In Quest of an Approach for Existence in Desert Architecture
Architectural Hymns

This book does not tackle desert architecture in conventional technical terms. Rather, it presents visions, through which the author indulges in the romantic attributes of the desert, where man has to make the most of his inventiveness to cater for his natural instinct to be and to exist.This book addresses desert architecture, or rather an approach for existence. It is in search of realism and an escape to fantasy. Man is born to exist and exists to die. Between birth and death, he is held instinctively responsible, by The Creator, for the development of Earth. It is a lasting and evolving symphony, with no intrusion of chaotic melodies.


In accordance with this principle, the author believes that the inevitable presence and existence of man call for challenge and harmony. Challenge for existence, and harmony for survival All creatures, in absence of their will, are born to die. Man is the only creature entitled for the possession of mind, choice, and the will to be and to exist. Survival of the legacy of accumulated inheritance has been carried from his predecessors to his successors, in a continuous track. Man has spread in sub-cultural groups, communities, and tribes in different regions, zones, and localities under different circumstances. Variations and differences between sub - cultural cell members are bound to unify. Autism between differences is still to be accommodated within the boundaries of integration and harmony.

This creative diversity of cultures and civilizations has thrived. Successive generations have inherited cultures, and developed them. Man has snapped Mout of the instinctive status of an object to that of a status of an actor with a will. It is that for developing the earth, according to the approach of being and existence, within the absolute symphony of the universe. Man has been its composer, player and, recipient.


Pausing at the approach for existence in desert architecture, we may hear and see In this book, through the universal symphony, three architectural hymns in full harmony. They may belong to different epochs and cultural circumstances, however, their composition, formats and resonance are melodious. Although different cultures and civilizations had produced the composers, however their wills unified around the deserts of Egypt. Architectural hymns have varied, but the desert - scape have proudly survived, as a reality and a meaning.

The The first hymn is delivered by history. It covers a period extending since the fourth century AD. It concerns a Coptic Egyptian village which had existed in defiance of the Roman religious persecution, in addition to the challenge to the natural conditions. Bagawat , the village presented , has survived for more than one thousand and five hundred years.

Another hymn simulates the life of a community lived by its inhabitants and induced self development and continued to develop its architecture to the present day. A vernacular architecture was adopted by the collective instinct of the inhabitants, to satisfy the variables and to challenge extinction. This has resulted in the constant existence for hundreds of years as oasis architecture.


The third hymn comes as the product of the mind of the creative individual, who is the temporal modern architect, with contemporary cultural and civilization attributes. He has realised, and understood his intellect and his place, which has lead him, through his own will, to hold on to his originality and contemporaneous. Thus he has innovated his masterpieces of architectural works, in line with the conditions of his environment and awareness of its potentials. Architecture created by the Egyptian architect "Hassan Fathy" with his followers and disciples following his footsteps, they have expressed their creativity through vernacular architecture of building systems.

Architectural hymns.Understood by he who wants his architecture to survive:

In Quest of an Approach for Existence in Desert Architecture.

Tarek Waly

January 5, 1996

Language: Arabic