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CHARLOTTE ROBINSON


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Charlotte Robinson University of Cambridge Jesus College 22nd April 2014 Essay 4: Pilot Study An essay submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design examination 2013-2015 Total 5453 words

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like firstly to thank Ingrid Schrรถder and Alex Warnock-Smith who have as course tutors provided continual guidance and support throughout this project, as well as Irit Katz, Dr. Felipe Hernรกndez and Nicholas Ray for their engaging discussions and supervision. I would also like to thank Helen Thomas, Dr. Max Sternberg, Dr. Wendy Pullan, Professor Hans van der Heijden, Professor Koen Steemers and Professor Marcial Echenique for their interesting lectures and discussions as well as guest critics Barbara Campbell-Lange and Rod Heyes for their constructive advice. Finally I would like to thank all of my course peers for their encouragement and collaboration as well as members of the Department of Architecture including Stan Finney and Clive Tubb for their technical support and expertise. All of the above mentioned have been greatly influential to the forwards development of this project. 3


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CONTENTS PAGE 9

ABSTRACT

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URBAN LEGIBILITY: SENSING THE CITY

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THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE OF ALGIERS

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ORIENTALIST VISIONS OF ALGIERS

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LE CORBUSIER & ALGIERS: A NEW URBANISM

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CASE STUDY: DIAR EL MAHÇOUL/URBANISM & POLITICS

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/SOCIAL STRUCTURES

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/VERNACULAR MODERN

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DESIGN TEST 1: CREATING URBAN PATTERNS

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DESIGN TEST 2: CONNECT/DISCONNECT

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CASE STUDY: CASBAH ALGIERS: PUBLIC & PRIVATE LEGIBILITY

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DESIGN TEST 3: ADAPTABLE ARCHITECTURE

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HYBRID CULTURE & AN ALIEN URBANITY

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DESIGN TEST 4: ASSIMILATING SPACE

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DESIGN TEST 5: FLEXIBILITY & EXPANSION

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DESIGN TEST 6: BUILDINGS IN SPACE/SPACE IN BUILDINGS

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DESIGN TEST 7: DESIGNING THE UNDESIGNED

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DESIGN TEST 8: PUBLIC/PRIVATE DYNAMIC

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DESIGN TEST 9: THIRD SPACE CIRCULATION

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DESIGN TEST 10: SPACE IN THE SKY

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DRAWING A VERNACULAR MODERN: CONCLUSION REMARKS

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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FIGURE REFERENCING

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DESIGN TESTS

012| | URBAN LEGIBILITY: 016|| THE SENSING THE CITY ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE OF ALGIERS

020|| ORIENTALIST VISIONS OF ALGIERS

060| | DESIGN TEST 2: CONNECT/DISCONNECT

064|| CASE STUDY: CASBAH ALGIERS: PUBLIC & PRIVATE

072| DESIGN TEST 3: ADAPTABLE ARCHITECTURE

104| | DESIGN TEST 6: BUILDINGS IN SPACE/ SPACE IN BUILDINGS

112|| DESIGN TEST 7: DESIGNING THE UNDESIGNED

120|| DESIGN TEST 8: PUBLIC/PRIVATE DYNAMIC

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022|| LE CORBUSIER & ALGIERS: A NEW URBANISM

