Images of Egypt, PriArc Workshop


A Seminar about the Center's rehabilitation work
30-31 JAN 2017
Oslo, Norway

 
     
                 
 
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 :

Cultural continuity  is an inevitable necessity  for architectural and urban  practices . Moreover ,  it   is  an assumed responsibility of the predecessors  to bequeath to future generations .  As well it is  an  undertaking  to address  and  hold  a dialogue with  the community . In the context of space , it addresses  the interaction  between man and his environment  ,and  temporally  between the modern , the old  and the ancient  and  further . Further , it is  between what is an  incidental  happening  and  that  expected  . These   combinations   present   the motivation   to communicate , and through which  to  draw our vision . This  process   generates  a  tangible product : A shadow of  a geometrical  order which is the absolute formula , through which its contextual position  within  time and  place is recorded  . This physical expression may  be presented  in an individual  building , or in an extended  urban fabric, which apparently  starts  from void  and may end  to nothing . In essence , it  is always an  expression of man’s  undertaking  of urbanisation  of  place . While the place may be missed , architecture and urbanism  continue to exist  and  breed new expressions  in the same place or in other places . These expressions may disregard  the context of  time itself, while architecture and urbanism stay on  with the community ; as they both  are an abstract  impression which  holds  the status of sustainability  of the absolute . This  is  present  and  materialised   for  the  community  in its tangible  building  and  city , despite the fact that  each is subject to limitations of a span between a start  and an end . While   they fade away , however they remain in the memory as the  shadow of the absolute  absent  .


Architecture  and urbanism are  the cause and source .
The building and the city are the result and the product .


The dialectical relationship between cause and   effect  depicts and  guarantees   the existence   of  the community  , while  architecture  and urbanism portray  its  initial  manifestation  . Together  , they carry this  mission  as long as they have  the ability   . They become liberated from their material  status   , their  incidence  and , occurrence . They   continue  , and  when either or both are separated , they become surpassed  by   society  and  time , and  end  by the final return to oblivion , whether they are  physically existing ,  or  dilapidated ruins, but in reality they become   absent  .


Mechanisms :


In  this  regard , mechanisms  may be  defined   along  two channels:
•  Hypothesis : Through research  ,  which relies on  an inductive  and analytical  approach  of  a reality , or that  of the problem of  an entity and  an  representative  urban community ,  an  urban  cluster  or  a  specific  humanitarian  case  .
•  Application  :  Through inventive   architectural   and  urban design on the ground  , and in the possible and available operational manner to meet the requirements and solutions to problems raised at various gradient levels  of  the community  as a  whole and even those of the  individual .

Domains :

 

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 .


Extrapolation of time and re-formulation of the historical heritage for the development of historical  areas  :


Architecture is one   of the most important illustrators employed by man to hold   a  dialogue   with  his time , record  his creativities , and  existence beyond  his  time . The scope of our responsibility is not the restoration  endeavour  of  a particular building ,  nor is it the preservation  of elements of  heritage  value  as this  is  the responsibility of specialists . In these fields  ,  architects  and  urban  designers   hold  an assisting   role , while  the essence  of their  responsibility is the   extrapolation of underlying  patterns  of urbanism in a heritage  site where  these legacies are  found . It is an analytical and in some instances a critical   extrapolation of  the urbanism of a  particular  inheritance  site  , unfolding  the  underlying geometrical orders that had  formulated it  and  granted  it with its quality and value .  Then   , the architecture of  that particular  place , its territorial and urban  domains   of present time  through those orders  may be formulated .  The intention   then  is  not to  imitate or employ vernacular   architectural   vocabulary  or motifs , but rather , to divert a  creative ability to communicate with the absolute value that  lie within  the  geometrical orders which underlie  urbanism of a  place.

