Ramses Wissa Wassef
Ramses Wissa Wassef was an Egyptian architect and educator. He earned his BA degree from the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1935. His graduation project "A potter's house in Old Cairo " received the first prize by the examination board. Upon returning to Cairo, in 1938, he was nominated as a professor of art and history of architecture in the college of Fine Arts in Cairo.

"One cannot separate beauty from utility, the form from the material, the work from its function, man from his creative art."

In 1951, Ramses Wissa Wassef embarked upon an experiment in creativity which would become universally acclaimed. He set out to prove that creativity was innate -- that anyone could produce art. He had become discouraged by the general decline of creativity in 20th century urban culture and dismayed by the deadening influence of mass production. He felt that routine education was stifling. For his experiment he chose uninhibited, free-spirited young children who were isolated from many aspects of modern civilization.

Wassef saw that the "modern architectural revolution", which had hit Cairo, was producing a multiplicity of buildings constructed without any sense of aesthetics but rather for their fast rentability. From this point on, Wassef was firmly resolved to never sacrifice his artistic vision for current trends of construction.

It was in the course of one of his trips to Upper Egypt that Wassef discovered the beauty of the Nubian villages, where the houses are composed of mudbrick vaults and domes, a style that perpetuates a tradition goes back to the early Egyptian dynasties. This discovery revealed to Wassef the connection he had been seeking with the past. "I had just visited Aswan", Wassef commented on this discovery, "where I had been struck by the beauty of the Nubian houses in the villages of the area. I learnt that it was still possible to find bricklayers who could make vaulted roofs for houses. I was extremely excited when I thought that these same methods had existed since the first dynasties of the Pharaohs."
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