate.. should I design to satisfy the people, or design to change them............. and the answer in my opinion is both... you design to satisfy the people, but the ultimate goal is to change them....so the question.. how can this be possible?

In the west for example, no body looks at studies or rented apartments as a permanent "home", instead they see them as just temporary accommodation, they change in average 7 or 8 places until they can economically support their "own" big house..... fi maser el ma7rousa.. that sounds like Allice in the Wonder world.... because no body has this luxury.. and no one has such alternatives.. and this why most parents-in-law put the condition of large apartments.... because they see the apartment that el 3aires bygbha as the life-time one for their daughters (yes many of them know that he might get new one in the future, but something in the background says edieny 3omar lama ashofoh ma7wish taman el sha2a el tamliek

So what is the solution.... the answer is basically two-fold.. {{{policy and time}}}.............policy, because it was the cause beyond this crises that appeared in the 60s and was amplified in the 70s... and therefore it should be the means for the solutions, and time because unfortunately we in Egypt always have a short time vision... we need the solution now and immediately.. and we forget that what was corrupted for 3 decades, cannot be fixed in three years, especially if the corruption occurred on the social level and the principles and other main beliefs that govern the community.

What I see now is good steps towards the decentralization from Cairo, this Tushka, sharak eltafri3a, Sinai and so on. Which means that within a 10 or 20 years Cairo could be exporter for the population not importer if of course such projects are well studied and not only fkra teto2 fi dama3' el rayes ma3 ahwet el soba7 we kol a3da2 el 7akomma yahleloha.......... meanwhile... if the Government itself adopted housing projects for renting instead of owning as in the case of such projects as Mubarak housing, and provided the loans for private sector to do so, such that apartments for rents vary in their sizes and of course in their rents that would be a start and in the same time offer flexible alternatives for young people... because some of them can afford paying 600 rent but cannot have the saving to pay 120,000 for the same size of the apartment in one shot, and hence the idea will be black & white (rent studio or buy an apartment) but instead you provide a wide variety.. starting from studios and ending by a 3 or 4 bed room apartment for rent& if this work in all other countries,, why it would not be feasible in Egypt.

And again time and time.. so we start by a seed, and offer the alternative, and some people try it & others will not, but those who object it, will observe and by the time some of them accept it and so on & (who are working in gulf countries and come every year to raise the owned prices in the summer will decrease by the time because they know that they can find the place they want and on the price they can offer, and there is no need to be in a hurry)... so it is the same time frame that we made the transition from renting to owning, so it needs time to make the other way is possible, and ultimately we will reach the equilibrium between the supply and the demand ..having in mind of course if the policy remained stable and doesn't change by the change of ministries&
yala... 7arou7 addiha mozakrra ba2a badel el falsfa elly mabt2kilshy 3iesh di....


Subject: Re: el Gourna, we 2akl el 3eesh
From: Abbas Zafarany

Thanks Tarek for raising this point,
the case of el Gorna is Unique indeed, it failed because it had two problems not one:

1- The type of architecture was assumed to be suitable while it was not, Hassan Fat'hy was a talented Artist who was impressed by the traditional countryside, and developed a great looking theme using the metaphor and
vocabulary of vernacular architecture, but it has nothing to do with the needs of his prospect clients: el falla7!

2- el Gorna old village was built on a treasure of ancient Egyptian monuments, every one of the village used to dig in his house or courtyard to find statues or ancient pots, every peace he finds was sold for a fortune, so
they refused to move, and even if Hassan Fat'hy has built them a Five-stars house with central air conditioning (ma3a el dish wel mobile wel 7ettah el coupe), they wouldn't have accepted to move either!!

Both reasons are in the category of ignoring original occupants needs and demands, the first was their right, the second wasn't, but unfortunately they did not both match the way of thinking of Hassan Fat'hey

So el Gorna is an odd example, Hassan Fat'hys Architecture was not judged fairly by failure of el Gourna, although I do not believe so much in his architecture nor the environmental advantages of it (this is the area of my
research by the way), but he is still respected as a genius, and his architecture have good lessons to learn, among them:

Ask what is the proper architecture for your country; don't just use what is given to you.
And also from the failure we learn: don't assume that people want for themselves what you personally want for them.
That may lead us to a big discussion about understanding the mentality of the client, and the problems Architects face in real life when they face clients who ask for strange things, some times architect finds himself in a debate, whether to do what client asks for, to guarantee customer satisfaction (as a business man) or to do the right thing from his point of view (as a professional and Artist)?

God bless Hassan Fat'hy, and help us to find the right answer for his genius questions, and our professional ones!

3abbas el zafarany

Subject: Re: el Gourna, we 2akl el 3eesh
From: Tarek Rashed

Dear 3abass..

.... I liked your words about Hasan Fat'hy. Of course the man was unique and I am not, and will never be, in a position to judge his ability, but I have some doubts that his theory (if we can say so) will meet the same acceptance it met before, if he introduced it now with this growing concern about ecosystems, and similar environmental concerns like the effects of soil degradation and the damage of the biophysical environment on the global climatic change and new attempts now to quantify the value of the environment, and put it is the equation of the building costs... this will give a completely new perspective in computing the feasibility of projects .. for example you may find that importing materials from some far away place can be much more cost effective than using local materials if the cost of having such materials will have negative impacts of your local or even global environment in the long run.. this view recognizes that fact that we live in one earth system so whatever direction the human kinds force the environment to, the environment then will response with a feedback that will ultimately affect humans...



Discussion sec. 2

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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.