Historical and heritage  areas  hold  inherent  energies which had been  stored  along lengths of  time ,  which are  a testament to creativity of civilization .  It is by adopting   this vision that the concept  of  ​​development  may be realized , through the re-discovery of the creative process , in its absolute status . This depends on the   adoption   of  a  conscious understanding   and full awareness of   its  secrets . This vision   is  affirmed     in  the  desired  interaction  within present-day  architectural  needs, which interact  and overlap in total harmony with the place  , not  to overwhelm, but  rather  to act as the overture  of a historical  symphony  ,  that avoids  simulation, while adopting  harmony. Consequently , a new  and  yet  old  picture is  illustrated  of a place , allowing  a  view  and resonance  of  a past civilization  . Through this  illustration  we get to realize attributes of a past civilization ,  its  input  and creative abilities , without  a  division between  the  present  and  the  locale .  Moreover , the  locale is to play  a role  in  the community  and  its  development , as its radiates  over  the immediate  urban domain and the interactive communal framework  .

Development  and  upgrading  of  historical  urban communities , in the  context  of  comprehensive  development  of existing  communities.


The  morphology of  a  historic  city  comprises consecutive  rings of culture , urban , intellectual  , and  social  chain for a community  with a  cultural heritage  .  The approach   for   the development  and upgrading  of  any of  these  historical  settlements may be defined in an  inevitability  of  a modern  paradigm targeting such communities , and  moreover ,  the whole world  with  its contemporary civilization . The outcome is the attainment  of  a vision that   allows  a  view  beyond the narrow concept of development ;  through which the community may cross  towards  the revival of the soul,  the delivery of  a message in the midst of incidental  variables  . This message is   deep   rooted   in   history  , with its branches flying  in the prospects of  the future . To determine the parameters of this discourse, we must extrapolate urban  patterns  witnessed  by  the  city ;  depending   on  an  understanding  of  the morphology  and  evolution of  its urbanism  ,  the variables  of  its  growth and  the role of man and community in this  dynamism .  That  depends  on two axes :  The  geographical  environment  and  givens of  the  place  on  one hand  ,  and  the  historical  roots and  memory of  time  on  the  other  .  This  takes place while   keeping   pace  with  an  awareness of the entirety  of the community  and urban development  domains  , set in  :
Community development  :  Including  upgrading of prevailing social, economic and cultural situations ,  in  integration  with urban upgrading , as  urban development  processes  are  inseparable from man .
Infrastructure upgrading   : Including   roads, utilities and infrastructure   networks   .
Upgrading   social   services   :  At their various levels .
Upgrading   built-up   masses   : Including   public buildings , especially those of  historical and heritage value  .

A  multiplicity  of  parties  share  the  responsibility of the development of historical urban communities, in  general, whether they  are governmental  sectors , private and public  investment sectors , non-governmental organizations, NGOs ,  and  grass-root leaderships  of the community .  Coordination   responsibilities   among these entities  are assumed  by  a particular  concerned  department  , specialized in the context of the overall vision of  this development ,  for transforming  the theoretical  studies  into  the realm of  the  changing reality .


Urban Development   within  the  framework of  the  advent  of   new  urban  communities  and  upgrading  of  existing communities .  


Here we define the most important pillars of our vision and features in the development of new urban  communities  .
Economic  base  :  New urban communities  may arise   on an economic base which ensures its vitality and continuity . This may take place  through activities adaptable  to the place, the environment , its  sources , inherent energies , capabilities and heritage of local communities  , in addition to the  provision of service activity  required  for  their  residents .
Social  framework  :  A new community draws its population from two main exporters . These  of  migrant  existing  communities, especially in  the early stages of development  , and then ,  the natural population increase of the new settlers .
Urban  environment  :  Depends on the development of  communities  with   integrated  services ,  a self-identity which is  consistent with the  natural  givens of the locale , as well as an urban harmony with the territorial domain , as a whole  .
Urban Development   Management  : Entrenching a development vision  ,  philosophy  of  popular  and  community  participation in the management of  urbanism  processes ,  community development  and urban settlement  , through the mechanisms of  the  local  civil community   .

Thus we view the development of new communities as an urban   pole   , at  a  calculated distance from  existing  communities or others  under development  . The priority is  to settle a community  with its requirements and rights , with all  its inherited  legacies  ,  problems and  disadvantages , as well as its  energies , potentials  and advantages  .  Hence   ,   the  intervention of the social or communal   feasibility  come to act ,  according  to community-based criteria for the settlement of an existing , relocated , or growing  community . This is  in order  for   the   development  processes not to turn into an expulsion  practice  of  a  local community  , to  serve  national development  , risking  failure of  the  development experience or departure from  its  framework  . Our vision for the urbanism of such communities   is   perceived   as   new  communities  for the  settlement  of an old  or an existing community  following its relocation  . In a more abstract form the process may  be  expressed  as an urban upgrading  of an existing community on a  new locale  .

