Images of Egypt, PriArc Workshop
In the context of the interest expressed by the Oslo School of Architecture - Norway in the ancient and modern Egyptian architectural heritage was the invitation to participate in the forum "Photos from Egypt" for Dr. Tarek Wali, Director of the Center to present the project "Rehabilitation and reuse of Stopplaer's house" as a training center for documentation techniques in the presence of experts and professors from Norway, France, Sweden, England and Spain
Tarek Waly Center , Architecture and Heritage :Vision and Professional Practice .
The Vision :
Architecture of a single building or a group of new buildings to meet humanitarian current or updated needs .
To address architecture of varying patterns and levels, it is necessary to touch base with the fundamental pattern which forms a place within a temporal context . Creative architectural process in general , as perceived and practiced , is the birth of a space or a group of coherent and harmonious spaces that form a part of the infinite space . While it may not be a definite birth in a precise point of time , however , it is the real beginning of birth which continues with the passing of time . With this definition , it may be described as a balanced path which is made up of successive, or sometimes overlapping processes , which harmoniously relate to human life of an individual in his singularity or a community in its uniqueness . The processes begin with a dream of an individual or a group to meet the needs or earn a right that has not yet materialized on the ground . As architects , we have to transform the dream into a vision , the features of which , are illustrated in the interaction between reality and imagination , to crystallize the abstract idea towards the formulation of a tangible formula . This may be reached by realizing that the composition is not the aim in itself . Rather , it is the means to contain the essence of the geometric order , as the governing law of the creative process . It is the methodology and rational mode , associated with the extrapolation of a place within a defined time . The end goal is to transform an abstract idea or fantasy , with a focus on an activity , function of or human requirements , into reality . This may take place through the ability to extrapolate , at a particular point of time to reach the design stage , followed by construction .
Development and upgrading of historical urban communities , in the context of comprehensive development of existing communities.
Giza Plateau Master Plan
Introduction to Giza Plateau Master Plan
The urbanism and architecture of Egypt , may not be understood in isolation of its history and geography; as they are likely to lose much of their meaning, significance and content , in absence of their historic and geographic contexts. This is the approach adopted herein for in the development of historical sites. At the foremost of such sites the Giza Pyramids which forms a part of the matrix of the ancient Egyptian civilization. That had related in the spatial and temporal contexts with Memphis, the Capital of Egypt for over three thousand years. What remains, at the outset, is to develop an awareness of this meaning, and the resulting emergence of The Capital.
The Capital of Egypt has remained to fall at the junction between
Geography and History at a Stance, between An optional recluse and an inevitable take-off
Recluse within a narrow and controlled valley...
Between the River and the Mountain, the Capital of Egypt and its Pyramids Were Situated, Wisely manifested by the Inevitability of their Existence and Formulated by Knowledge and Science a Civilization was Established.
It revolved around the Site, and Man. Here, the Capital has been established Before its development took place And its inhabitants dwelled
With urbanization and the establishment of civilization,
Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids At the Western Plateau from south to north Presenting pegs, beacons or observatories
Consequently, the awareness of the reality of the pyramids and the genius of their presence within that tri-polar matrix has never been reached. Assumptions or apparent results were relied on, disregarding the underlying phenomenon. Thus, the truth has been absent, or we became off track. At this dividing stance of the end of the valley, specialists categorize the pyramids to ten groups in a spatial sequence from south to north, but in a temporal context, a different succession emerges than the spatial one.
It is impossible to understand the true essence of these Pyramids, unless an in-depth study is undertaken with reference to the prevalent norms in ancient Egypt.
Giza Plateau Site Analysis
This project forms a component of an overall strategy to maintain the archaeological and natural heritage of the plateau alike. Another objective is to enhance the quality of the experience of the site visitors, through extrapolation of the formation of the architectural heritage as it was derived from a governing geometric order. The subtle presence of that underlying Geometric Order is manifested in the controlled and codified relationship as envisioned by ancient Egyptians put. A painstaking effort is to be undertaken to decode those rules and to establish and convey sensible and liable understanding. This is to enable entry to the site architectural complex, respecting for the heritage and feeling a cautious harmony. Presenting the knowledge to contemporary generations is of equal importance, in order to raise their awareness of its original form which should be maintained.
