Egyptian architect Hamdy El-Setouhy won first prize at Italy’s Human Heritage of the Mediterranean awards last month for a project he carried out in an Egyptian village.
El-Setouhy came especially from Egypt to receive his award and gave a brief presentation on his Shazli Project.
He began with the word “energy”, stressing that when he visited the village of El-Sheikh Shazli, where the winning project was implemented, “the village has a human energy represented in children, women and the elderly; it is the energy that builds civilisations.”
But when he studied the village, he found that its people had abandoned the old buildings built with stone and divided into two groups. The first group was financially capable of building concrete buildings that do not meet their needs but imagine it as a way of urbanisation. The other team with poor financial capacity lives in tin and wood stalls.
Hence, the idea of the project was how to add economic, social, cultural, and educational value.El-Setouhy is a consultant architect, specialised in public buildings, museums, and in the development of heritage areas. He was nominated for the award by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s Supreme Council of Culture.
The awards were organised by Habitat World and the Chamber of Industry and Trade of the Mediterranean Sea and took place on 4 April in Sardinia.
Participants in the ceremony included the ambassadors to Egypt, Albania and Croatia, as well as President of the Jury and Habitat World President Annika Patregnani, President of the Organisation Committee Italo Senes, representatives of several embassies of Mediterranean countries, among others.
Architect Hamdy El-Setouhy holds his award with President of the Organisation Committee Italo Senes in Itlay ( Photo courtesy of Hamdy El-Setouhy )
In his speech at the event, Egypt’s Ambassador to Italy Hisham Badr stressed the importance of the partnership between Mediterranean countries in all fields.
“I am present today for this reason and am interested in Egypt's participation in the competition, where an Egyptian project won the first prize amid strong participation of 27 projects and has been judged by an international committee,” he said.
The ambassador referred to Egypt’s pioneering and civilised role throughout the ages, and linked this to the winning Egyptian project, stressing that it is a model of how to evoke the energy that exists within man, that human energy that builds civilisation.
“This will be surely the first step of a major collaboration with you and your associates for the benefit of humanity in the Mediterranean,” the president of the Organisation Committee Senes told El-Setouhy.
El-Setouhy is a lecturer at the AAST Arab Academy and the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University. He is a council member in the Society of Egyptian Architects (SEA), the founder of the Abu Simbel 50 campaign, and a founding member of the “Salvation of Hassan Fathy Heritage Campaign.”