"More than twenty years after work on New Gourna had ground to a halt, the architect was drawn back to the site again by a project for a touristic village there. Ostensibly, the idea behind the complex was to somehow fulfill the unrealized potential of New Gourna's close proximity to the ferry landings on the bank of the Nile and the main highway that sustains endless busloads of tourists travelling back and forth from these landings to the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. Vast tracts of the site never occupied by the original village are left tragically vacant by the architect in the new scheme, which turns its back on the portion of New Gourna that had been built between 1945 and 1948. Narrow linear pedestrian walkways separate long rows of shops and crafts workshops that present little or no wall surface to the cast or west, but all face predominantly north and south, grouped around irregularly formed inner courtyards. These straight lanes stand in dramatic contrast to the diagonal paths of the original village, as does the size and purpose of the central square, which features a restaurant rather than a mosque as its focal point. The governing factor, of course, was the overwhelming wish to make this new graft join successfully to the existing village, for the sake of each half. Where the original village was essentially residential and private (except for the central area and crafts khan) the new centre was intended to be commercial and public.
While closed groups of offset housing units and winding streets effectively protect privacy and inhibit strangers from entering, they are not really conducive to handling large crowds of tourists or to encouraging sales, and so the pedestrian system was changed. A main gate, located on the western side of the existing plaza, is meant to link old and new. To further ease the transition between the two, a diagonal lane is continued on into the centre of the touristic village that has the same character as the main streets in New Gourna, before confronting the pedestrian with straight, tree-lined walkways lined with shops."
Steele, James. 1989. The Hassan Fathy Collection. A Catalogue of Visual Documents at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Bern, Switzerland: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 18.
Fathy, Hassan. A Report On The Model Village Of Gourna And Some Of Its Objectives. 21 Dec. 1953. Hassan Fathy Archives. Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Geneva, Switzerland.
Presented To: The Committee Assigned To Oversee Grievances And Problems In The Gourna Project
Date: December 21, 1953
In this report, Hassan Fathy presents certain practical and distinct problems and obstacles that arose with the building and construction of the model village of New Gourna. These problems ranged from fair compensation to relocated villagers to ensuring that the new village met the needs of the diverse socioeconomic levels of the residents were met. Furthermore, he discusses the benefits, both scientific and architectural that sprouted from the project. He lastly discusses the different possible modes of operations used in completing the project.