Our  vision  of  the development of existing urban communities , is crystallized  through a process of   extrapolation of  predicaments  that may be suffered   by  these communities  , such as  degradation  phenomena .  Hence , development  programs , for these communities , may be  identified  ,  in accordance with the priorities and in line with the conditions ,  community  and  urban  structure   within  the framework of  the  comprehensive development itself . These  may  be  defined   along  integrated  axes  which are  :
Justice .  The right of citizens for a better life , access to services ,  living   requirements   and   life   resources  , in the manner and quality  that  may support  a  dignified  life , and  within the framework of the priorities of the community  . This is   to  ensure  an  efficient  and equitable  distribution   of  these requirements and resources among  residents  of  urban  communities ,  that  collectively   form  an  entity of  a  city  . 
Participation  . Citizens   input   in   the development and  upgrading  stages of their locales  and  communities , may take place  through their  own individual and collective efforts  in cooperation with relevant  institutions  .  This is  to create a state of balance between state and community  ,  which   requires   the  formulation  of  institutional ,community-based  frameworks ,  for  those  involved , in order  to ensure the  widening  and  deepening  of  pro-active participation .  Moreover   they  are  to ensure  upgrading  local  management  and efficiency of the mechanisms governing this participation .
Sustainability  .  Refers to the Identification of community  capabilities , along  with  , the possibility of their  development for more compatibility with present-day  variables  and  continuous adaptation  . This  calls for an effective and positive role  by  end  users  , in the implementation of development programs; and the  reliance  on structured  methods for funding . This is to encompass  the support of the  state , non-governmental organizations,  community-based  associations, credit cooperatives and the like; as well as indirect forms of amassing  domestic resources by means of   mobilization  of the community .

So ,  this is the  vision which  we may  achieve through such an adopted  professional practice , through both of its axis the theoretical and the applied  over the various  fields  .  This  professional   practice  of  is not linked  to commercial activities, but it depends  on  a  vision  and a sense  of   responsibility  towards  the community, its  legal rights  for  a dignified  life  ,  and  societal framework of civilization . The ultimate aim is to achieve  the  following  :
•   Mating of  conceptual or hypothetical approaches  with applied possibility and realistic dimension of the  domain of the community  under study as proves  possible .
•  Reaching a profound  knowledge  of  the  physical reality, socially, historically and environmentally , and  identifying  an active role of the architect and urban designer in bringing  upon changes  in circumstances to achieve a better life for the individual  and the community .
•   Consolidation of  urbanism  as a communal  concept  to be adopted  by professionals, researchers , interested parties, as well as recipients of  community members  , who are the end users of this product of human creativity  .
•   Interaction   with  present  time  without  abandoning   inherited experiences  , by  embedding  their  positive aspects  and releasing  negative aspects  . This is   to establish an identity and a sense of belonging  , affiliation,  and to preserve the  individual and collective memory .
•   Monitoring  of  similar and identical  local and contemporary experiences , and  the  identification of  problems  , searching  for solutions  and  scrutinizing   them  through  analysis  and objective criticism  .



Tarek  Waly   Center , Architecture and Heritage
A  Professional Practice With a Dream for a Better Society

 

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;

  • Improving the visitor experience (lack of information, harassment by camel & horse drivers and souvenir peddlers)
  • Reducing the impact of visitors to the site (pollution from vehicles, bio-threat to plateau from horse and camel dung)
  • Providing a sustainable framework for the conservation and the study of the archaeology

These issues were addressed by the following;

  • Alternative mobility strategy

 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.

  • Alternative recreation & commercial strategy

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. 

  • Site Information Provision Strategy

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.

