The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef

Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi
Ehsan Abushadi
Photography by Nour El Refai

The pioneering Egyptian architect and teacher Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911–74) is best known for his founding in 1951 of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Ce

English edition
5 January 2020
272 pp.
24x21cm
ISBN 9789774169243
For sale worldwide

$59.95

This book is currently not available for purchase.

The pioneering Egyptian architect and teacher Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911–74) is best known for his founding in 1951 of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Harraniya, a small village near the Giza Pyramids in Greater Cairo. The center, internationally acclaimed for its tapestries and sculptures, began partly as an art school for young villagers, reflecting Wissa Wassef’s aim of reviving traditional Egyptian architecture and crafts, and his belief in the innate creative power and potential of children.

Less well known are Wissa Wassef’s prolific architectural output and his efforts and influence beyond the confines of the Harraniya center to promote artistic expression among Egyptian youth. This generously illustrated volume is the first comprehensive survey of Wissa Wassef’s architectural works, both extant and non-extant, shedding light on his legacy and significant engagement with vernacular and contemporary Egyptian architecture. Wissa Wassef renounced self-promotion and monetary reward in his work, placing human physical and psychological well-being at the center of his architectural philosophy. An astute observer and modest personality, he saw himself as part of the people and began experimenting with participatory design and people-centered architecture before they became popular.

The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef reveals Wissa Wassef’s profuse architectural oeuvre, which spanned private villas and rural houses, as well as public buildings, such as churches, schools, and museums, highlighting his rich contribution to Egypt’s architectural heritage at a moment when that heritage is at risk of being lost.

To read an excerpt, click here.

For the Table of Contents, click here.

 

Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi

Conchita  Añorve-Tschirgi is a licensed architect based in Mexico. She holds one MA in Islamic art and architecture and another in comparative and international education. She was formerly founder and curator of the Regional Architecture Collection at the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the American University in Cairo, which houses Ramses Wissa Wassef’s archive.

Ehsan Abushadi

Ehsan  Abushadi is an architect specializing in heritage. She earned her BSc in architectural engineering from the American University in Cairo with minors in anthropology and Arab and Islamic civilizations. During her studies, she worked at the Regional Architecture Collection of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the American University in Cairo, which houses Ramses Wissa Wassef’s archive.

Nour El Refai

With a degree in architecture from Cairo University Nour  El Refai has worked as an architectural photographer in the Middle East and North Africa region since 2005. His work has been published in the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, and more. He has taught architectural photography at universities in Egypt and continues to lead workshops at art and culture centers.
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