A village in the Egyptian desert

With every design for collective housing a distinction needs to be made between the design for what is collective from the design of the individual dwelling units. This distribution of design responsibility has led toe the concepts of “base building” from and that of  “fit-out”.  The boundary between the two is not fixed for all cases but must be determined anew in each project. This separation of two design products can lead to a new kind of architecture.

A nice example of this was the result of the particular site conditions in the desert of Egypt for the design of a village intended to provide shelter to the workers at the new town of Ameriah to the West of Alexandria. The workers usually live near the site in makeshift shelters put together from discarded materials. In a desert with fierce sand storms this would not do.  This led to the proposal for a infrastructure of high walls to protect not alone the entire village but also to define public spaces and to create smaller compounds for clusters of some twenty houses. Within that infrastructure of walls, inhabitants could construct their own.