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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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As nature exists between heaven and earth, man's desire to understand nature is- in its reality- a need to und erstand the natural things, heavens and the cosmic order, the character 01' natural places, and finally, the light and time (Schulz, 2000). This understanding is not scientific in nature; but rather its aim i5 to experiencing meaning.

First is an understanding of things that exist naturally such as trees, rock, water and sky. Schulz claims that a mountain, for example, is a place within a landscape because it gathers known things (rock, trees) and gives meaning to their existence. The second element is the eosmic order, wh ich defined man­ made spaee sinee Egyptian times and represent different qualities of meaning through different cultures. The third element is eharaeter of natural places. The topographie features of the landscape ofter suggestions of the eharacter of a plaee. The last two elements that Sehulz identifies are light and time. Light is the most natural phenomena we experienee. It reveals texture and color and gives lite. Time, with respeet to place, relates to our existenee, and refers to man's own life and the life of nature.

These elements form the unique spirit of a plaee. Our arehiteeture and urban development must attempt to find the spirit of place within the environments that we build so that it can be interpreted from the landscape and man-made spaces ean eompliment what is given and provide spatial experiences that are naturally meaningful.

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concept of space itself. However, (Relp~ 1976), in his book Place and Placeless­ ness, outlines eight different concepts of space: pragmatic or primitive, perceptual, existential, sacred, geographical, architectural and planning, cognitive, and


spaces. The eight identities that he explains ilIustrate the complexity of the concept of space. Relph described space in his book as "amorphous and intangible". It consists ofthe sky, the land and the universe. It is vast and requires space defining elements in order for us to organize it within our conscious understanding of space that we have developed, (Relph, 1976).

Relph argued that recognition of space has many dimensions. First, space is recognized through the basic fundamental experience of front and back, in front of and behind of, left and right... Second, there is our personal space, based on our individual experience. As people are faced with public under a variety of circumstances throughout their daily life, the importance and privacy of personal space should have great attention in the design process. Built environments are there for pcople and they should demonstrate this through attention to user behavior, social interaction and spaces that suit human nature and human scale.

Finally, there is the inner structure of space as it appears in our experiences of the world as members of a cuItural group. The spaces of our Iived-world are made up of varying types of spatial experiences. Architecture is the creation of space for human life. Architecture and urban design attempt to organize these spaces so that we can understand them in a meaningful way- whether they are understood personally orpublicly.

The relation between space and place illustrated by (Sewall, 1999) as "Place is aspace with experience added in". Through interaction with aspace, individuals are able to devclop asense of place. In general it seems that space provides the context for places.

This interpretation of the space- place relation highlights another important aspect in the understanding of place, which is the space boundary. The creation of place occurs when space is defined by way of enclosure. Therefore, it is important to defme the qualitative Figure 11: Space boundary: the difference between place and boundaries, outline of place Elmaharnid between building and its surroundings, Settlement, Edfou- Egypt (see Figure 11).

Enclosure is defined by boundaries, the point at which a building begins its presenting. Interior spaces are defined by floors, walls and ceilings; while exterior spaces are defmed sirnilarly by the ground, landscape and the sky. These boundaries define space and provide orientation and an understanding of the contents of place. Boundaries, therefore, define our personal space as weIl as our Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 317 communities, towns, distIicts and the continent. It helps to define the inside from the outside and the horizontal from the vertical. TIle ways in which these boundaries enclose space define a partieular eharacter of the plaee.

5 Place as tool in Urban Sustainability Projects In order to aehieve urban sustainability, we always in need to ereate a sense of plaee. A place that let the individual experience to flourish, while enhance and respect the collective experience too. In this respect, an analysis of the DNA of the place has taken place in order to understand the basic components that create the sense of place and enhance our experiences. TItis analysis eoncluded with four elements that must be presented in order for plaee to exist; Man, Culture, Nature and Space, and they need to have a meaningful presence to create valuable experience of a sense of plaee.

thus, one eould argues that what is experieneed in the place is not simply a loeation but a socio-physical construction that has constituents of physiological comfort and cultural significance, and it means that it is not possible to design meaning into place, because this meaning cannot be pre-determined. TItat was the formula, and this is why the traditional buHt environment was more flexible than the contemporary one, and why they enjoyed high spatial flexibility, value, meaning, and ereative configuration that responded to ehanging needs of eommunity and users. The idea behind decoding the DNA of the built environment comes to mean exploring meaning and values that constitutes those environments and generate its building codes in order to be able to reproduce these environments again.

Case of Observation in Egyptian Traditional Places: Some Reflections on the Dweil Place Egypt is known for its rich and diverse cultural and traditional heritage and with the architeetural expressions that are produced by this diversity. To this day, Egyptian traditional and vemacular architecture is, largely, outside the efforts of development and comprehensive study. Traditional villages and settlements have always been viewed by planners, urban managers and architects as a blob on the Master Plan and simply called the "inner city". In trutll, the genome system of those villages and settlements are complex and highly condensed with infomtation and make them cultural resource entities. Tbey interrelationships between the bases ofthe place DNA, which are Man, Culture, Nature, and Space reflect a wide diversity in their morphological eharaeter, being produets of different geographie al eontexts, Speeifie historie times, eharaeteristies and functions. Every strueture and fragment in a traditional village is a true doeument of eultural and teehnieal knowledge systems, Tbe evidenees of their history are preserved as 'layers' of built fahrie, making them highly readable entities, (see Figure12).

