Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exhibition Celebrates the Life of Egyptian Architect Ramses Wissa Wassef

Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy is on display in the Abdallah S. Jur’ah ‘65 Room of the Rare Books and Special Collection Library from February 16 to October 23, 2012

Richard Bartlett cutting the ribbon at the opening of Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy. Sophie Habib Gorgy, Ramses Wissa Wassef‘s wife, and family are visible to the right.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
Regional Architecture Collections Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi explains the exhibit to onlookers.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
View of the main hall of Ramses Wissa Wassef the Architect and the Artist: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy, including a bust of the architect and his various works.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo

About the Architect

A brief note about this remarkable architect and his collection at Rare Books and Special Collection Library - American University in Cairo: Ramses Wissa Wassef was born on November 11, 1911 in Cairo-Egypt into a Coptic family. His family’s interest in arts, crafts and architecture influenced him deeply, encouraging his appreciation of beauty and harmony. Later on, his passion for sculpture was boosted through the influence of Habib Gorgi, father of his wife Shophie, whom he married in 1948. 
Portrait Ramses Wissa Wassef, undated.
Courtesy of the Regional Architecture Collections, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, American University in Cairo
In 1935 he received his credentials as an architect at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris ranking first among his class for his graduation project: “A Potter’s House in Old Cairo”. This project reflected his lifelong interest in reviving ancient Egyptian arts and crafts. Years later, his dream became a reality when he established the wide-world renowned Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Harraniyah: http://www.wissawassef.com/ He died in 1974 at a relatively young age. In the years since his death, his wife, two daughters and their families have perpetuated his legacy promoting his tapestry, batik, ceramic work, and his architectural legacy, which was donated to the Rare Books and Special Collections Library (Regional Architecture Collections) at AUC where his intellectual legacy is preserved.

How can I learn more?

Check out the Guide to the Ramses Wissa Wassef Personal Papers Collection, 1935-1969 in the AUC Libraries Catalog or view the Ramses Wissa Wassef Architectural Drawings digital collection.