The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy


An Architecture for People: The Complete Works of Hassan Fathy reviews the ideas and designs of Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy (1900-1989), best known for his striking Architecture for the Poor (University of Chicago, 1973), which described his efforts to create the village of New Gourna for 7,000 displaced Egyptian peasants known as the Gourni. Fathy sought to empathize with their lifeworld and to find architectural means whereby the new village would sustain their traditional way of life yet at the same time make life better by drawing on sustainable technology.

Steele, an architect himself, presents Fathy’s built projects and discusses the design philosophy underlying his work. Steele’s book is a tribute to Fathy as a compassionate designer and as a master craftsman who held strongly to traditional values and beliefs at a time when the historical amnesia and standardization of Modernist architecture dominated.


Node 1 and Contour Crafting

“Node 1” is a conceptual architecture project by French Architect Fran├žois Roche which lacks most of the usual architectural accoutrements: blueprints, material suppliers, subcontractors. Instead, Roche imagines a programmable assembly device dubbed the “viab,” a construction robot capable of improvising as it assembles walls, ducts, cables, and pipes. A viab would produce structures that are not set and specific, but impermanent and malleable – merely viable – made of a uniform, recyclable substance like adobe.

The closest thing to a viab today is a modest mud-working robot, called “contour crafter”, invented by Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of engineering at the University of Southern California. Two years ago, California-based architect Greg Lynn was talking to Khoshnevis about the same topic. [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]