As architects, we have overlooked an endeavour to grasp and acknowledge the existence of such a geometric system. It draws connections some of which are visible, readily witnessed, as well as connotations which are apparent to each contemplative, sane, and open to knowledge individual. Others by generations of today. Other connections are hidden, subtle and underlying. These are limited to researchers who have knowledge and the skills to decode the givens in quest for the truth. Between the sight and the insight , outwardly visible and the inwardly hidden , certainty of the existential of this cognitive and cultural entity , may be adopted . It is enmeshed with the ancient heritage. It presents a connection of the mobile cycle of the sun on one hand and the mobility of the Nile and its annual cycle, on the other. The end of the mobility trip of the Nile lies at this gate to complete the cultural and natural aspects of the system, between the eternity of the place on one hand and the ingenuity and creativity of man on the other.
The conscious understanding of the Plateau of the Giza Pyramids lies within the comprehensive geometric order. It presents the approach adopted in this study for the development of that region in both a totalitarian context within the order, and in the other hand within the context of the Giza Pyramids complex. Its existence may be entrusted extrapolation of the architectural geometric order, in a codified correlation, which is both secretive and controlled by ancient Egyptians. An endeavour should be undertaken to decode, the underlying order, which if accomplished, is to allow a passage leading to the uncovering of the architectural order of the site in a respectful attitude, for the heritage and a cautious harmony with it. Presenting the knowledge to contemporary generations is of equal importance, in order to raise their awareness of the original form of the inheritance, which should be maintained.
A specific objective of the project was to reach an understanding of the hidden facts that lead to the knowledge of the real role meant for the Pyramids, following the footsteps of other serious scholars. Various efforts have been channelled to detect the facts and put this cognitive hypothesis through a test for the Giza Pyramids. Of these scholars is, Dr. Abdul Rahim Rihan, who confirms that the Great Pyramid was erected as an astronomical observatory established prior to the King Cheops era. Studies of the British scholar "Richard Proctor" in 1880 refer to his belief that the Great Pyramid was established in two phases, the first phase encompassed an observatory for astronomical and astrological purposes. He believed that the observatory base was the ascending passage or the great hall heading towards the rising star Sirius, a star which the ancient Egyptians referred to as an indicator for the solar calendar calculations and the solar year for the whole world. The establishment of the observatory is estimated to have taken place on 5200 - 5600 BC. That date coincides with the date set by the priests of the sun, which commenced during the reign of King Thoth the second king of the first dynasty and the son of King Menes. He added that the Great Pyramid at that time the elevation of the Pyramid above the surface of the earth by the equivalent of the height of the fiftieth course at a height of 43 meters, until the end of the passage and the great hall, (the surface of which was at the same level of the current floor level of the king’s room).
Such hypotheses remain to be subjected to scientific and historical auditing in order to establish the facts and filter inaccurate inherited assumptions pertinent to historical issues which are collectively adopted.
Geometric Order of the Plateau
The adopted approach for the development of this historical site was to rediscover the components of the site itself, the adopted guiding laws and patterns a geometric order network prevails. It excelled in producing an architectural order that lends itself to the functionality of knowledge that forms a part of the civilization of its time. Yet we believe the validity of the adopted hypothesis that the pyramids viewed as pegs , beacons or observatories are integrated and linked with specific focal points that were of cognitive implications . Unfortunately, that invaluable information was not materially conveyed, so that any proof of their existence has to be deduced. Extrapolation of such inferences leads to the formulation of the cognitive geometric order. Of this geometric order, three points are highlighted:
First Point: lies in the south at the remote waterfalls in Aswan and its relation with the River Nile, the source of life.
Second Point: in the near east at sunrise behind the Mokattam plateau and its astronomical observatories.
Third point: lies in the north desert urban development of Own the city that embodied knowledge, science.
Axes of life, sunrise and knowledge extend to intersect or meet in the Fourth Point in the West at the axis of immortality on top of the western plateau at the end of the valley. Its position lent itself to open the way for the establishment of civilization.
Fourth Point: At a rock, in the Western Plateau uniquely formed by nature and its ultimate Creator. The ancient Egyptian sculptured and shaped it as a creative witness to this geometric order. This unique point is viewed as the Birth Point for the geometric order in its entirety , which sets the guiding law for the architectural creativity of the place and its Pyramids which cater for the requirements of the astronomical knowledge, as a complementary element completing the geometric order .
At the onset of embarking on the project for the development of the archaeological area of the Giza Pyramids Plateau, unveiling the geometric order and its ruling law was a priority. Through the delineation of the geometric order, it became possible to demarcate the current spatial boundaries of the project. It then became necessary to either remove or transfer superfluous elements that are alien or incompatible with site development, or by adding missing elements or vocabulary imposed by the meantime, the nature of current activities in harmony with the historical and architectural values of the place. The completion of appraising the region, within the contextual domain of the direct vital urbanism development, pertinent to the current situation at the twenty first century .
