New Gourna Touristic Village
New Gourna, Egypt
"More than twenty years after work on New Gourna had ground to a halt, the architect was drawn back to the site again by a project for a touristic village there. Ostensibly, the idea behind the complex was to somehow fulfill the unrealized potential of New Gourna's close proximity to the ferry landings on the bank of the Nile and the main highway that sustains endless busloads of tourists travelling back and forth from these landings to the Valleys of the Kings and Queens. Vast tracts of the site never occupied by the original village are left tragically vacant by the architect in the new scheme, which turns its back on the portion of New Gourna that had been built between 1945 and 1948. Narrow linear pedestrian walkways separate long rows of shops and crafts workshops that present little or no wall surface to the cast or west, but all face predominantly north and south, grouped around irregularly formed inner courtyards. These straight lanes stand in dramatic contrast to the diagonal paths of the original village, as does the size and purpose of the central square, which features a restaurant rather than a mosque as its focal point. The governing factor, of course, was the overwhelming wish to make this new graft join successfully to the existing village, for the sake of each half. Where the original village was essentially residential and private (except for the central area and crafts khan) the new centre was intended to be commercial and public.

While closed groups of offset housing units and winding streets effectively protect privacy and inhibit strangers from entering, they are not really conducive to handling large crowds of tourists or to encouraging sales, and so the pedestrian system was changed. A main gate, located on the western side of the existing plaza, is meant to link old and new. To further ease the transition between the two, a diagonal lane is continued on into the centre of the touristic village that has the same character as the main streets in New Gourna, before confronting the pedestrian with straight, tree-lined walkways lined with shops."


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, 18.
West Luxor, New Gourna, Egypt
Associated Names
Associated Collections
Building Usages
urban design and development