024|| CASE STUDY: DIAR EL MAHÇOUL

054|| DESIGN TEST 1: CREATING URBAN PATTERNS

078| HYBRID CULTURE & AN ALIEN URBANITY

086|| DESIGN TEST 4: ASSIMILATING SPACE

098|| DESIGN TEST 5: FLEXIBILITY & EXPANSION

126|| DESIGN TEST 9: THIRD SPACE CIRCULATION

132|| DESIGN TEST 10: SPACE IN THE SKY

138|| DRAWING A VERNACULAR MODERN: CONCLUSION REMARKS


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ABSTRACT We have an innate relationship to the urban environment around us. The mode in which we act within urban space is inspired by the way we read the city’s sensual cues (Lynch, 1960:3). The architecture of the city develops a legible ‘sensibility’ (Corbusier, 1929. trans. 1987) which evolves in union with the urban culture it encompasses. This study examines the perturbed legacy of colonial modernism in the city of Algiers, exploring the significance of sensory perception in a post-colonial city of dualistic cultural heritage. This study will critically examine what effect orientalist and avant-garde visions of traditional Islamic urbanity had on the dissimulation between modernist and vernacular Islamic urbanism throughout the colonial occupation and the legacy of this post-independence. By exploring themes of cultural hybridity, architectural alienation and sensual transition through critical theoretical analysis and a series of 10 design tests this study will form the basis for the final thesis exploration of vernacular modernism, questioning the dynamic of top-down/bottomup design and the role of the architect in creating urban sensibility. The study looks chiefly at French architect Fernand Pouillon’s work in Algiers as precedent, exploring methods of developing an architectural hybrid between ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ by manipulating design features such as scale, materiality, adaptability and micro-climate. The terms ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ are used throughout this study to cover a variety of definitions. In general ‘vernacular’ refers to architecture which has evolved from Algiers traditional Islamic urban heritage, covering a complex array of variations of this, and ‘modern’ refers to architectural and urban development applied by the French colonial authority. The exploration of a hybrid ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ urban space tests what we expect the spatially portrayal of each architecture to be, in a bid to access how urbanity can maintain the core principles of both and come to represent an ever hybridising urban culture.

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URBAN SENSING

LEGIBILITY: THE CITY

A city is a growing, moving and evolving spectacle. We come to know it, feel it and relate to it. Each person’s understanding of the city is developed from a lifelong synthesis of experiences and associations. We may come to familiarise of find comfort in some parts of it, or feel ostracised or uneasy in others. In this way we can talk about the city’s sensation. ‘Ever citizen has had long associations with some part of his city, and his image is soaked in memories and meanings’ (Lynch, 1960:1). The way in which a city’s sensation is understood draws upon perceptions, and the way in which an individual may load those perceptions due to their cultural background. Kevin Lynch calls this as a city’s legibility, describing the city as ‘temporal art’ (Lynch, 1960:1) bringing together many visual cues to orientate a dweller within it and associate them within the urban culture. The idea of a ‘sensibility’ felt by city dwellers was explored by Le Corbusier in ‘The City of To-morrow and its Planning’ (1929). He defined ‘sensibility’ as an instinct beyond our sensual experience, ‘it is something innate and violent; a goad, an ‘urge’. In weaker terms we might call it an intuition’. (Le Corbusier, 1929:33). Sensibility is beyond a superficial picturesque vision, but is the way we read our sensual encounters with the city, an instinct which inspires our cultural perceptions and actions.

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VER RNACU ULAR ARCHITEECTTURE CASB BAH, ALGIERS S


FRENCH QUARTER ALGIERS


JUNCTURE OF THE FRENCH QUARTER (LEFT) & THE CASBAH (RIGHT) ALGIERS, 1935

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JUNCTURE OF THE FRENCH QUARTER (LEFT) & THE CASBAH (RIGHT) ALGIERS, 1935


THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE OF ALGIERS Algiers is a city of two distinct architectural and cultural heritages, the historic Islamic and the French colonial. It is in some part a city of cultural hybridity, and in others a city of cultural conflict. It is a city of narrative, where the urban form is inextricably linked to the cities story, expressing its social, political and economic evolution. Throughout the city collisions of architectural language express moments of its turbulent past. An important and explicit example can be found at the stark border between the French Medina and the ancient Casbah whose walls were torn down by the early colonists and water front entirely demolished to ensure French dominance. Another can be found in the parasitic illegal settlements, built of brick and corrugated iron, that cover the roof of the vast crumbling modernist ‘200 Colonnes’ building, the centre piece of the Climat de France, evidence of the cities rapid continued over population, the development originally designed as a collection of 4500 dwellings, now estimated to house up to 30,000 occupants (Mandraud, 2012). A powerful discord can be found in the monumental impact of the Mémorial du Martyr, built on the pinnacle of the cities dramatic topography in 1981 to commemorate those that died in the Algerian war of independence against the French colonialists, dominating the skyline above the sweeping parkland of the El Hamma Botanic Gardens, designed by French architect Régnier in 1929 to display the riches of the French colonial city. In a city that has undergone many cultural transitions the urban form expresses the tensions of these changes. It is a city which challenges the senses and draws from a range of cultural sensibilities. The city was conquered by the French in 1830, and remained under colonial rule until 1962 becoming the most eminent, invested and treasured French overseas colony (Celik, 1997) pivotal to French colonialism in North Africa. Algiers was from 1848 declared an integral and literal part of France, a position that was critical to the city’s fate.