Dalia Taha & Gasser Gamil

Figure 12: Traditional Villages and settlements in Farafrah

PLACE, in Egyptian eulture is firstly affiliated with plaee of bmh "wh... ~e 9n'

you trom". and seeondly with Iineage, "who are you from". So 'yhen'Vf"r th":

are, people would refer to their plaee of birth with mixed feelings nÜ:'.lalgil identity, solidarity, and eolleetive memory. When Egyptian peopk tenk about :tt' environment, they mostly mean the soeial environment. Socio-eco(l\mic of modemity and rapid urbanization have had various eHeets on,1 i1f':renl.:oe 1 i groups in terms of their place conceptions, and Perceptions of PL\CF, eulture that is eareless by their environment, stressed by eeonomic of inadequate education; f'urther exacerbated by a harsh and ChilC·tic mark", economy, alongside a bureaucratic and insensitive planning and governanc' strueture.The current transfonnations. rapid growth of urban are;!', require ne" approach es to urban planning and design in order to achieve sustainability. More inclusion, participation and advocacy in planning; and a..011prehensi.f( understanding of pi ace-formatIOn seems promlsmg needs to he :Li \ \eil achan",' to achieve sustainability.

In the following sub-sections, the paper will try 10 have an ur,dcrstand.in~. tc the DNA of the dwelling places through the studv of the previmd:! detenninf'd bases ofthis DNA, which are Man, Culture, Nature. anti Spm:e. The Idea behmd that lies under the consideration that the architectural thinkmg requirt's one 10 dc much more than detennine how a building looks. However, one mmt conslder how it works, how it accommodates, how it fits, and what it 'im~cts. Wher, speaking about the site of architecture. we do not simply mean the area 01 location. Rather, a site is the particular circumstance, or situation, within whieh a building will be located. It involves rhe l1on-visuaJ and invisible building codes and vocabularies that would make us able to reproduce these environments again.

6.1 A Closcr Look at thc Dwclling Place: Connotations of the Word (Dar)

The word Dar means house. In Upper Egypt cultural context, ir does not always refer to the physical structure. but Jt can also mean wife and family. Sometimes, the word Dar when mentioned could be understood as the women 's domains wlthin the house (whereas the public spaces are the domain of men).

Houses as the basic shelter dwelling places for the families in traditional places in Upper Egypt are perceived as a t'unher extensIOn 01' the body images.

That is to mean that if male/female domams are not screened off horn each other, then people will cover thelr bodies m certa1l1 ways to mamtain the baITier (according to their cuiture and tradnions).

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 319 6.2 Decoding the DNA ofthe Dwelling Place: Man, Culture, Nature, and ';:pace lnterrelationships VLj: i.\' udi \; ifil'~ llblde Ih 'tt.;\;; as;,ociatcd to thc \Vornan lind thc spa..:e;,,m: less Jorrljul. In ';\lnua~t, tlt: l1len 's domains almost always have m"rc: törmal CiiHd.;tt:, Wcwen'",lcll', me:, are always pertormed tn the hnuf'" \"'111e 1[1'?T1 l'It'. (hosh) is thc rnoq impo[tnnt feature of the trnditi, ''Ir,] !'I)US('S \Il Th" t lpper E,~vpt. it exists as one space, or may be divided into two nilrts i11,'ll 1nd ',",'mwfIJ that are visuaHy scrcened off from tach othcL ißee l' igc:r\\, I) :lJi'

–  –  –

- -----, ~*.~~~

–  –  –

Figure I 1: A typical design pattern of traditional hnusing.

The Guest area (Mandara) which is the reeeption area in thC' ti~,ditlOlYJl in Egypt ~s a sr~ce mainly u5ed r.:/ 'J1~1'. F;vep th n q?l'l ~1 f,"Z ;~ti.; ':"'i1l,\j-·.,­

physica1 contex: of the hO'~L3\!.. tr)~s ~i!r-i('~:t (.: "':d~rf,~~,-~~ +,:q~:~

space for \VfJmen. On tht; otht"t t:al)(l. 'onj(!J C~;H 'l~;f Tr,\" C":;'·:,.!,;"'~({; rl::7·H~';·- ~1";:

day in some occasions and events when men are away from the house in Iheir extended spaces (mosques or Market).

These patterns give manifestation of how man wirh his vaiue systems anc traditions is interrelated to both cuItClrc i!!1U Spilte and üms gi vC US :;Ofl1C gell::ti'_ information about the formation of thc places in sueh traditional villages.

The interreiationship betwcen man, ·~t!ltu[e, nallll'f', ~nd "pae\;' '.,: der'i't(,n"l,,,ki, in those traditional houses in another many aspeCIS. When aiseussing l'-Jalure as a basic element in the DNA of the place, the paper refer to the three elements defined by (Schulz, 2000) to undersland nature, ;;md wnich are tüte nalural litlr,g"

heavens and the cosmic order, the character vI' natural piaees. älld f.naiJy, tht:

light and time. In those traditional houses, time is very important element of nature that have strong interrelationship with other DNA components (man.

culture, and space). However. in those traditional societies the day starts early Dalia Taha & Gasser Garnil due to the prayer time and because of the very hot climate most of the year time.

Time affects the use of space and affected by cultnral aspccts that all have effect on the whole sense of place, as follows. (see Table I).

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