Hassan Fathy (1900 – 1989, Arabic: حسن فتحي) was a noted Egyptian architect who pioneered appropriate technology for building in Egypt, especially by working to re-establish the use of mud brick (or adobe) and traditional as opposed to western building designs and lay-outs. Fathy was recognized with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Chairman’s Award in 1980.
Hassan Fathy was cosmopolitan trilingual professor-engineer-architect, amateur musician, dramatist, and inventor. He designed nearly 160 separate projects, from modest country retreats to fully planned communities with police, fire, and medical services, with markets, schools and theatres, with places for worship and others for recreation, including many, functional buildings including laundry facilities, ovens, and wells. He utilized ancient design methods and materials, and 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.
An appreciation of the importance of Fathy’s contribution to world architecture became clear only as the twentieth century waned. Climatic conditions, public health considerations, and ancientcraft 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. Fathy is also renowned for having revived the traditional Nubian vault.