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ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS ON THE ROOF OF CLIMAT DE FRANCE ALGIERS, BUILT 1981

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MÉMORIAL DU MARTYR SEEN FROM THE EL HAMMA BOTANIC GARDENS ALGIERS, BUILT 1981

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O R I E N TA L I S T VISIONS OF ALGIERS Early colonial tactics relied on imperialist tyranny, using militaristic force to ensure French supremacy and a strategic mode of assimilation, forged by the lure of economic and authoritarian gain as well as a philanthropic and professed dutiful motivation to educate the native population. The orientalist attitude of the in the late 19th century disregarded the heterogeneity of Islamic and other ‘oriental’ cultures, propagating the ‘intrinsic superiority’ of European culture (Macaulay, 1835), and spurring a systematic hierarchy within the population of Algiers like many colonial cities. Edward Said (1978) contended that the orientalist western academic tradition composed a singular understanding of eastern culture, the ‘Other’ culture, in ‘a system of representations framed by a whole set of forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and later, Western empire’ (Said, 1978:204). The orientalist attitude propagated by French colonialism relied upon a mystified reading of the cities visual language, removed from historical and cultural context. Linda Nochlin argued that the representation of the orient in the visual arts was constructed in order to mystify western associations with the ‘other’ culture, ‘the very notion of ‘Orientalism’ itself in the visual arts is simply a category of obfuscation, masking important distinctions under the rubric of the picturesque, supported by the illusion of the real.’ (Nochlin, 1989:56). The mystified image of the orient understood in ‘Western learning’ (Said, 1978) was a powerful tool utilised by imperialistic propaganda about native populations of the colonies, forcing social anxiety of otherness amongst the colonialists, and thus cause for the systematic discrimination and isolation of native races, securing colonial domination. Urbanic control was therefore crucial, justifying the demolition of parts of Algiers Casbah and effective ghettoisation of its population.

DISTINGUISHED MOORISH WOMEN PHOTOCROME FROM ‘VIEWS OF PEOPLE AND SITES IN ALGERIA’ (1905)

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UNIFICATION OF FRANCE & COLONIAL AFRICA THROUGH LE HAVRE, PARIS, MARSEILLES AND ALGIERS LE CORBUSIER

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LE CORBUSIER & ALGIERS:

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URBANISM

By the early 20th century attitudes softened towards native populations. With the rise of avant-garde culture in France, stemming from Paris, (Celik, 1992), a new allure was found in the aesthetic mysticism of ‘Oriental’ Islamic culture, stimulating the value of Islamic urbanity. With this shifting colonial outlook Le Corbusier was supposed to a dualistic vision of the Islamic city, both influenced by the legacy of orientalist attitudes and captivated by the avant-garde appeal of eastern culture, beholding the Casbah of Algiers as a ‘glittering apparition that welcomes at dawn the boats arriving to the port.’ (Le Corbusier, 1941 in Celik 1992:62). Policy no longer favoured the oppression of Islamic urbanism, instead favouring an evolutionary urbanism, preserving, and in some parts restoring, the traditional Islamic city (Celik, 1992), but wholey favouring modernism, introducing staged developments that would ‘modernise’ the natives in an ordered fashion. Le Corbusier’s famed Obus Plan for Algiers proposed the entire separation of the ancient Casbah from modern French city, drawing a bridge that spanned over the traditional district thus supervising it. Le Corbusier found an avant-garde value in the Casbah’s aesthetic as a place of ‘picturesque struggles’ (1942 in Celik, 1997:42) and touristic opportunity (Celik, 1992), yet still perceived it ahistorically with orientalist cultural perceptions. Le Corbusier’s new urbanism paid homage to but was not persuaded by traditional Islamic architecture. Algiers was an intrinsic part of France, so its new urbanism should be that of French modernity. Le Corbusier envisaging the unification of France and French colonial Africa through a new urbanism, Algiers as the gateway, the ‘phoenix of France . . . reborn out of the ashes of the mother country’ (Le Corbusier, 1950 in Celik, 1992:66). Le Corbusier’s Obus Plan was never realised, but his attitude reflects that of the colonial administration, dually respecting traditional Islamic urbanism, yet envisaging a new modernity for Algiers.

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OBUS PLAN FOR ALGIERS 1933 LE CORBUSIER

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FERNAND POUILLON


CASE STUDY: DIAR EL MAHÇOUL

URBANISM & POLITICS Fernand Pouillon was an eminent French architect, famed for his insightful neighbourhood developments - Les Grand Ensembles. He worked mainly in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and his home town of Marseille in his early career, however is perhaps most famed for his work in Algiers in the latter years of French colonialism. Pouillon was renowned as the first architect to attempt vernacular modernism in Algiers creating the Diar El-Mahçoul in 1954, the first mixed housing development for both Europeans and native Algerians (Crane, 2010). By applying spatial qualities reminiscent of the Casbah to a modernist development, Pouillon attempted to bridge the gap between Algeria’s Arab-Islamic heritage and modernity. Algiers was undergoing a rapid urbanisation in the mid 20th century with an quickly rising population. Diar el-Mahçoul, was built in the district of Clos Salembier, which had at the time 80% native Algerian occupants, the majority of which were rural migrants, brought to Algiers by the expanding industries, and for whom the lack of adequate housing was a major issue, resulting in many bidonvilles (slums) developing around the area. These Bidonvilles were of particular concern to the French authority as these tended to house nationalist movements (Crane 2008). The construction of Diar el-Mahcoul coincided with the first uprising of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN), a series of attacks against colonial rule which effectively marked the beginning of the Algerian War of Independence, though this was not officially recognised at the time by the French administration. Jacques Chevallier, mayor of Algiers, renowned as the major for the Arabs, attempted to address the housing concern in order to ease the nationalist uprising (Crane, 2008). Therefore the construction of Diar el-Mahçoul with its position in Clos Salembier was a clear political tool used by Chevallier to smooth tensions and show attempts to placate the concerns of native occupants.

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D AR DI R ES SA SAAD ADA A / DIAR EL MA MAHÇ HÇOU ÇOU OULL Scale 1:50 50000 00

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DIAR ES S SAADA DA


DIAR EL MAHÇOUL ÇOUL | CITÉ ITÉ SIMPLE SIMPLE CONFO CONFORT ORTT

DIAR AR EL MAHÇOUL | CITÉ C TÉ CONFORT C CONFORTT NO NORMAL RMAL MAL

DIAR EL-MAHÇOUL / DIAR ES SAADA Scale 1:3000

EXISTING IN 1954

BUILT SINCE 1954

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DIAR EL MAHÇOUL CITÉ SIMPLE CONFORT (DESIDNED FOR NATIVE OCCUPATION)

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(DIAR ES SAADA)

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL (DESIDNED FOR EUROPEAN OCCUPATION)


