Cairene domestic architecture comprises a variety of housing types, responding to the needs of different socioeconomic classes of society. Of these types, two are studied in detail herein, namely, palaces and mansions of the grandees and middle-class houses. As suggested by Hanna, the latter were divided into separate unequal living units. The study in hand investigates the existence of similar living units in the palaces and mansions'. This is accomplished through analyzing living units in some middle-class houses to determine their structure, types and organization. These characteristics are used to define similar units in palaces and mansions.

Some relevant documents are then examined in search of indications verifying these findings. Based on this study, it can be concluded that the concept of separate living units used in middle-class houses was also applicable in palaces and mansions. This was an effective way of organizing the living quarters of the house to accommodate various groups of inhabitants, taking into consideration their hierarchy and their relation to each other. These units were not strict divisions; members of the household could generally move around among the units. Yet there were rules, stipulated by Islamic law, that organized their movement, depending on how closely they were related. These units were dynamic entities that changed over time to meet the changing needs of the inhabitants.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Bernard O'Kane

Committee Member 1

Bernard O'Kane

Committee Member 2

George T. Scanlon

Committee Member 3

Michael Reimer

Document Type





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Call Number

Thesis 2000/80 c.1