Hassan Fathy was too ahead of his time, says Jordanian architect Ammar Khammash

In an interview with MEA, Jordanian architect and artist Ammar Khammash, founder of Khammash Architects, said that legendary Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy came too soon.

Speaking of traditional architecture in the Middle East losing appreciation among Arab societies to European modernity after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Khammash used Fathy as a prime example.

“Traditional architecture was degraded so badly,” he said, “look at the case of Hassan Fathy from Egypt. During his time, the society didn’t accept to go back. They wanted anything to do with modernity, and against his will or wish, his philosophy was picked up as a style by the rich, and it became this ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ thing. It became theatrical.”

He added, “Fathy was too early. Being 10 years ahead is a problem — you need to be only five years ahead.”

Khammash’s architecture dots the Jordanian and nearby landscapes, with his projects spanning different sectors, from hospitality to education, residential to public sector. His portfolio of buildings includes the Wild Jordan Nature Center, the Royal Academy for Nature, the Darat Al-Funun workspace and the Columbia University Middle East Research Center in Amman.

An in-depth look at Khammash’s work will be in the upcoming August issue of Middle East Architect. 

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