Restoration of Stoppelaëre House

Luxor, 2017

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The project

Stoppelaëre´s House is one of the most important works by the great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy (1899-1989). Restoration works were undertaken under the direction of Architect Dr. Tarek Waly (Tarek Waly Center for Architecture and Heritage), and as part of a collaborative project between the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation (Madrid), the University of Basel (Switzerland) and the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt.

The project is at the core of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative: an ambitious mission to safeguard the tombs of the Theban Necropolis through the application of new digital technologies, and the creation of exact facsimiles of tombs that are now either closed to the public for conservation or in need of closure to preserve them for future generations. All finance to realize this work has been generated outside of Egypt and has been entirely funded by the Factum Foundation thanks to generous donations.

Stoppelaere´s House, one of Hassan Fathy´s greatest buildings, can be found at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings

The restored building by Hassan Fathy will become a training centre at the heart of Luxor´s Valley of the Kings. Stoppelaere´s House, positioned right by Factum Arte´s facsimile of the tomb King Tutankhamun, It will operate as a base for the training and transfer of skills in new 3D digital technologies for the preservation of cultural heritage.

The restoration

A team of Egyptians, led by Tarek Waly, began the huge restoration task by completing the perimeter reinforcement (reinforced underground concrete structure) several weeks after the work at Stoppelaere´s House began - a clever engineering solution that will ensure structural stability and will extend the life of the building immeasurably, regardless of the inner movements of the hill. Once the structural reinforcement was complete, restoration works shifted to the interior, in the quest to turn the derelict building into a training centre, capable of providing the favourable conditions required for the newly installed technologies, while maintaining its original character and spirit.

The foundations of Stoppeleare´s House have been reinforced along the perimeter to assure structural stability

Tarek Waly and his skilled local team from Quarna have completed the structural reinforcement of the building´s foundations, the restoration of the majority of the walls and the roof and have fixed all the major cracks, strengthened all the weak areas, discarded all damaged bricks and replaced them with newly made mud-bricks. All the damaged wooden structures and broken door lintels within the walls have been discarded and are being replaced with more permanent, concrete ones.

By November 2016, the wooden doors were replaced, the external windows were restored and and a final layer of plaster was applied to the interior and exterior of the building. The flooring and plumbing works were also complete. The team have paid special attention to the very things that make this building so unique and special - every little architectural or artistic detail has been taken into account and has been restored to bring out the building´s most original characteristics.

Once the foundation works were carried-out, the team worked on the mud-brick restoration


Restoration of the building´s windows

Dr. Tarek Waly and Aliaa Ismail observing the internal restoration works at Stoppelaere´s House



The training center at the restored Stoppelaere´s House







During the restoration works, the training program took place in a temporary training centre that was established near Madinet Habu, where the first two trainees, Abd El Nasr and Heba Sayed (appointed by the Ministry for Antiquities), began their official training at the beginning of October 2016.

The Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative, central to the development of Stoppelaere´s House, is a great story about technology transfer, training and most importantly, non-contact / non-invasive means for preservation. The Initiative brought attention to this project as a real innovator in the field of heritage management and sustainable tourism.

The Stoppelaere´s House restoration team, working under the direction of Tarek Waly. Image © Tarek Waly

The 3D documentation training center at Stoppelaere´s House was inaugurated on Friday, February 2017. Tthe Egyptian Minister for Antiquities, Khaled El Enany, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner attended the opening. Read here the press reviews (Morgenblandet in Norwegean) (El País, ABC, in Spanish).

The Egyptian Minister for Antiquities Khaled El Enany, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova and Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner attended the opening of the centre

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