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hassan fathy head
Archaeologists confine their attention to broken pots and effaced inscriptions, their austere discipline being enlivened from time to time by the discovery of a hoard of gold. But for architecture, they have neither eyes nor time. - An Experiment in Rural Egypt 1969

A quote that gives two conclusions; 1. Hassan followed and read the publications on ancient Egypt and searched for Architecture. Hassan was concerned with the revival of Egyptian architecture and looked for guidelines. H.F.'s importance is of him being the first voice inside Egypt to call for the revival of the architecture of the indigenous. the Egyptian architecture.

Egyptian Proportions in Hassan Fathy's Work

Fathy began Factoring Pi 3.14 and Phi 1.61 and lyrical spaces and multiples of the Pharaonic cubit 46cm in the intervals used in the plan of rooms height of walls and doors and depth of squinch zones in order to infuse each spatial unit with consistently well-centered, uplifted dynamic
Abdel Moneim Abu Bakr
Abdel Moneim Abu Bakr

A source of inspiration for Fathy's formalized proportional system came from archeologist as R.A. Schivaller de Lubicz and his research on The Egyptian vault was definitely enriched by Egyptian Egyptologists as Dr Abdel Moneim Abu Bakr and Dr. Alexander Badawy.

Hassan cited the work of Dr A.M. in his article in La Revue du Caire Mai 1951. La Voute dans l architecture Egyptienne. For more information please look at Hassan Fathy and Egyptian Architecture.

Fathy met de Lubicz while working in Luxor on the new Gourna project. At that time, de Lubicz was developing a body of research on the Temple of Luxor that indicated the Pharaos knowingly related human proportions to plan-form. Fathy became enamored of a possible architecture theory whereby mathematical functions relating dimensions could introduce human scale in architecture while relating all elements into an overall harmonic unity. [4]

A rush google search on de Lubicz will show words as alternative Egyptology and pseudoarchaeological. if we put aside the claimer and study the claim on it is own. We find some thoughts worth mentioning: before relating the design of Luxor Temple with Human body, we need to understand how the Egyptians describe the Temple as a whole and the shrine of the holiest. Did the Egyptians relate the brain or the heart to the holiest chamber ? did the other temples follow the same design? is it a single case? Are we twisting a narrative to fit with our beliefs?

To what extent did H.F. Apply what he experienced from the later three is not clear to me so far.

However one is clear, Fathy applied the concept and design of the Malqaf and for more details please read

Egyptian Proportions in Alexander Badawy's work

1968, one year before H.F.'s book, A.B. Published his third Volume of A History of Egyptian Architecture.

Alexander Badawy

'It is apparent that the Egyptian architecture was designed according to a harmonic system based upon the use of square and triangles... There is also sufficient evidence about the occurrence of the numbers from the Fibonacci Series... ' - A study of Harmonic system, A.B.

Osiris's Triangel
On Osiris's Triangel

"Most beautiful kind of triangle, 1 because they liken it to the nature of the universe, and Plato seems to employ this figure in his "Republic," when drawing up his Marriage scheme. The triangle, too, has this property—three the right angle, and four the base, and five the hypothenuse, being of equal value with the lines containing it"[6]


Egyptian door in Gold

8 : 3 Rectangular, Egyptian door proportions
8 : 3 Rectangular

The simple design of Egyptian doorways conforms to a harmonic system with varying proportions which can be expressed by formulas. The analysis of a few examples from different periods shows that the module was the width of the aperture l in terms of which the whole width including both doorjambs L, the height of the aperture h, and the full height H, were designed either graphically with squares and 8:5 triangles or by simple calculation with ⲫ- 8:5.

Doorways &windows in Egypt

The resulting schemes further prove the architect's versatility even in the commonest details.

Double False-Door Temple Palace
Double False-Door Temple Palace

This large and very elaborate false door exemplifies the use of harmonic design in architectural elements. As usual in scenes the plinth represents the ground level above which is suit the design. The constructional diagram is a square topped with an 8:5 triangle. Two panels are set symmetrically on either side of a central pillar emphasizing the vertical axises.

Each panel is again based on a square topped with a triangle. An 8:5 lozenge lattice forms the smaller panels above the cornice, even to the minutest details such as the inclination in the posture of the arms of a kneeling personage.

