Gourn. Photo courtesy of dr. Heba safi el din
The forum in New Gourna was carried out under the umbrella of Egypt’s Ministry of Culture, and in collaboration with the Cultural Development Fund, Al Warsha theatrical troupe and Wamda troupe for Aragouz and shadow puppet arts.
The forum came as part of the cultural activities in New Gourna village, which reopened its doors last December after years of restoration.
The activities included a heritage sightseeing tour of the intangible heritage of the village that laid out the vision of its designer, renowned architect and philosopher Hassan Fathy (1900-1989). The tour was joined by Ahmed Abdel-Radi, the oldest resident of the village and the assistant to the late architect Hassan Fathi as well as an expert in green building methodology.
The children of the village, meanwhile, got to enjoy some of Egypt's most authentic arts: story telling, Aragouz (a type of traditional Egyptian puppetry) and shadow puppets.
Designed and built by Fathy between 1946-1952, New Gourna is the most famous of his works. The eco-friendly village based on traditional architecture of local heritage Egyptian buildings showcased the concept of supporting local communities and providing sustainable development
The village was built from mud bricks, and its homes reflected the ancient Egyptian style of domed roofs and internal yards, all using raw materials from the local environment.
New Gourna was the prototype that inspired his most famous publication, Architecture of the Poor, that was first published in 1976 and inspired generations of architects world-wide.