2.3 The Clash of Doxiadis and Fathy
When Fathy first took a position in Doxiades Associates in 1956, he shared a similar view with Doxiadis, believed that the community should involve in the building process that bonded them in a mutual belief. Fathy also had strong belief in Doxiadis’ ekistics and sectoring idea that implemented on the plan of Iraq, which when combined with a recognition of the historical formulation of architectural space (Fig.1), and the engagement of the people in the construction process, they could reverse the prevailing trends and build a Arab metropolis.
Nevertheless, even though both Doxiadis and Fathy had shared the same idea on building a modern Arab city, the way of execution and fundamental interpretation of the idea are different, which caused the contradiction in the design of the housing plans by Fathy and the general view of the Iraq of Doxiadis. Whilst the units designed by Fathy are building from the smaller details, Doxiadis viewed the design planning in a much larger scale, resulting his commentary on Fathy’s plan (refer to historical document: Doxiadis Commentary on Fathy’s housing plan) saying that there was danger in failing to perceive a solution of the plan in a larger view.
Moreover, Doxiadis, as a planner, inclined to categorized designs that can be used to build various villages instead of tailoring houses and mosques specifically for a village, which this was exactly what Fathy was doing as he saw it was very important to design houses that can accommodate the clients’ best need and opposed mass consumption that washed away the meaning of architecture (refer to historical document: The Ideology of Hassan Fathy).
The humanistic approach of Fathy is entirely different, and incompatible in some sense, with that of Doxiadis, who thought that ekistics is a co-ordination, and reconciliation of human settlement that goes beyond architecture, extended to the field of economists, sociologists and even politicians. In short, Doxiadis’ idea of ekistics is purely about the unity of multidiscipline in solving the problems in human settlements, whilst Fathy was believing in diversity that promote local tradition and culture and seeking a place’s own identity. The growth of a city, in the view of Fathy, has singular characteristics that are unique of its own, and the pace that the city adopts is in relevance of time. On the other hand, Doxiadis’ addressed the issue with the concept of synchronizing time, which is proven to be wrong later.
Fig.1 Iraq housing program, government of the Republic of Iraq, 1958. By Hassan Fathy with Doxiadis Associates
Fig.2 Iraq housing program, government of the Republic of Iraq, 1958. By Hassan Fathy with Doxiadis Associates.
Fig.3 Iraq housing program, government of the Republic of Iraq, 1958. By Hassan Fathy with Doxiadis Associates.
Fig. 4 Iraq housing program, government of the Republic of Iraq, 1958. By Hassan Fathy with Doxiadis Associates.
- Steele, James. An Architecture for People: The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
- Serageldin, Ismail. “Hassan Fathy.” 2007.