  • Phase one concerns the relocation of all non-historic buildings, and their contained activities, outside of the core monument area, and is due to be completed by September 2009.
  • Phase Two is the relocation of the main visitor entrance to the Cairo-Fayoum highway and is due to be completed in 2010. This phase comprises the completion of a visitor center and parking facilities and the internal dotto route. This route is divided into the main train that covers most important aspects of the site, and pedestrian routes. Smaller vehicles may be used for the elderly and the disabled to access the pedestrian zone.

 

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;

  • Core Heritage Zone (CHZ); comprising all built heritage and areas under excavation along with areas of the natural landscape that have witnessed significant ancient activity.
  • Buffer Zone (BZ) where development and activity may physically and visually affect the CHZ.
  • A Transitional Zone (TZ); where development and activity may visually affect the CHZ.
  • Guidelines for the preservation of the natural and built heritage of Giza fell under two categories;

­­Following these guidelines the heritage plan comprises the following;

Visitor experience:

  • There will be one visitor center located in the TZ and accessed from the Cairo-Fayoum HWY. It will provide information, ticketing, toilets, food & beverage, retail and other services, as well as parking space. Visitors will then take an environmentally-friendly dotto train to different parts of the site such as:
  • The Pyramid Precinct. Located in the heart of the CHZ, this area holds most of Giza’s monuments and will be a pedestrian-only zone with site-sympathetic services. From here visitors can access the pyramids, sphinx, temples and tombs via well marked paths, and will be able to understand the site through interpretation boards and models.
  • Panorama viewpoints. Three prominent hills overlooking the monuments will be accessible by visitors, providing breathtaking views of the site as well as interpretation information and models. These areas will provide excellent photo opportunities and will thus aid in relieving the CHZ from visitation traffic.
  • Riding & bazaar zone. This area will be located in the TZ, a safe distance away from the CHZ and separated by a security fence. It is also accessible by the local community that relies on the business of horse and camel riding as well as selling souvenirs.
  • While not part of the day-time visit, the Sound & Light Theatre will be accessed in the evening from its current entrance, the Sphinx Gate. The current theatre will be moved back 100m from its current location which rests within new archaeological exploration and is within the CHZ.

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.

  • A visitor centre providing information, ticketing, toilets, lockers and other relevant services must be the first point of entry to the site. It must be able to introduce the site to the visitor and contain all the information that could not be placed on the site. It must also provide awareness as to the rules required to maintain while on the site.
  • A site-controlled environmentally-friendly transit system must ferry visitors to the different parts of the site open for visitation and must be limited to the BZ. Stops along the route should be well-marked and provide shade, while services should be provided where the length of visit is more than 15 minutes.
  • While within the CHZ visitors will rely on well-marked pedestrian routes, punctuated by points for information and low-impact services.
  • Different day passes should be issued based on type of visit; leisure, tourist and adventure. This will ensure that each type of visitor experiences what they came to experience and that site-management authorities are able to spread the number of visitors on different parts of the site lowering their impact.
  • Visitation times should be made to follow the length of day-time with the seasons, especially in summer when it is hot to allow for early morning and late afternoon visits.

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.

  • Visitation in relation to unique solar phenomena that is significant to the site should be planned for. The sunrises of both equinoxes are highly significant, as is the summer solstice sunrise and sunset.

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 :

  • The complete recording of the tomb of Seti I
  • The rehabilitation and reuse of Stoppelaere as the 3D Scanning, Archiving and Training Centre in Stoppelaere House
  • The creation of a visitor centre where the facsimiles are made at a standard that is unmatched worldwide

Stopplaere overview

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.[1].. 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 lack of adequate maintenance, exposure to different Climate conditions, and previous improper interventions were ehind the bad condition of the house ... for example:
  • Applying electrical system improperly damaged most of the vaults and domes.
  • Adding extra bathrooms with poor sewerage system, a high water tank and ground water tank with poor plumbing resulted in a constant water leak to the underground soil. A limited settlement in took place and threatened the safety of the house.
  • The lack of maintenance severely affected both the mud brick and the plaster layers, and which gave most of the walls, domes and vaults critical cracks.
  • Most of the wooden work in the house sufferd from the attacks of wood bugs that transformed the wood into a highly fragil .

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

Physical interventions

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

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.