Reappraising Hassan Fathy, the forgotten modernist

Hassan Fathy giving a lecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Zamalek, Cairo, 1976

Hassan Fathy was decades ahead of his time – but finally the Egyptian architect’s ideas as well as his techniques are attracting attention

Hassan Fathy was born in 1900 in Alexandria and graduated in architecture from Cairo’s King Fuad University in 1926. It was here, in the Egyptian capital, that he spent a large part of his life writing, designing and teaching.

Today, almost 30 years after his death at the age of 89, it might be legitimate to question why his name is nearly absent from the histories of modern architecture.

For a long time, Fathy’s work was associated with the idea of the vernacular and confined to the boundaries of critical regionalism, so making him a full member of that multifaceted family of architects who, due to their heterodox interpretation of modernity, were almost forgotten during their lifetimes.

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