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WHY VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE

When the problem of re-housing 7000 population of the Gourna was assigned by the Deparment of Antiquities, it was seen as an impossible project to realize. Because the occupants of the village was peasents, who had an average income level of 4 sterlins per year. This amount of money, though the public supporting funds are added, would not be enough for a small house only including the primitive requierements of the occupants. Moreover, the primitive dwelling would not be a solution for the housing problem as the spatial requirements of the peasent is thought: Any family needs a house that is adequately large, private and peaceful in itself for the occupants and also with space for the animals and other basic functions.

So far, at this point the studies of Hassan Fathy was recognized by the Department of Antiquities and then he is asked to design the housing project. Fathy's solution for the problem was totally different from the previous thoughts: it was outside the framework of the monetary system, not conceiving the house as a product of an industry, not containing concrete, steel, or something built by a factory. His solution was the vernacular architecture itself, with its essential material mud-brick and using the workforce of the occupants, not the educated labors to realize; but building in a way that an architect does.

The aspects of the problem that is solved by Fathy's approach was firstly the economical side: as this system cost %50 of the normal architect and contractor rate. The building material was mud and this cost nothing at all. Because of the money problem is solved the limits of the housing space was disappeared which meant that any family would have the house that fulfills their spatial requirements. Third solution was for the Hygiene problem as the space was healthy both by physical and mental needs of the occupant. The last solution was that of beauty, while the own lines of the mud-brick construction was pleasent, this is improved by the low costs of construction which gives a freedom in design.

 

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