The village of New Gourna, situated on the west bank of Luxor was built at the end of the 1940 by worldwide renowned architect Hassan Fathy. The project was intended to relocate a rural community and provide a model for low-cost and sustainable habitat. This pioneer project was built in mud-brick, a low cost material in accordance to the local culture, climate and environment. The whole world recognizes the importance of these constructive and architectural solutions for low income communities in poor countries. Hassan Fathy can be considered as a visionary as today more than ever, the use of technologies which are appropriated to the environment are being seriously reconsidered. Unfortunately, since its construction, this unique architectural achievement has been undergoing serious degradations and is today severely damaged, if not to say, in decay. Despite several calls from the international community, no measures have yet been taken to preserve this heritage. An international association, SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY, was created last year in Geneva (Switzerland) to safeguard Hassan Fathy’s architectural heritage. One of the association’s main concerns since its creation has been the preservation of New Gourna village. The Egyptian authorities, UNESCO, Docomomo as well as the international union of architects have all been alerted. International assessment missions have been sent on the site and specialists in earth architecture from all over the world addressed the question of the safeguarding of New Gourna during the first international symposium on earth architecture held in Cagliari (Italy) in March 2009. Nevertheless, despite all these efforts and actions, the degradation process is ongoing. Recently, several houses have been destroyed and most of the other constructions are in a critical state of conservation. Moreover, a communal concrete building ordered by the local authorities is being constructed a few meters from the magnificent theatre built by Hassan Fathy. If nothing is done to stop this degradation process, the village of New Gourna, a key reference for generations of architects, engineers and specialists in earth architecture all over the world, is threatened to disappear. This is why the international association SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY is counting on your support and thanks you in advance for signing the petition and widely spreading the information. http://www.fathyheritage.com
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