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."
Holod, Renata and Darl Rastorfer, editors. Architecture and Community. New York: Aperture, 1983.
To many Westerners, the Taj Mahal in all its splendor typifies Islamic architecture. Yet, the overwhelming majority of Muslims live on the very margin of human existence, far from such grandeur. The merging of Islam's rich cultural heritage with modern technology to help solve problems of individual survival in the contemporary world forms the heart of Architecture and Community. The fifteen projects celebrated in this volume are the winners of the first (1980) Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Most of the projects reflect the present period of transition in Islamic architecture, marked by experimentation and the search for forms responsive to human needs. The hospitals, schools and libraries, homes and hotels, urban-renewal schemes and restorations honored help to redefine architectural excellence as they attempt to resolve the most basic and critical issues confronting the poor peoples of developing nations. The Islamic world is commencing a journey of discovery that helps point the way for future building throughout the world. Architecture and Community brings to life in photographs and drawings and in essays by architects, urban planners, sociologists, and philosophers a mandate for all countries to develop an architecture that is centered on the needs, both practical and spiritual, of man. Architecture and Community is the first in a series of books under the general title "Building in the Islamic World Today".