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History of the House

Architecture is the art of building that is based in the creative conceptualization to develop the appropriate spaces for practicing the different life activities. Architecture is the comprehensive expression of human culture and collective behavior. Architecture is an exhibition for the integration of arts and crafts. It’s an exemplar of logical thinking dealing with climate and building sciences. It’s a deliberate action for harmonization and compromising of all the preceding together with the physical and psychological requirements of human beings. The term “architecture” does not imply a single building. Rather it expands to encompass the human urbanization process. Every region has its own local architecture to signify it. Architecture styles change over time, and give the place a cultural reference. Based on the preceding, the idea of this house was originated: House of Egyptian Architecture.


House of Egyptian Architecture:

The culture of the citizen towards the national urbanism

This House…

This house is a monument. It is an example of one of the residential types of the Ottoman architecture (Turkish) with Mamluk precedents.

This house is a museum of architecture. Or, in other words, it is a museum for the history of humanity that is documented in building; The house documents and exhibits the history and exemplars of Egyptian Architecture since the prehistoric times and till the twenty first century. The exhibits explain architecture as a socio-cultural product, integrated with arts, and as a response to the site location, climate, building material, building experiences and technological and scientific enhancements. The house also sheds light on several pioneer architects.


This house is an architectural creative center. In addition to a huge library, the house belongs to the Cultural Development Fund, hence, it is a center for architectural and cultural activities, such as symposia, workshops, trainings, exhibitions, etc.


In sum, the house aims at communicating architectural culturation and communication within society. Raising an awareness of architecture, design, urbanism and the built environment, together with the associated arts and crafts. The aim is achieved through the permanent museum of the history of Egyptian architecture, as well as through the interactive activities and festivities. It also contributes to the scientific research domain through its library and archive.  The house is affiliated with a number of architectural centers, institutions, libraries and museums that serve the architectural culturation, education and practice. In addition to offering professional assistance to artisans and historians.


The story of Ali Labib and the house of Egyptian Architecture

The house is located in “Darb El Labbana”, off the citadel square, Cairo.  Founded by the brothers Omar and Ibrahim El Malatily as residence for their families in the eighteenth century, then was known later after his guardian’s name “Ali effendi Labib”. The house is an Ottoman “Turkish” design influenced by the Mamluk architecture design traditions, and considered as one of the best reserved “Islamic” houses in Cairo. The house is located in one of the richest Historic Cairo Areas. The whole alley of “Darb El Labbana” became famous with the fame of this house “ that was named “house of artists” since the thirties of the twentieth century. It was given the name Monmartre of the citadel. It attracted several international artists and orientalists and local artists to stay in its apartments and spaces. From the artists that have lived there are the names: pepe martin, mosca nelly, Ragheb Ayad, Milad Fahim, Gamal Kamel, Ramsis Younan, Labib Tadros, Mohamed Nagy, Zaky Boules, Sanad Basta, Loweis Fawzy, Mounir Kanaan, Mohamed Diaa El-Din, Abdel-Ghany Abo El-Einein. Shady Abdel Salam, Raouf Abdel-Meguid, Abdel-Fattah El-Kayal, Abdel-Salam El-Sherif, and Hassan Fathy. Artists who did not find a room in Ali Labib house rented spaces in the --- house “Hendeya”, from those artists are Mamdouh Ammar, Mohamed Mohib, Nabil Ghaly, Ahmed Rabie and others.


After the death of Hassan Fathy in 1989 A.D. the house was abandoned for around fifteen years before it was restored and renovated. Until the architect Essam Safey Eldeen has proposed the idea of the project to Farouq Hosny, former minster of culture. The decree number 19 for the year 2010 to transform the monument number 497 into the “House of Egyptian Architecture”, which was then adapted by Architect Mohamed Abo Se’da, Head of Culture Development Fund for implementation.


The house is composed on two parts; the front part with its majaz and entrance, security, shop, administration, Reception. In the upper levels are the library, the digital library, and the multi-purpose qa’a. The second part of the house is composed of the courtyard for exhibitions and festivities, conference and lecture hall, and VIP lounge. In addition to the back yard for open-air workshops. In the upper levels is the museum of history of Egyptian architecture. Andthe museums of Ramsis Wissa Wassef and Hassan Fathy.

History of House

Like the examples of similar foundations in several countries, house of Egyptian Architecture offers its visitors enormous material related to the history and theories of architecture, well explained, analyzed and exemplified, exhibited and associated by activities and interactions that does not only attract specialists. The house is dedicated to everyone. It is a national museum, research center and a cultural hub. The aim is to raise the awareness of the creative – and the role architecture played in the formation of civilization and national identity. We hope that the house becomes a cultural hub, through the expansion in the interactive activities with society, and the affiliations and cooperation with other cultural, educational, research and media institutions in Egypt and other parts of the world.

Ali Labib  house is located in darb El Labbana, Citadel Square, Cairo. Originally founded by the brothers Omar and Ibrahim El Malatily as residence for their extended families. Later it was named after its guardian (Ali Labib). Then it was famous as the artists’ house, then Hassan Fahi’s house, and currently the “House of Architecture”. Darb El Labbana is an alley that was called “Cairo Montmartre”, due to its attraction to the intellects and artists and their visitors from all over world in the first half of the twentieth century.

The history of the house goes back the early Turkish-Ottoman Egypt, influenced by its predecessor Egyptian Mamluk traditional architecture. Built in the second half of the eighteenth century, the house was documented as monument number 496 in the early nineteenth century. Considered among the most exquisite “Islamic: houses, located in a rich historical context rich in its various Islamic buildings from many ages. The house was an attraction for the European orientalists to live or use as ateliers, for painting, poetry and photography. Beipi Martin, Painter Mohamed Nagui, the AgaKhan, painter RaghebAyyad, poet Edmond Jabes and Egypt's architect for the poor, Hassan Fathi.and Graphic designer and Artist Abdel Salam El Sherif, and others. After the departure and death of the artists, the house was abandoned for two decades. Later, it was subjected to renovation in the beginning of the millennium. In June 2009, architect EssamSafeyEldeen prepared a proposal to the minister of culture at the time “Farouk Hosny” who assigned the cultural developmental fund, headed by the architect Mohamed Abo Se’da to verify the proposal, under the name of “House of Egyptian Architecture in January 2010.