Fares School
Fares, Egypt
"Following the flurry of activity generated by these community-based projects, Fathy also became interested in the possibility of providing an economical prototype for a school for the rural villages throughout Egypt. Studies for such a prototype were carried out by him in his role as the Director of the School Building Department, which was offered to him by the Egyptian Ministry of Education at the beginning of 1950. The school at Fares, between Luxor and Aswan, is the prototype that he put forward, and brings many of his previous ideas together in a single design. The plan of the school intentionally separates the administrative and communal activities such as the mosque, library and assembly hall, which face east and west, from the repetitive ranks of the classrooms, which face north and south and protect a courtyard between them.

The classrooms, like the other areas of the school, were originally intended to be naturally ventilated, due to the extreme difficulty and prohibitive cost of providing mechanical means of cooling. To achieve this, the architect divided each classroom into a square domed area and a rectilinear vaulted space next to it. The domed area was intended to be the seating for the classroom, while the rectilinear space next to it was meant to contain a salsabil, or water pool, to further cool the air coming in through the slots in the vault above. Further ventilation was also expected to be supplied by operable casement windows that were paired with a circular fixed lunette specified to provide light only. In elevation, the rows of classrooms with their alternating slotted vaults and rounded domes clearly tell the story of their intended function, even though they are now partially screened by a boundary wall which has been built to separate them from a main street running alongside. The salsabils, however, were never installed, and the entire space is now used for teaching."


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, 22-23.
Fares, Egypt
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Associated Collections
Variant Names
School at Fares
Building Usages