Hassan Fathy
Variant Names Hasan (First name)
Fathi (Last name)
Born 1900Died 1989Gender MaleCountry of Origin Egypt

Fathy devoted himself to housing the poor in developing nations and deserves study by anyone involved in rural improvement. Fathy worked to create an indigenous environment at a minimal cost, and in so doing to improve the economy and the standard of living in rural areas. Fathy utilized ancient design methods and materials. He integrated a knowledge of the rural Egyptian economic situation with a wide knowledge of ancient architectural and town design techniques. He trained local inhabitants to make their own materials and build their own buildings. Climatic conditions, public health considerations, and ancient craft skills also affected his design decisions. Based on the structural massing of ancient buildings, Fathy incorporated dense brick walls and traditional courtyard forms to provide passive cooling.

23 March 1900 Born in Alexandria, Egypt.

Graduated from High School of Engineering, Architectural Section, University of King Fuad I (now University of Cairo), Cairo.

Worked at the Department of Municipal Affairs, Cairo.

1930-1946 Taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo.

Designed and exhibited first mud brick projects - country houses for Lower Egypt.

Constructed first mud brick structures incorporating the inclined vault - experimental housing in Bahtim, Egypt, commissioned by the Royal Society of Agriculture.

Delegated to the Antiquities Department to design and supervise the project of New Gourna Village at Luxor, to displace the inhabitants of the Old Gourna from the Antiquities Zone.

Appointed Director of the School Building Department, Ministry of Education.

Delegated Consultant to the United Nations Refugee World Assistance.

Returned to teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo. Head of the Architectural Section in 1954.

Joined Doxiades Associates in Athens as consultant. Lecturer on Climate and Architecture at the Athens Technical Institute. Member of the Research Project for the City of the Future.

Director of Pilot Projects for Housing, Ministry of Scientific Research, Cairo. Designed High Institute of Social Anthropology and Folk Art for the Ministry of Culture, Cairo. Worked as Consultant to the Minister of Tourism, Cairo. Delegated by the United Nations Organization for Rural Development Project in Saudi Arabia.

Lectured on philosophy and aesthetics in Town Planning and Architecture Department at al-Azhar University.

Lectured on rural housing at the Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University.

Member, Steering Committee, Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Founder and Director, the International Institute for Appropriate Technology.


Member of the High Council of Arts and Letters, Egypt. Honorary Fellow, American Research Centre, Cairo.
Honorary Fellow, American Institute of Architecture, 1976.


1959 Encouragement Prize for Fine Arts and Gold Medal.

National Prize for Fine Arts and Republic Decoration.

Chairman's Award, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
1984 Union Internationale des Architectes, Gold Medal.
(Source: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture. 1989. The Hassan Fathy Collection. A Catalogue of Visual Documents at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Bern, Switzerland: AKTC.)