CASE STUDY: DIAR EL MAHÇOUL

SOCIAL

STRUCTURES

Diar el-Mahçoul, the first development for both European and Native Algerians, is clearly divided into two sectors, as was preferable under colonial policy of the mid 20th century. The Cité Confort Normal designed for European occupancy is located on the pinnacle of Algiers dramatic topography, with stunning vistas across the city and out over the Mediterranean. This position also ensured it could be seen from across the city. The Cité Simple Confort, designed for native Algerian occupants, is less spectacular, residing into the rising hill to the south, facing the industrial area of the district. It was originally neighboured by a large Bidonville which has now been replaced by the large esplanade of the monumental Mémorial du Martyr. The position of Diar el- Mahçoul in Clos Salembier ensured that a large population of ‘elite’ native Algerians, whose political and cultural alliance laid closer to French authority, lived in the district, thus attempting to neutralise political tensions, prove the benefits of French authority and help ease the transition to modernity. Diar el- Mahçoul can be understood as a material manifestation of the social hierarchies of Algerian society in the mid 20th century, a constructed mode of social improvement, from the impoverished Bidonvilles, to the transformative native occupied Cité Simple Confort, and at the top, quite literally raised on the hill, the European Cité Confort Normal, a monumental statue of modernity, visible across the city. Pouillon’s was a philanthropic architecture, loyal to the French authority and sympathetic to the hardships suffered by native populations. ‘I want to take care of my city. She needs it. First, we must provide shelter for the inhabitants. The crisis is terrible. You will see the bidonvilles . Awful. Nothing has been done for these poor people for the last twenty years. . . . Here, everything belongs to Europeans.’ (Pouillon, 1968).

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MONOLYTHIC BUILDING FORM DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL

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CENTRAL PUBLIC SQUARE 1954 DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL

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STAGGERED BUILDING HEIGHTS DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | CITÉ SIMPLE CONFORT

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MARKET PAVILION 1954 DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | CITÉ SIMPLE CONFORT

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CASE STUDY: DIAR EL MAHÇOUL

VERNACULAR MODERN

Pouillon was not a modernist in a Corbusian manner. He was raised from the modern urban fashions of France, but he starkly rejected the disconnection between modernity and heritage, criticising Le Corbusier’s inconsideration of place. Pouillon’s architecture was renowned for its sensitive awareness of and ability for forge a sense of continuity between his modernity and the historical city. ‘I work for the pedestrian, not for the airplane captain. . . . I walk around. . . imaginary spaces and I modify them if I do not get the sensations that I want. It is them [the sensations] that come to me first, together with various geometric plans that delimit them... Everything takes on importance: materials, proportions of openings create the complement of an indispensable harmony. The architect, the urbanist, must think like a sculptor’. (Pouillon, 1968). Diar el- Mahçoul was a ‘modernistic hybrid’ (Celik, 1997:144) the first to attempt to merge an understanding of the ‘sensations’ of the traditional Islamic city with modern French urbanism. Pouillon stated ‘I felt a new architecture being born in me... I began to see how to create a link between the Casbah and my cités’. (1968 in Crane, 2010). Beyond simply applying a picturesque vision of the Casbah, Pouillon’s new vernacular modernism attempted to assimilate its urban qualities in a bid to create a legible understanding of the hybrid culture between ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. In the Cité Simple Confort (native Algerian occupied sector) Pouillon designed a complex composition of building forms with an intimate collection of public spaces, connected by smaller openings, with uneven buildings heights, mixed materiality and naturalistic planting to create a appealing and varied composition of spatial quality. In doing this Pouillon hoped to create a transformative urbanism that would ease the transition to modernity.

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PEDESTRIAN ROUTES

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ROUTES THROUGH THE CITÉ NORMAL ARE WELL DEFINED, CREATING A HIERARCHY OF SPACE, EACH LEADING TO THE CENTRAL PUBLIC SQUARE. THERE IS LESS DISTINCTION IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE WHICH FORMS SMALLER ROAMING ROUTES, ALLOW WING FOR A MORE INTIMATE RELATTIONSHIP BETWEEN SPACES.