Giza plateau master plan approach
Taking into consideration the environmental study results and the site analysis recommendations, The Giza Plateau Master Plan has been designed to limit visitor-related impact to the World Heritage Site in response to repeated calls by the UNESCO and independent heritage advisors throughout the 1990s to curb accelerated monument degradation and diminished visitor experience, and is an evolution of the UNESCO 1992 Giza Master plan.
Three main issues needed to be addressed;
These issues were addressed by the following;
Visitors would experience the site via a combination of environmentally friendly transport network and designated pedestrian routes, after leaving their vehicles in a designated car park outside, downwind and invisible form the core monument site, thus curbing rising pollution levels especially to the Sphinx.
A designated area south of the immediate monument site and accessible via the new internal transport network as an optional leg of the visit would be provided for camel and horse rides as well as dedicated stalls for local souvenir vendors. This would alleviate the inappropriate use of the monument site as a recreational site providing a better visitor experience and curbing the deterioration of the monuments caused by animal dung.
Two visitor and information centers will provide the relevant experiences to both adults and school children upon entering the site and before embarkation via a mix of physical artifacts, 3D models and multimedia presentations, and printed media, as well as providing basic amenities and services. Further 3D models and information plaques would be distributed strategically across the site to guide visitors through it.
Giza plateau Master plan
The master plan’s main methodology relied on dividing the site owned by the MSAA as defined by the security fence(s) into zones depending on their significance, asserting preservation and activity guide-lines for each one. Three zones came of out this plan;
Following these guidelines the heritage plan comprises the following;
The level of services provided for the visitor must be raised, while the visit itself should be approached from a heritage park point of view rather than it being simply the visitation of a monument. Thus provisions must be made for the relative length of time and effort expended on such a site, along with the relevant way-finding and interpretation.
As the Sound & Light shows are geared for evening visits, a change in pattern is recommended where limited numbers of visitors seeking to enjoy Giza at night without being confined to the theatre, are allowed on a designated portion of the site in the region of the Sphinx.
Stopplaere house rehabilitation and reuse
About the project
The current phase of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative work started in May 2016 and will run until it has achieved its core objectives. These are :
Stopplaere house is believed to be built around 1951 by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy for Alexander Stopplaere , Chief restorer of the department of Antiquities at this time . The house was meant to be a guest house for the department of antiquities and the headquarters/apartment of chief restorer Alexander Stopplaere.
Surrounding urban fabric (Thebes- a world heritage site)
The house was built on the west bank at Luxor, within the boundaries of Thebes, the capital of Egypt during the Middle and New Kingdoms. famous with the temples and palaces at Karnak and Luxor, and the necropolises of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, Thebes is a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height. - Thebes with its Necropolis were registered as a world heritage site in 1979.
Surrounding urban fabric (Dig houses)
From the early 19th century, Thebes had attracted archaeologists from all over the world. archaeologists began inhabit Luxor, it is not for sure when the first dig house was built but it is likely to be Gardner Wilkinson rest house in the west bank –demolished in 1890 - The first official expedition house was that of the Germans, built in 1905 on the west bank of the river. due to many factors, Most of those houses were built with local materials using traditional techniques in fact , most of them were built with mud brick, for example , Somers Clarke-vii 1906, al-Kab, Howard Carter 1924... etc
many of those dig houses were demolished or cannot be traced. but still a number of the dig houses are still there in Luxor used as expedition houses, or reused in other propose and some are just standing there suffering from neglect. like Stoppplaere house.
Stopplaere house surrounding urban fabric (new Gourna village)
Stopplaere house is also located near another inspiring unique site: New Gourna Village. It was built between 1946 and 1952.by Hassan Fathy and recently had been nominated to be registered as (a world heritage site) Stopplaere house is believed to be built right after new Gourna village and by the same Egyptian architect: Hassan Fathy(1900-1989).
Stopplaere house architectural profile
The house provides ample evidence for Fathy’s mastery of forms resulting from the expression of mud brick vaulting techniques, and contains many architectural details that are characteristic of his work. It is unfortunate that the Stoppelaere House, had been unused for many decades as it represents one of Hassan Fathy’s few surviving works from the early period of his activity .
Actually, Stopplaëre House was designed to house both a site office and a private residence for the archaeological director. It is divided into two by a central courtyard, thus assuring privacy for both areas. Its positioning at the top of a cliff gives the house a commanding presence.
Before the house was actually built, a series of preliminary drawings and sketches were made, until the current layout was drawn. no final drawing for this house was found, and the sketches does not completely match the current layout, that refers to either the house was modified during the construction phase or latter interventions took place changing some of the original design aspects.
