Hamdi Seif al-Nasr House
Fayyum, Egypt
"...The Hamdi Seif AI-Nasr resthouse, [...] is sited on a long thin peninsula of land projecting into Lake Fayum, and was intended to be used during the landlord's periodic visits to his estate here. The design as documented represents an ambitious first interpretation of the client's requirements, resulting in a solution that is quite large in both plan and vertical section. Raised up on a man-made podium to protect it from flooding, the house plan revolves around the interplay between an arcaded square exterior courtyard and the high formal vertical dorqa'a to which it is connected by a deep window and malkaf above. The various other spaces of the house are all related in one way or another to the linear axis set up between these two elements and fall on either one side or the other of the line that they create, depending upon the level of privacy required.

In the final design as built, which is not included in the documents but is shown in the photographic material, the scale of the preliminary scheme is greatly reduced, but the basic concept remains intact. As in the first design, a terrace is used to raise the house above water level, with a lower set of steps giving access onto it. The relationship between the courtyard and a much reduced qa'a is also retained, but in its final form the courtyard emerges to be totally open to the exterior on the landward edge facing the entrance drive. This highly unusual exposure of a courtyard on its public side may possibly be attributed to the architect's wish to take full advantage of the view of the beautiful trees near the entrance and to contrast this view with the totally different vista toward the water on the opposite hand. The division between public and private spaces, as originally conceived in the preliminary scheme, is also retained, but unfortunately the malkaf, which was originally the generator of many of the spatial connections throughout the scheme, has not survived, having been converted into a stairway to the roof by the client during construction." (constructed)


Steele, James. 1989. The Hassan Fathy Collection. A Catalogue of Visual Documents at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Bern, Switzerland: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Abu Neameh, Sinnuris, Fayyum, Egypt
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Associated Names
Associated Collections
Variant Names
Hamdi Seif al-Nasr House
Hamdi Seif al Nasr Resthouse
Saif al Nasr House
Building Usages
private residence