VISTAS & LANDMARKS

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | 1954 Scale 1:2000

LOCATED ON THE PINNACLE OF THE CLIFF OF ALGIERS THE CITÉ NORMAL HAS GRAND VISTAS LOOKING OVER THE CITY, AND INSURING IT CAN BE SEEN FROM ACROSS THE CITY. GIVING IT AUTHORITY. THE PUBLIC SPACES OF THE CITÉ SIMPLE ARE RATHER SMALLER AND D ENCLOSED, ALLOWING FOR THE PRIVACY OF ITS RESIDENTS.

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CENTRAL PUBLIC SQUARES

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THE CITÉ NORMAL HAS A LARGE MONUMENTAL PUBLIC SQUARE AT ITS CENTRE. HOWEVER IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE POUILLON CREATED A MARKET PAVILLION, WHCIH ENCLOSES IT CREATING A MORE INTIMATE SPACE WITH A DEFINED MODE OF USE, WITH SECONDARY SQUARES LOCATED THROU UGHOUT THE DEVELOPMENT.


RESIDENTIAL ENTRANCES

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | 1954 Scale 1:2000

RESIDENTIAL ENTRANCES IN THE CITÉ NORMAL TEND TO SERVE A LARGER NUMBER OF RESIDENTS LOCATED IN ON THE MAIN ROUTES. IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE ENTRANCES ARE LOCATED AWAY FROM MAIN CORRIDORS AND TEND NOT TO FACE EA ACH OTHER, REFLECTING THE REQUIREMENT FOR PRIVACY. R

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SURFACE TREATMENT

THE MATERIAL REFLECTANCY OF THE CITÉ NORMAL TENDS TO BE QUITE HIGH DUE TO LARGE AREAS OF WHITE STONE. IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE HOWEVER POUILLON HAS PURPOSEFULLY U OS U INTEGRATED G DIFFERENT MATERIALITY AND A GREA ATER PROVISION OF GREEN SPACE CREATING A VARIATION OF SPATIAL SENSATIONS AND MICRO-CLIMATES MOVING BETWEEN EACH H PUBLIC SPACE

HIGH REFLECTANCE Ground: Light coloured stone. Walls: Light coloured stone. Fully enclosed space. MEDIUM REFLECTANCE Ground: Dark coloured stone. Walls: Light coloured stone. Fully enclosed space. MEDIUM REFLECTANCE Ground: Light coloured stone. Walls: Light coloured stone surfaces. Space enclosed on one side only. LOW REFLECTANCE Ground: Mixed surfacing including a moderate amount of natural material. Walls: Light coloured stone. Space enclosed on one side only. VERY LOW REFLECTANCE Ground: Grass covering Walls: Light coloured stone. Space enclosed on one side only.

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | 1954 Scale 1:2000

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NODES OF SUN EXPOSURE

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THE LARGE OPEN SPACES OF THE CITÉ NORMAL HAVE A TENDENCY TO SUN EXPOSURE, PARTICULARLY FOCUSED IN THE CENTRAL SQUARE AND ESPLANADE OVER THE CLIFF. IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE HOWEVER EXPOSURE IS LIMITED DUE TO THE MORE CLOSELY SPACEES BUILDINGS AND SMA ALLER SCALE OF PUBLLIC SPACES, THUS CREEATING A MORE C CONTROLLED ENVIRON NMENT.


NODES OF SHADING

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | 1954 Scale 1:2000

THE HIGH RISE BUILDINGS OF THE CITÉ NORMAL ALSO FORM NODES OF CONTINUAL SHADING FOCUSED AROUND ITS CENTRE, WHERE AS IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE SHADING IS MORE WIDELY DISPERSED AND LESS CONTINUAL, CON THUS VARYING THE ENVIRONMENTS OF EACH SPACE.

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NODES OF WIND EXPOSURE

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WIND EXPOSURE IF THE MOST OBVIOUS CONTRAST IN ENVIRONMENT. DUE TO ITS EXPOSED POSITION ON THE CLIFF EDGE THE CITÉ NORMAL IS PRONE TO HIGH WIND LEVELS, ITS HIGH BUILDINGS CREATING SIGNIFICANT WIND TUNNELS. THE SPACES PACES OF THE CITÉ SIMPLE HOWEVER ARE PROTECTED BY Y THE HILL, EXPOSURE MOST LIKELY ON ITS PERIP PHERY.


