Kapoors Year 5: Right Round The World travel blog

When We Heard About A 1940s 'Housing For The Poor' Project, Designed...

Hassan Fathy Built The First House As A For The Grandfather Of...

I Was Delighted To See This Face Of The God Amun On...

Here You Can See Suhier With Her Father, He Showed Us Around...

I Have Always Loved The Look Of Adobe Architecture, So It Was...

These Two Rooms Have Been Converted Into A Modern Toilet And Washroom

Most Of The Passages Have Arches And Don't Require Any Wood Trim...

An Age-Old Way To Get To The Roof

Suhier's Grandmother Had Asked For A Place For Her Pigeons, These Pots...

Up On The Second Floor, We Could See A Vent To Let...

Shuier And Her Brother Posed Next To The Fireplace In The Sitting...

Here You Can Get A Better Idea Of How The Fireplace Is...

We Sat In The Same Room To Watch A Short Video Prepared...

In Another Room, We Were Shown How The Beds Are Set Into...

A Long Room With Adobe Benches On Either Side Led From The...

I Was Surprised To See That Suhier's Mother Prepares The Family Bread...

Chopped Straw Is Burned In The Oven Instead Of Wood

Suhier Showed Us A Metal Gas Oven That Is Used For Baking...

Across The Street, As Short Stroll Away, Is The Mosque Designed By...

The Arched Rooms Surrounding In The Interior Garden Are Used For Meetings...

After Visiting The Mosque We Went To See The Village Theatre, What...

I Love The Contrast Of Light And Shadow Here In The Desert,...

I Had Such A Laugh When We Entered The Open-Air Theatre, The...

I Can Just Imagine 'Romeo And Juliet' Being Performed From This Balcony!

We Learned That They Screen Films Here As Well, These Are The...

Looking Back, We Could See The Seating, Constructed From Durable Stone, Not...

More Light And Shadow As We Turned To Leave The Theatre

These Adobe Buildings Were Designed To Function As A Market, But Time...

This Is A Typical Street Scene In The Villages On The West...

The Old Houses Designed By Hassan Fathy Suffered Serious Damage Because The...

Another Problem Developed With The Arched Doorways Constructed Of The Mud Bricks

We Were Shown A House That Was Being Repaired, The Arches And...

A Wooden Form Is Used To Support The Bricks While The Mortar...

Different Sized Forms Are Prepared, Depending On The Size Of The Arch...

All The Materials Are Piled And Awaiting The Workers

One Young Man Was Mixing The Cement By Hand And Carrying It...

Large Rocks Are Stored As Well, They Will Be Used To Pave...

Here You Can See A Large Dome, Already Completed, With Mud Brick...

As This Room Is To Be The Bathroom, Red Bricks Are Used...

I Was Surprised To Learn That The Old Mud Bricks Can Be...

Here You Can See The Newly Formed Bricks, Set In The Sun...

This Is The Street-Side Of The House Under Renovation, It Will Be...

The Mosque Looked Lovely As We Walked Back To The Little Museum,...


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KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

During our last few days in Luxor, we were casting about for things we could do within walking distance of our hotel, and we were lucky to hear about the Hassan Fathy Housing Project in New Gourna, several kilometres from our hotel, not far from the Nile, but a walkable distance because the weather is so pleasant these days.

We set off after breakfast and before we knew it, we were walking by Ashraf’s alabaster factory. I decided that I would like to stop for a minute and take another short video of the artisans working in front of the shop. I am really new to taking videos on my camera and I found that in my first attempt at filming the man drilling out the center of the vase, I had turned the camera off after only a few seconds of filming.

This was somewhat of an improvement over the very first video I took with my camera. I’m so used to taking many of my photos in the portrait position and not just the ‘landscape’ position, that I filmed the famous pandas in China sideways. If I want to view the video, I have to turn the computer on its side, or else lie down to watch.

I took a few minutes of video and then we continued towards New Gourna. We hadn’t gone more than a few metres when Ashraf pulled up in his car and insisted, we get in. He couldn’t fathom that we would really want to walk all the way. When we explained that we were walking to get some exercise after eating all the delicious food that he was preparing for us every day, he told us we could walk back, but that he wanted to take us to the village because he wanted to be sure that we found the housing project. In the end, I’m glad that he insisted, because the project was not on the main street and we might not have been able to explain to anyone what we had come to see.

We spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Suhier and her family as she showed us around the home that Hassan Fathy had built for her grandparents. Because we showed a great deal of interest and we made a small donation to the ‘museum’, Suhier’s father showed us the mosque, the theatre and the other few buildings that were built by Hassan Fathy. We particularly enjoyed seeing a house that was being renovated, with the old mud bricks being ‘recycled’ into new mud bricks.

It wasn’t until we were on the internet at a later date that we learned that the project had been somewhat of a failure in Gourna. The villagers who were being moved from their traditional homes constructed atop the ancient tombs near the Valley of the Kings, the Queens and the Nobles, were not at all happy to move to new housing and they were more interested in having ‘modern’ cement buildings like the ones being built across the Nile in Luxor.

In the end, they eventually moved to some characterless sprawling buildings that were constructed further north near where our hotel is situated. I don’t know if it was in retaliation or not, but the government has not yet provided adequate public transport for the resettled residents and they have to travel a long way to work at the shops, factories and farms nearer to the Nile.

I found an interesting website that explains the architects hopes for the new village and some of the issues that prevented it from being a success. Please click here if you would like to read on, there are some good photos as well. Hassan Fathy’s New Gourna

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