Index / Activities / Exhibitions / Hassan Fathy: Against the current 

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)
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 
Casa Árabe is offering cultural mediation sessions for this exhibition, with the assistance of guides in the exhibition hall to enrich the viewing experience of those who would like to know more about aspects related with the life and work of ingenious architect Hassan Fathy.

This service is free of charge and does not require advanced registration. The days and times when visitors may use this service are as follows:

Times: from 5:30 p.m. at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 6
Friday, March 12
Saturday, March 20
Friday, March 26
Saturday, April 3

The sessions will be held in compliance with all of the COVID19-related safety protocols. 

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Dramatizes tours of the exhibition Hassan Fathy: Against the current 

As of Saturday, March 13, we invite you to delve into the world of Hassan Fathy, the "archived of the poor," through these dramatized tours of his exhibition, given by Egyptian countrywoman Mahbuba. Prior registration required. 
From March 4, 2021 until April 24, 2021 MADRID

Conversation with Shahira Mehrez about Hassan Fathy 

On Thursday, July 22, we will be hosting a dialogue between the Egyptian designer and José Tono Martínez, curator of the exhibition “Hassan Fathy: Against the current” on our YouTube channel.
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Presentation of the book “Hassan Fathy: Against the current”

On Tuesday, July 20, we will be hosting, on our YouTube channel, the video of this presentation, which was organized this June in Cordoba to mark the occasion of the exhibition by the same name on the Egyptian architect.
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Catalogue of the exhibition “Hassan Fathy: Against the current”

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Architecture for the Poor: An experiment in rural Egypt

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