Books and publications

Index / Activities / Books and publications / Presentation of the book “Hassan Fathy: Against the current” in Cordoba

Presentation of the book “Hassan Fathy: Against the current” in Cordoba

June 23, 20217:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Samuel de los Santos Gener, 9). 7:30 p.m. In order to attend this event in person, you must sign up in advance.
Register by following this link.
In Spanish and French, with simultaneous translation.

To mark the holding of the exhibition with the same name, which can currently be seen at our Andalusian headquarters, we have organized the presentation of this book in Cordoba on Wednesday, June 23, with the cooperation of the Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies in Madrid.

The event will include speeches by Rasha Ismail, Director of the Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies and Cultural Attaché of the Egyptian Embassy in Spain, Professor Serge Santelli, an architect who contributed to the book, and José Tono Martínez, the exhibition curator. Also attending will be Omar Ahmed Abdel Wahab Selim, Ambassador of the Republic of Egypt in Spain.

The book is a bilingual Arabic-Spanish edition with texts by: José Tono Martínez, Nadia Radwan, Serge Santelli, Leila el Wakil, María Pura Moreno Moreno, F. Vegas, C. Mileto, V. Cristini, Hannan Collins and Zsolt Vasáros  (published by Ediciones Asimétricas, 2021).

The exhibition “Hassan Fathy: Against the current” is about one of the most ingenious and fascinating architects of the twentieth century. He was a man of his era whose biography embodies the contradictions of the century in which he lived. His work demonstrates his calling to achieve modernity, but without ignoring the past and its wisdom enshrined in traditional architecture, which paradoxically provides solutions to problems that have taken on even greater importance today.
The legacy handed down to us by Hassan Fathy (Alexandria 1900-Cairo 1989) is more relevant than ever. The Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies in Madrid and Casa Árabe have sought to draw attention to the figure of this universally important Egyptian architect through the exhibition shown in this catalogue. It presents the thorough, painstaking work that Fathy carried out to develop what he called “appropriate technologies” in order to create an architecture that respects and dialogues with the human habitat and natural environment.
As the reader will find in the magnificent essays inside this catalogue, Fathy’s contributions are not important only as building solutions adapted to commonplace uses. His philosophy was a steadfast defense of the ideas of community and proximity, issues of great concern even today. Any architect, urban planner or sociologist working on public policies in our cities at this time is aware of the importance of promoting the use of materials from the local environment to reduce transport costs and pollution (now referred to as the “carbon footprint”), and the value of encouraging public spaces for social relations, squares, courtyards and user-friendly areas where individuals can share and experience architecture on a human scale.
Our commitment to increasing awareness about this architect who was so advanced for his era also comes at a time when universities around the world are acknowledging, researching and giving visibility to numerous men and women in Arab world arts and thought whose works contributed throughout the twentieth century to creating a modernity of their own. Forged in a relationship with the colonial powers from the West, they also staked a claim upon features from local cultures and history. Hassan Fathy, born at the turn of the century with a humanistic, critical spirit, is the epitome of this modern mindset within the context of Egypt.
Rasha Ismail
Director of the Egyptian Institute of Islamic Studies
and Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Republic of Egypt in Madrid.

“Once upon a time, there was an innate beauty in everything around us: we were ourselves.” Hassan Fathy, 1981.
Hassan Fathy (Alexandria, 1900-Cairo, 1989) is one of the most controversial, exciting and complex figures in the history of contemporary architecture. Fathy was ahead of his time and is now considered one of the founders of sustainable architecture, with deep roots in local and popular traditions. He was a largely misunderstood visionary who went against the current. When in the middle of the twentieth century the internationalist style was gaining favor on both sides of the Iron Curtain and beyond, in a world then called “developing,” which aspired to copy the models imposed by the so-called First World, Hassan Fathy rose to the occasion to oppose the homogenization of urban landscapes, battling at the drawing board, like Don Quixote, against impersonal “non-places” which the French sociologist Marc Augé would speak of half a century later.
José Tono Martínez
Curator of the exhibition and coordinator of the book “Hassan Fathy: Against the current”

The following contributed to the book’s publication:Casa Árabe (Madrid and Córdoba); Instituto Egipcio de Estudios Islámicos (Madrid); Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Aga Khan Trust for Culture Library (Geneva, Switzerland) and Lobna Montasser; Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library of American University (Cairo, Egypt) and Balsam A. Saleh and Ola Seif; Galería Joan Prats (Barcelona); Galería Sabrina Amrani (Madrid); Faculty of Architecture, Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary) and Prof. Zsolt Vasáros; the AECID Islamic Library (Madrid); the Swiss Embassy for Spain and Andorra; Instituto Francés de Sevilla; Al Jazeera Media Network Documentary Channel (Doha, Qatar); Fábrica de Fabricantes (Madrid) and Fabricio Santos; Constantinos A. & Emma Doxiadis Foundation (Athens, Greece); Architect Khaled Alay AlDeen, 3D Model Sidi Krier, World Monument Fund. Gabor Nagy 3D Model N. Gourna; World Monument Fund; Prof. José Miguel Puerta Vilchez; Lorena López de Benito; special mention to Dr. Rasha Ismail, translator of these texts into Arabic, and to Nuria Medina, Casa Árabe’s Culture Coordinator, all co-promoters of this edition. And, of course, neither this book nor the exhibition it accompanies would have been possible without the work, perseverance and enthusiasm of curator José Tono Martínez, the driving force behind the entire project.
Presentation of the book “Hassan Fathy: Against the current” in Cordoba

Related content

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.
July 22, 2021 ONLINE

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.
July 20, 2021 ONLINE

Catalogue of the exhibition “Hassan Fathy: Against the current”

Casa Árabe and the Egyptian Institute have published this work coordinated by José Tono Martínez, curator of the...

Architecture for the Poor: An experiment in rural Egypt

Ediciones Asimétricas has published its third book on Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. In the book, Fathy himsel...