UNESCO, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the Governorate of Luxor, organising the first Scientific Committee meeting on the safeguarding project of New Gourna Village in Luxor, Egypt. The UNESCO initiative aims to assist the Government of Egypt in its efforts to preserve this precious heritage situated within the World Heritage property of Ancient Thebes. New Gourna Village was designed and built by the famous Egyptian architect, Hassan Fathy (1900-1989), to shelter the community of Old Gourna.
Today was the first day of the Committee meeting and Luxor Times was there and you can find below Mr. Francesco Bandarin speech and Mr. Samir Farag will be published later.
Mr. Francesco Bandarin(UNESCO Assistant Director-General,Culture Sector):
Firstly,I’d like to thank you Mr. Governor; as you mentioned, a year ago, you and I had agree to commence this imitative. If it wasn’t for your support and decision to help,we would not be here today to celebrate the beginning of a new adventure that fullfills the dream of a great man,Hassan Fathy, that his life could not see. So we are here for that,to honour him and to recognise his forward looking vision. This man saw the future before anybody else,a future that we now ready to see,that future that he made concrete,so to speak, in his little village. Also,I’d like to thank the experts,and ask them to introduce themselves.
We are here to discuss how to make of this project a real flagship – a flagship for Luxor,for Egypt,for UNESCO, and for theworld. We have this potiential today to construct an initiative that will shine for the world,for new directions of where to go in order to face the crises that face theworld today in such things as sustainability. It has been almost 60 years since New Gourna was built,and perhaps we can have a celebration. We’ll have to make a big party, but this party will have to be celebrated with an initiate that will look at New Gourna as a restored village we would like first to restore the ideas and construction of the original idea.
We will continue to value the community and to benefit the life of the community but at thesame time,as a sign of modernity,we would like to install a new institution – an institution derived from Hassan Fathy’s vision – but will go forward from there. We have envisioned that somewhere in the area of the village,we will build a new international centre for sustainable architecture, that will be named for Fathy, that will provide training and research to both Egypptian and international students so that the principle ideas of Hassan Fathy can be multiplied and projected into the future – the same humanistic vision that he had established so long ago. This centre will be a centre that will receive students from all over the world; many of the members of this scientific commenrate bring their students all over the world for research and training – we will have to open the dorrs for all theses people to train here – to be trained in the houses that Fathy established so long ago. Thank you again Samir – today os almost like a dream. I am an architect as you know – I was trained in Italy , and one of my readings when I was young was Fathy’s Architecture of the poor, that deeply interested me, which I think all our colleagues here can say. Therefore,to launch this project and the Hassan Fathy centre for sustainable Architecture, is deeply emotional intuitive. I am sure that in the coming years we will be able to continue,and make a major initiative that will reflect the vision of a new humanism that UNESCO is erecting,and the willingness of Egypt to contribute t the wellbeing of the world. Thank you at this starting point; we have not started yet,but I think that we have all the tools that we need to start.
Members of the Scientific Committee
Mr. Benno Albercht (Venice University’s Institute of Architecture), Ms. Erica Avrami (World Monument Fund), Mr. Baba Alpha Ismail Cisse(Bureau d’Etudes d’Architecture et d’Urbanism),Ms. Leila El-Wakil(University of Geneva),Mr. Hubert Guillaud(CRAterre-ENSAG),Mr. John Hurd(ICOMOS),Mr.Josheph King (ICCROM),Ms. Adelina Picone(Federico II University of Naples,Ms. Jana Revedin(Jana Revedin Architect),Mr.James Steele(University of Southern California),Ms. Ana Tostoes (DOCOMOMO) and Ms. Gihane Zaki(Ministry of Culture-Egypt)
Mr. Francesco Bandarin ( Assistant Director-General,Culture Sector), Mr. Lazare Eloundou Assomo (World Heritage Centre,Chief Africa Unit) and Ms. Franca Miglioli (World Heritage Centre,Programme Specialist)
Also Mr. Francesco Siravo (Aga Khan Trust for Culture)