Stopplaere house rehabilitation status
There is not enough information about Chronology of Development and Use of the house, Yet the current status of the house shows two clear facts, first: there had been limited interventions to the house during the history of its use. Second: the current condition of the house shows that it had been deserted and neglected for a very long time. second, there had been
Stopplaere house physical assessment
The house has been exposed to various conditions that resulted severe deterioration in its structure that were easily observable to the naked eye, but more were not detectable until further surveys were applied.
The general condition of the house showed the urgent need of a complete restoration to most of the structural elements and finishings. new electromechanical systems were also needed.
Intervention to reuse, and to adapt to safety requirements and accessibility
Stopplaer house new use demands reassigning spaces according to its potentials, foot print and circulation requirement. the house holds natural lighting and ventilation which qualifies most of the spaces to fit its new use perfectly. minor architectural modifications were needed in Stopplaere house plan. New electromechanical systems, internet and data network, furniture, exterior landscape
Due to the status of the house, many interventions were needed in order to rehabilitate the building to be reused as a Training centre for digital recording and archiving. Basically structural interventions were essential. Starting with treating the existing deterioration of the main structure, down to preventing future deterioration. In addition to finishing restoration, new electromechanical systems were applied to adapt the house with the new uses, Exterior elevation restoration and landscape redesign. All the intervention took highly into consideration providing the contemporary needs in parallel with preserving the architectural values of the house. The restoration was made using the same techniques and recycling natural materials previously used in building the house. With limited modifications in its technical specification to enhance its quality. Almost all interventions were implemented locally by workers and craftsmen from Loxur.
New Gourna in 2017
The main characteristics of both Stopplaere house and New Gourna Village can define the outline of the philosophy of the architecture of Hassan Fathy, The village was one early example of community participation in both design and construction process. Additionally, it is an outstanding example of sustainable human settlement and appropriate use of technology in architecture and planning. - Exposed in one of the major architecture and planning references, Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt by Hassan Fathy, published in 1976-, these ideas inspired a new generation of architects and planners worldwide through an integration of vernacular technology with modern architectural principles.
Unfortunately, the village suffered severe deterioration and the lack of proper care for the last decades. Due to that and other various conflicts, almost 70 % percent of the buildings of the village is now lost . The loss of Gourna had for many years been occupying the mind of both local and international society concerned with: culture heritage conservation, vernacular architecture, Egyptian traditional architecture and the unique philosophy of the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy.but yet not enough steps took place to help saving Gourna . That unfortunate fact commits us all to make a quick move to help saving New Gourna . Starting with one building “ The Khan “ That still remains in a very bad shape and highly threatened to be lost soon .
The Khan is the old Arabic word for “Inn “, it was originally designed to host master craftsmen while teaching their crafts to young boys of the village. then to be reused as the needs of the village would necessitate. The khan was to be the main instrument by which the supply of fresh craftsmen was to be regulated. The idea of the building grew out of New Gourna’s need for new trades and from the fact that a school organization would be very uneconomical for the purpose.
The khan had been deserted for many decades, which caused already a major deterioration in its physical condition. Deserting the building may be the most effective risk it is subjected to, particularly concerning its unique architecture that requires continues maintenance.
Deserting the Khan also threatens its historical value, it was once a productive and significant building to the young generations of the villagers but unfortunately its transformed into unknown, useless and dispensable for the current generations.
Being a public property, caused the absence of a clear identified responsible management for the khan. That previously took a great part in its deterioration. That also severely threatens the sustainability of any future attempt to preserve the khan.
the khan occupies a vast area of a high valued land, which threatens a future risk of demolishing it, specially concerning the lack of awareness of its cultural value.
Bringing the Khan back to life of New Gourna could restore many cultural values that were originally behind the unique model of New Gourna village project back in the last century, yet a new use is needed to match the changes both New Gourna and Loxur were subjected to through those decades. A basic target of the project is to support community participation in every stage, in order to ensure its efficiency and Sustainability
Our vision for The Khan
our main target is not only to participate in saving a significant built heritage and living example of all those. but also to restore the highly effective role The Khan once played in the life of its local community. saving The khan will help saving the human philosophy of the Architect Hassan Fathy who believed in empowering local communities and helping them to create their own culture and architecture. Additionally, it would prevent a great loss to many generations of architects that would never be able to study these experience as a true living model. The project will be designed and implemented totally inspired by the original experience of New Gourna village. taking in action teaching the local community about their culture heritage, involving them in all stages of the project, training a number of them on restoration methods, and finally opening new chances for job vacancies when the project is done.