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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 exhibition on the Egyptian architect, which can  currently be seen at our headquarters in Cordoba.

May 28, 2021
ESPAÑA
Hassan Fathy is one of the most controversial, exciting and complex figures in the history of contemporary architecture. He was a man of his time whose biography embodies the contradictions of the century in which he lived. His works show a great calling for modernity but without setting aside the wisdom that traditional architecture provides, paradoxically creating solutions for problems that today have become more relevant than ever.
 
As the reader will see in the essays collected in these pages, Fathy’s contributions are not only important as building solutions that recover vernacular techniques: Fathy was a creator who fused different forms, spaces, techniques and traditional materials to produce a new, original type of architecture. Also presented is the thorough, meticulous work which Fathy carried out to develop what he called “appropriate technologies” to achieve architecture that respects and dialogues with the human and natural environments.
 
His firm determination to improve society through architecture made him defend with great conviction the ideas of community, proximity and sustainability, issues that are absolutely current. He was ahead of his time and today is considered one of the pioneers of sustainable architecture. A visionary who rowed against the current and largely misunderstood at the time, Fathy has left behind a legacy that is still fully valid today.

Hassan Fathy (Alexandria, 1900-Cairo, 1989), an intellectual committed to the cultural renewal of his country and involved in improving the habitats of the peasantry, whose living conditions did not seem to have changed since the days of the Pharaohs, is the most influential Egyptian architect and the one who continues to arouse the most interest. He was educated under the beaux-arts eclectic system of his era, to which he would later add the influence of International Style. He soon realized that the methods of those schools were inadequate for Egypt’s economic, social and climatic conditions. There, the solution to the problem of rural housing could not be industrialization, new materials and air conditioning, but rather artisanal self-building techniques, local materials and passive thermal conditioning. Fully devoted to this mission, he participated in international debates, the launch of the Aga Khan Prize and the creation of the Institute of Appropriate Technology. In 1884, he received the Gold Medal from the International Union of Architects. Today he is considered one of the pioneers of ecologically sustainable and socially responsible architecture.

HASSAN FATHY: AGAINST THE CURRENT”
JOSÉ TONO MARTÍNEZ (coord.)
Organizers: Casa Árabe and Egyptian Institute
Texts by José Tono Martínez (coord.); Serge Santelli; Leïla el-Wakil; Nadia Radwan; María Pura Moreno; Fernando Vegas; Camila Mileto; Valentina Cristini. With a special contribution by Hannah Collins

ISBN: 978-84-17905-65-1
Format: 16.5 x 24 cm.
Pages: 192
Binding: Paperback with flaps
Retail price:  €26
Catalogue of the exhibition “Hassan Fathy: Against the current”

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