2.2 Doxiadis Commentary on Fathy’s Housing Plan

Doxiadis commentary on Fathy’s housing plan:


  1. During the last ten days I have been studying the plans of villages, houses and buildings prepared by Professor Fathy. They are certainly a very important contribution to the research and design work which we are doing. In a few words I would like to say that while our work begins from the national conception and goes down to the details, Professor Fathy has worked from the very smallest detail upwards, building his village.
  2. It is now our duty to combine the two views in order to achieve a really national conception in the spirit of Ekistics which alone can serve the people. The reasons are that generalizations, general systems of ideas etc., can easily overlook the indispensable details of a master’s work, whilst on the other hand, the work only from the details up leads to the danger of not having the possibility of seeing solutions implemented at a scale which is the goal we all share.
  3. My remarks on the work already done can be classified in three basic categories: the first category refers to modules- there is an imperative necessity to keep the system of module as we have worked it out up to now for reasons that are well known. I can see that some of the designs of buildings cannot be solved with the Grid system of 3 meters. I propose to use the 3.60 modules system which, implemented on one of the plans of Professor Fathy, has been proved practical.
  4. The second basic remark is that we should not design one village or two villages or three villages and their corresponding buildings, houses and facilities but types of villages which can be repeated many times. This should not lead though to the idea to have the same type of village built exactly in the similar way everywhere, as that would be wrong. The unit should be the house and the single building. We therefore need to split the systems of buildings designed by Professor Fathy into types of buildings, one for classes another one for markets, another one for hammams, another one for mosques etc., which can be combined in many different ways. If we keep the grid which we agreed on in the beginning then we can have, in an easier way, several combinations.
  5. I therefore beg Professor Fathy to look into the types of buildings from this angle. We will not certainly have one type of mosque, we will have several and sometimes we cannot design the auxiliary buildings of the mosque which should be the connecting elements between several buildings and the mosque, but we should have the basic part of the mosque designed as a type of mosque. I beg Professor Fathy to look into the work for standardization of buildings which we have been doing lately with o-GAB [in Iraq].
  6. The third type of remark is what I would call a side planning remark since it refers to the movement of pedestrians which should be free from the movement of cars, and to plantation which should be natural, giving three solutions for covered walkways, for green squares, etc. From now on we will proceed in a way to implement these ideas, and give an assistant to Professor Fathy to help him, especially when he will be abroad, in order to reach solutions which are now straightforward because the basic elements have been studied and are the right ones.


Extracted from: Steele, James. An Architecture for People: The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.


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