Capitals of Columns

(triangles, Papyriform, Lotiform)

egyptian column

The design of capitals is based on 1:2, 1:4, and 8:5 Triangles.

Town Planning 𓈈

 El Lahun
''The plan of the workmen's city at El Lahun is based on a module that forms the unit of the grid. A similar grid seems to have been used to set the constructional diagram of the plan or elevation of monumental buildings. As a rule, this constructional diagram is symmetrical and is formed of a square with one or more 8:5 (base: height) isosceles triangles abutting it axially. As the 8:5 triangle embodies the harmonic ratio of the Golden Number (1.618), any diagram comprising such units as this triangle and one or more squares set axially forms a harmonic framework, into which the plan or elevation may be set. It seems, at least in some examples, that the actual basic dimensions that determine the significant points of the plan were chosen from the consecutive numbers of a summation series of Fibonacci: 3, 5,8, 13, 21, 34 5,''

For more in details information about town planing in ancient Egypt please read Town planning in Egypt

The instrument of design

In addition to reed pens, papyrus, leather, or stuccoed tablets, the draftsman had to use a rker?, a square, and triangles.

The second phase of the architectural plan consisted of laying out the plan in the field, using primarily a cord knotted at twelve equal intervals

42 A.B.

such a knotted cord was probably rolled up as was that of the surveyors shown in various tomb scenes and statues. the officials in charge were known as rope fastenrs39 or rope stretchers, A title which is strongly reminiscent of the operation ''to stretch the line'' known from the Egyptian texts. A.B. 44

With a twelve-knot cord one can lay out a right-angle triangle tge sides of which are proportional to 3, 4, and 5, or draw the curve of the so-called Egyptian or catenary vault.

Theorie: The rope was very important in Egyptian architecture because it was the tool with which the proportions were signed on the building grounds. And the proportions in turn are sacred, especially in the construction of the houses of life. Therefore, this rope was not just a rope, it was often knotted in the proportions in which the houses of life were built. The ratio of the Osiris triangle, for example, this ratio was applied in construction with this rope.

This explains the importance of the rope, and why the Egyptian was keen on depicting himself with his ropes. The rope was the proof of the man's good deeds when he stood before the Egyptian Neter Osiris in the court of judgment

They knew by heart the proportions of the various rooms and, given the height of a dome or vault, could tell immediately where to begin the springing. In fact, they would even watch me while I was drawing, and tell me not to bother with these dimensions. H.F. Architecture of the Poor

Brick Dimensions

The ratio between brick length, width, and height remains, in theory, constant throughout the ages: one for length, one half of the length for width, and 1/3 of the length for height (Spencer 1979, pp. 147 ff.)

The masons asked us to make them the special kind of bricks they used for vaults. These were made with more straw than usual, for lightness. They measured 25 cm X 15 cm X 5 cm (10 in. X 6 in. X 2 in.) and were marked with two parallel diagonal grooves, drawn with the fingers from corner to corner of the largest face.

(Fathy, The Nubian Masons at Work—First successes)

Bricks Dimensions in ancient Egypt
Roik, E. (1993). Das Längenmaßsystem im alten Ägypten. Hamburg: Christian Rosenkreutz.

[4] Darl Rastorfer. Hassan Fathy, The man and his work P48
[5]The Qa'a of The Cairene Arab House: Its Developments And Some New Usages For Its Design Concepts. International Colloquium On The History of Cairo. Cairo: 1970. Hassan Fathy Archives. Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Geneva, Switzerland.
[7]The element of harmonic Design A. B.
[8] Ein Kapital zur Geschichte des Pflanzenornaments, Ludwig Borchardt.
39 Cantor, Vorlesung über Geschichte der Mathematik, pp. 55-57. Hambidge, Dynamic Symmetry, p. 130. Lauer, Pyramides, p.200, n. 2.

Roik, E. (1993). Das Längenmaßsystem im alten Ägypten. Hamburg: Christian Rosenkreutz.

Ancient Egyptian Cubits – Origin and Evolution by Antoine Pierre Hirsch

Architectural sketch, 3000-2700 B.C. Found 1925 near Step Pyramid, Saqqara



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