Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1980.
The architect has drawn upon traditional Islamic or Egyptian prototypes for the design of this house. In addition to the courtyard and its fountain, the house has a loggia, a wind catch, alcoves, masonry benches and a belvedere. Except for the master mason, plasterer and carpenter, who were skilled craftsmen, all other labour was done by local unskilled Bedouins. The vaults and arches were constructed by the "inclined arch" system without shuttering. The house works very well in Egypt's hot climate. The walls and roof are designed to provide good insulation, sunlight filters through mashrabiyyas, and the courtyard -- which is in shade throughout the day -- draws fresh sea air down through the wind catch. The paving materials also play their part; the marble in the living areas is cool, and the Muqattam stone used outdoors gives a surface that can be walked on with bare feet even at the height of summer. The design and construction, in the words of the jury, "represent a dedicated search for identity with traditional forms. The courtyard plan, the use of domes, vaults and arches, the articulation of space and sensitive use of light combine to produce a house which fully satisfies contemporary needs. This imaginative handling of traditional vocabulary is also enhanced by the consistent use of traditional methods of construction and the careful attention to details and craftsmanship."
Halawa House On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1980.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.