Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil graduated from Ain-Shams University in Cairo, where, from 1965 to 1970, he lectured in the Department of Architecture. El-Wakil has acknowledged the importance of Hassan Fathy to his design development. Since 1971 El-Wakil has been in private practice as an architect. (Source: Architecture and Community: Building in the Islamic World Today. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Millerton, NY: Aperture. 1983.)
The client requested a small weekend house with " tradition and character ," that incorporated traditional vault and dome forms. The architect, under the constraints of a limited budget, sought to meet these demands by using a geometric ordering principle and simple materials.
This 3500 square meter site is located near the Pyramids to the west of Cairo and lies on flat, green, agricultural land with many sycamore and palm trees. The immediate vicinity used to have farm houses and tourist facilities, but the rapid development of densely built multistory apartment blocks has drastically changed its character. The main entrance to the house overlooks an asphalt road which runs along a canal in Giza.
The small house contains a domed living room next to which lies an alcove fireplace, a dining area and small kitchen, and an enclosed courtyard. An upper level loft contains the sleeping area and bathroom. The courtyard accommodates outdoor living and sleeping requirements; it contains a small fountain in its center. The peripheral walls are punctured on three sides; wooden mashrabiyas provide privacy while promoting cross-ventilation.
Taking advantage of a nearby factory, the entire structure is brick. Wooden joists are used for the flat ceilings of the dining and kitchen areas and the upper loft. Facades are rendered in white cement plaster.