Topic for Debate
Egyptian identity
I think we have to protect the Egyptian identity from the flow of globalization, i.e consuming the new dimensions of the globalization through our traditions and basics. So I would like if you agree with me or not and I am open for suggestions.
Tamer Ishak
Egyptian identity
Dear Tamer, I disagree on the fact that a confrontation in that sense exists, i actually strongle oppose the revivalist approach as it stands at the moment.If i understand you question correctly you want to preserve the identity which doesnt exist at the moment from what you see as a danger to the Egyptian culture, The problem with the revivalists who claim to be preserving the identity of Egypt is that they always seem to reject their vision of western "globalization" - normally refered to as the infamous inept glass box - by starting their design process knowing how it "should" look like, Ie: the bunch of traditional elements normally arranged out of scale and proportion just for the sake of it. Examples on that are countless in modern Egyptian architecture. I believe the existence of a proper contextual design that is environmentally aware and responsive to present social needs would produce a design that carries the Egyptian identity, its market forces and commercialism in architecture that we should in fact be confronting. Its in the very essence of islamic architecture, the last urban and architectural identity Egypt has had, that architecture doesnt come out of preconceptions on how it should be, and many those elements some architects adhere to religiously ( domes, arches and vaults, etc,.) did in fact evolve as a result of some of the aforementioned elements, as well as structural and economical reasons. the diversity of islamic architecture from isfahan to Granda stands as a evidence not only of a great civilization that was tolerant to the predominant cultures across the muslim world, but also of continous search for the best design possible without being tied to a not necessarily suitable image of what the design should be. With all due respect to the master Hassan Fathy, i believe his message has certainly been understood by many, in his long pursuit to design buildings that are beautiful, environmentally responsive, socially functional, inspired with its local culture and above all affordable. it seems a young generation totally unaware of his intentions has claimed linkage to him and his architecture by mimicing - and sometimes copying- the forms he produced, while claiming the preservation of Egyptian architecture. I believe if social, environmental and ecological issues are fully incorporated into architectural education and if a proper design process is reinstated ,i believe a spectrum of "good" designs will form what should be a modern Egyptian identity.
Karim Elgendy
Egyptian identity
Nice topic and may generate many discussions. It seems that I have missed it. It is very difficult to cope with the richness and variety of topics in the forum. Related to this discussion, below are three of my critical analysis articles that were presented and published at various events and can be downloaded from Archnet Digital Library.

-Contemporary Architecture of Egypt: Reflections on Architecture and Urbanism of the Nineties, 1999

- Glocalism and the Architecture of Resistance, 2001

- Running With or Against the Wind: A Closer Look at Egyptian Architecture in the Nineties, 2001
Ashraf Salama


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