American University in Cairo Press releases 'The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef'

Ahram Online , Thursday 8 Apr 2021

The book is written by Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi and Ehsan Abushadi, with photography by Nour El-Refai

Wissa Wassef

The American University in Cairo Press announced the release of a new book titled ‘The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef', pioneering Egyptian architect and teacher (1911–1974).

Best known for his founding in 1951 of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre in Harraniya, a small village near the Giza Pyramids in Greater Cairo, the new volume is authored by Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi, a licensed architect based in Mexico and Ehsan Abu Shadi, an Egyptian architect specialising in heritage.

The Wissa Wassef centre is internationally acclaimed for its tapestries and sculptures. It began its operations 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.

Both, Abu Shadi and Añorve-Tschirgi worked at 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, with the latter being its founder and former curator.

Wissa Wassef

According to the AUC Press, “The Architecture of Ramses reveals 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.”

The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef is rich in photography by Nour El-Refai, who has worked as an architectural photographer in the Middle East and North Africa since 2005. His work has been published in the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, and more. 

“This generously illustrated volume is the first comprehensive survey of Wassef’s architectural works, both extant and non-extant, shedding light on his legacy and significant engagement with vernacular and contemporary Egyptian architecture,” the press release clarifies.

Wissa Wassef

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