Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hassan Fathy's New Gourna: Past, Present, Future

In 1945, the Department of Antiquities commissioned the renowned architect Hassan Fathy to design and construct a new settlement to which the inhabitants of Old Gourna were to be relocated, in an effort to curtail suspected looting at the nearby Pharaonic sites and facilitate tourism development. New Gourna was at once his greatest achievement and most profound disappointment. Though Fathy's project was meant to shelter 20,000 inhabitants, only part of the plan was realized between 1946 and 1949, due to political and financial complications and opposition on the part of the residents to relocation. The constructed New Gourna included housing and many public facilities. Today, however, nearly 40 percent of the village has been lost due to lack of maintenance and demolitions. - World Monuments Fund

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