Topic for Debate
Classifying Egyptian Architecture: Post 1950 Styles & Trends
Dear fellow members,

For my work on an architectural guide to Egypt, I hope to draw on your collective expertise in establishing a firmer understanding of architectural developments in Egypt in the past half century.

So far I have found articles by Salama (Contemp. Arch. of Egypt; Against the Wind?; Glocalism) and Kulterman among others. It will be some time before I can get a hold of Hammad (1963) and Zaitun (1993), and others which I expect to add to this matter. (I hope to be in Cairo in January 2005).

From what I have read so far, I suggest we can speak of one general architectural trap which Egyptian architecture should try to avoid: the trap of copy-paste, be it blindly copying from ones own past, or from someone elses present.

Secondly, I suggest we can say that architecture in Egypt is asked to address the following commonly felt needs:

  • to break down and surpass the tradition and modernity dichotomy.
  • to connect to (or to help form a) local identity in the face of globalisation.
  • in vernacular architecture: to establish building customs befitting the goal of sustainable development.
Proceeding to classifying the architecture of the past fifty years, I cant find anything on the fifties, sixties or seventies, except for Hasan Fathys work (which cant be said to have been exemplary for these decades). Then only as of the eigthies and nineties, Salama has established the following three tendencies (he hesitates to call them trends, let alone styles):
    Historicism/Hist. Revivalism
    Regionalised Modernism/Modernised
    Regionalism (RM/MR)
    Basic Design
From what I understand from the literature, all these tendencies should be seen as befitting postmodern architecture we find in Western countries. (Yet as for Basic Design, it appears modern, not postmodern to me). As for that matter, I would like to know your thoughts on the question when and where postmodern architecture first enter the Egyptian scene.

Then how should we exactly understand the difference between historicism and RM/MR? Why shouldn't we lump the Serena Beach Resort at Quseir under the heading of historicism, instead of RM/MR?

Lastly, what are your thougts on the Burg al-Qahira and the Mugamma, in terms of stylistic classification? They were built in that timespan on which there appears to be no literature, but they must get their place in a book on architecture in Egypt.

Thank you very much for your thoughts,
Robbert Woltering MA MSc

Robbert Woltering
Classifying Egyptian Architecture: Post 1950 Styles & Trends
so Robbert, after all these years, did you find the answers for the above questions..?
If you did, please advice on how to reach them, or guide me to ur answers, if you wrote them; as I am trying to answer nearly the same questions..
Thank you for your help..
Omar Nasrat
Classifying Egyptian Architecture: Post 1950 Styles & Trends
oh by the way my email is '', if u needed it to contact me..
Omar Nasrat


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