It's the first book dedicated to the architect, and it takes a personal approach in including personal letters and unpublished drawings.
A book chronicling the works and life philosophies of renowned Egyptian modernist architect, Hassan Fathi (1900-89) is set to be released in a couple of weeks. Earth and Utopia takes a personal approach in that it includes personal letters, unpublished drawings, interviews and photography.
Having been awarded the Aga Khan Chairman's Award for Architecture in 1980, Fathi is most famously known for merging traditional Arab architecture with principles of modernism. In 2017, Google recognised the architect's skill in pioneering innovative approaches in architecture while still honouring traditions, with one of their google doodles dedicated to his memory.
While he came from a wealthy background and pursued a more Western form of training, he held on to traditions. The architect worked on creating models for the communities that needed it most and aimed to include a form of modernism that would still retain the local context of Egypt. He focused much of his work on housing and collective living. One of his developments blazing the trail for future works included the New Gourna project (1943) where he devised a courtyard layout to host both residential and public life. Fathy believed that "if you want to design for people, you have to go and understand their way of life.”
Fathy was also a playwright, a painter in that he created architecture in water colours and a journalist in that he interviewed the community about life experiences. The architect worked towards improving the state of rural Egypt.
Earth and Utopia is written by architect and writer Salma Samar Damluji who worked closely with Fathy. Architect and scholar Viola Bertini who researched a PhD on Fathy at IUAV Venice, is also a co-writer. Check out the iconic architect's work:
Main image taken from cdn.wallpaper.com