Save Hassan Fathy’s Heritage

A Brief Note on

The relevance of Hassan Fathy’s architectural legacy in combatting climate change 

Hassan Fathy’s Gourna, like settlements all over the world will be impacted indirectly, if not directly, by climate change. Given that buildings are responsible nowadays for more than half of the energy consumption worldwide, New Gourna is positioned to be a model for how architects can cope with climate change with fourteen  tangible ways.

1.Use of biodegradable materials (adobe, stones, timber)

2. Use of locally available materials 

3. Re-use and recycling of materials 

4. Use of refuse and debris from domestic uses

5. Refrain from using concrete and synthetic materials 

6. Construct frames and roofs from local materials

7. Minimize use of fuel-using machinery

8. Depend on local labor to avoid carbon cost of transportation

9. Minimize transport of materials to reduce carbon cost

10. Design for passive energy to ensure adequate ventilation, reduction of thermal loss, maximize use of daylight.

11. Normalize peaks in temperature variations through exposed thermal mass and vaulted ceilings.

12. Minimize use of electricity by maximizing use of local materials for lighting, heating and cooking.

13. Design for economically viable, socially equitable and resilience (minimal construction costs, attention to social organization and participation of local labor,  and ease of maintenance by inhabitants with local materials).

14. Build with nature to ensure regeneration of natural materials, environmental conservation, recycling of organic and inorganic house byproducts of domestic activities.

1cf. S. Altomonte, 2009, Climate Change and Architecture: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable DevelopmentJournal of Sustainable Development

Fekri Hassan

Fekri Hassan is a geoarchaeologist. After studying geology and anthropology, Hassan commenced teaching at Washington State University department of Anthropology in 1974. From 1988 to 1990 he acted as advisor to the Ministry of Culture of Egypt. Currently professor  emeritus, he had formerly held the chair of Petrie Professor of Archaeology (1994-2008) of the Institute of Archaeology and department of Egyptology of University College London. Program Director Master’s of Cultural Heritage Management,[1] French University of Egypt in partnership with the Paris-Sorbonne University. Editor of the African Archaeological Review journal, contributory editor of The Review of Archaeology he is also honorary president of the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation.

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