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Hassan Fathy: Against the current 

From January 29, 2021 until May 16, 2021Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Monday through Sunday, including holidays)
MADRID
Casa Árabe exhibition halls (at Calle Alcalá, 62). Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Monday through Sunday, including holidays) Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

Starting on January 28, Casa Árabe will be holding this exhibition curated by José Tono Martínez in Madrid, including layout plans, models, photographs and books by the man known as the “architect of the poor.”

Hassan Fathy (Alexandria, 1900- Cairo, 1989), known worldwide as “the architect of the poor,” is one of the most exciting figures in the history of contemporary architecture. Years before our era’s professorships on materials existed, Fathy took notice of the long-known properties of adobe, clays and sands dried in the sun and mixed with straw as a cheaply available construction materials that provide great thermal insulation. This millennia-old tradition has been essential in desert regions, where there are strong differences in temperature between day and night.

Hassan Fathy, a scholar, painter, poet and thinker was an intellectual who lived the most important moments in twentieth-century Egypt. He opposed the neo-colonialist idea of attempting to standardize Egyptian culture in accordance with an internationalist scheme. Through his constructive philosophy, he returned to the roots, looking back at the teachings of the traditional peasant, or “fellah,” and the southern Nubian traditions where domes, arches and sloped vaults were still built without buildings frames, as has been done since the dawn of time.

Fathy died on November 29, 1989, in his Ottoman mansion in Old Cairo. Fathy’s career path was one of honesty, which led the architect to follow a holistic form of design meant to serve people. His story, little known in our country,  is worth telling.

This exhibition, curated by José Tono Martínez, brings together layout designs, models and photographs of Hassan Fathy’s emblematic works, as well as his architectural vocabulary. Special attention has been placed upon the New Gourna project in Luxor (1945-1949), which made him famous around the world. It is a fine example of integrated urban planning and is now protected by the World Monuments Fund and UNESCO.  The exhibition also displays some important books with illustrations of his works, such as the well-known Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt, from the collections of the AECID Islamic Library.

His work has left a great mark behind on contemporary architects and artists, who are also present in this exhibition. This is the case of Hannah Collins, whose contribution “I’ll make a song and sing it in a theater” bears witness to this admiration, as well as the great Chant Avedissian, who was a collaborator of Fathy’s and whose drawings and artistic production were greatly inspired by his work.

As a simultaneous activity with the exhibition, Casa Árabe and the Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies in Madrid will be holding a series of activities (guided tours, film screenings, etcs) to be announced soon.



This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of the following institutions:
 
Aga Khan Trust for Culture Library (Geneva, Switzerland), Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the American University (Cairo, Egypt), The Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies (Madrid), The Embassy of the Republic of Egypt in Spain, the Joan Prats Gallery (Barcelona), the Sabrina Amrani Gallery (Madrid), the Faculty of Architecture of Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary), the AECID Islamic Library (Madrid), The Embassy of Switzerland for Spain and Andorra, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel (Doha, Qatar), Fábrica de Fabricantes (Madrid), Constantinos A. & Emma Doxiadis Foundation (Athens, Greece), Architect Khaled Alay AlDeen, 3D Model Sidi Krier, World Monument Fund.
Hassan Fathy: Against the current