NODES OF SHELTER

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL | 1954 Scale 1:2000

THE HIGH RISE BUILDINGS OF THE CITÉ NORMAL CREATE SPOTS OF ENCLOSURE, CREATING A STRONGLY CONTRASTING LEVEL OF EXPOSURE BETWEEN SPACES. HOWEVER IN THE CITÉ SIMPLE SHELTER IS WIDELY DISPERSED DISPER IN SMALL NODES, THUS CREATING LESS DRAMATIC TRANSITIONS BETWEEN SPAC CES CLIMATIC ENVIRONMENT.

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DESIGN TEST 1:

CREATING URBAN PATTERNS DESIGN QUESTIONS • How does scale and monumentality effect our sensation of urban space? • To what extent can a designer suggest patterns of use without defining it? • How simple or complex can an intervention be to change patterns of use? METHODOLOGY The first design test breaks down the monumental public square of the Cité Confort Normal of the Diar El Mahçoul (designed for European occupancy) into subsections using only simple ground surface treatment. In this way it is exploring the different sensations of scale in ‘modern’ and ‘vernacular’ urban space. The design further explores how material qualities such as texture, scale and colour can subtly influence patterns of use without limiting them. FINDINGS The Cité Confort Normal was designed for European occupancy and has post independence been reappropriated. Its monumentality expresses the grandeur the European occupancy wanted to imply, a stark contrast to the intimacy of public spaces in traditional Islamic urbanism, that have evolved to express the social function of its communities. The urban culture of this space has therefore had to hybridise between its traditional Islamic and French modern heritages. This design test endeavours not to make any assumptions of the condition of this hybridisation. By resisting any constructed division of space the design allows for a free interpretation of spatial use.

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DESIG IGN IG GN TEST GN TES TTE ES ES STT 1 5 6

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DIAR EL-MAHÇOUL / CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL Scale 1:200

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CONTEMPLATION SPACE

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CONGREGATION SPACE

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RECREATION SPACE

Squares of patterned tiles are broken up by brick rows and raised cobbled squares. This subdivision suggests a relatively transient usage, and is designed for use by small groups or single people. This space is located next to colonnade with vistas over the city, a place of contemplation.

Larger squares of patterned tiles again suggest temporary or transitional usage. By removing the highly textured cobbles it creates a smoother surface on which larger events or gatherings could happen.

The sanded area is a free space with undefined usage. By removing suggestion of surfaces it tests the occupants requirements of the space as a whole. This could facilitate small or large recreational events, temporary or semi permanent.

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MARKETPLACE

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PRIMARY ROUTE

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SECONDARY ROUTE

Rows of brick, subdivided by tiled squares suggests the location of market space or similar occupancy. These spaces open out from existing shops creating routes to these shops and enabling them to open out into the public space.

The primary walkway is raised by one brick height with larger smooth slabs suggesting continuous movement and reducing points of congestion on the route. The dark colour defines it in the public space plan, giving it hierarchy in the site.

Secondary walkways use the same large tiles as on the elevated walkway. The space is wider and tiles of lighter colour suggesting lower hierarchy, cobbled edges suggest a slowed pace of movement into other spaces.

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DESIGN N TEST 1

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DIAR EL-MAHÇOUL HÇO / C CITÉ CONFORT ONFO NFO NORMAL NO Scaalee 11:500

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DESIGN TEST 2:

CONNECT/DISCONNECT DESIGN QUESTIONS • How can we design for a ‘third space’ bridging two urban sensations? • Should an intervention refer or defer from the variation of spatial qualities? • How do we deal with aesthetic and materiality when bridging between areas of different spatial sensation? METHODOLOGY Developing from the primary route defined in design test 1, test 2 considers connectivity between the strategically separated urban forms and addresses urban barriers and transitions. A simple smooth stone walkway, raised only by one step, moves from the cable car station which leads to the ‘vernacular’ city, through the modernist Cité Confort Normal, vernacular modern, Cité Simple Confort finally connecting to the esplanade of the Mémorial du Martyr (Martyrs Memorial). FINDINGS The design aims to form continuity between the different urban forms, reducing the shock between the starkly changing architectural sensations. Its simplicity does not contrast or clash with the materiality of the other spaces but tries to harmonise between each space. The walkway is a theoretical transient third space, bridging between areas of differing urban sensations. Therefore its simple treatment of form and materiality is key. As it moves between different areas it does not try to force a spatial transition, but defers enough from the space it is transiting to slowly introduce the changing spatial quality.

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CASE STUDY:

CASBAH ALGIERS

PUBLIC/PRIVATE LEGIBILITY The material difference between traditional Islamic and modernist urban space is blatant, victim to an orientalist mystification due to the lack of common understanding into how the visual language of the city represents, and informs, its function. Native occupants of the Casbah know what is public and private by the rules of the urban form, this is not something that is necessarily recorded or purposefully designed. It is just culturally understood by the occupants, and was, like most vernacular forms of architecture, built by its inhabitants and evolutionarily developed as the city grew. Looking at a typical neighbourhood of Algiers’ Casbah, it is arranged around a central square, in close proximity to a Mosque and water fountain. Primary routes, along which public facilities, souks, cafes etc. are located, lead from this square to secondary ‘satellite’ squares, further connecting to neighbouring communities. Secondary routes lead from these towards residences, subdividing into smaller alleys which become increasingly private until they serve just a few residential entrances. This is not a type of urbanism that can be understood by a western type of mapping, its legibility is understood by an acquired knowledge of the cultural structures represented in the sensual language of the city’s architecture. Kevin Lynch discussed the nature of urban legibility concluding that ‘it now seems unlikely that there is any mystic ‘instinct’ of way-finding. Rather there is a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment. This organization is fundamental to the efficiency and to the very survival of free-moving life’. (1960:3) Traditional Islamic urbanism is filled with ‘sensory cues’ that have evolved with the city as it grew; this is something lost to modernism, particularly when applied in a colonial context.

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THE CASBAH, ALGIERS

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Neighbourhood arrangement Scale 1:2000

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Public Squares Public square at the centre of neighbourhood with secondary satellite squares.

Primary Access Routes Main access routes leading between public squares and other neighbourhoods. Defined hierarchy from entirely public roads to semi-private residential alleys.

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Public Facilities Public facilities located around the public square and main roads, keeping hubs of public interaction away from residences.

Residential Entrances Residential entrances located away from main public spaces on semi-private secondary streets. Streeets are staggered to aid privacy, Residential entrances never facing each another.

Scale 1:2000

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DESIGN TEST 3:

ADAPTABLE ARCHITECTURE DESIGN QUESTIONS • How can we design for flexibility? • What are the vital structures of modernism? • What are the limits to which a modern structure can be manipulated to express ‘vernacular’ culture? METHODOLOGY Design test 3 examines the balance of structure and flexibility required when forming a hybrid architecture between traditional Islamic and modern French heritage. It considers the strategies modernist architecture required, such as effective servicing, centralised circulation, security, urban rationalism, etc. and develops a grid which connects to the ‘modern’ city in these ways, yet where possible is flexible and adaptable, appropriating to vernacular culture, such as rules of privacy, spatial order, or accessibility. FINDINGS This design is entirely conceptual, focusing on corridors as architectural means of cultural expression. Whilst the design images show this being an internal corridor, this same concept could be applied to public space or pedestrian/road networks. By its nature this test somewhat favours modernist regulation as it forces vernacular appropriation to continuously negotiate between cultural expression and the spatial restraints of the grid.

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The design starts by applying a regular 2m2 grid which contains a central open stairwell and service provisions spaced at regular intervals approximate size of an apartment.


CONCEPT DESIGN Scale 1:200 :200

Within this grid appropriation can grow which expresses the cultural requirements and sensations of residential space in a hybrid form between ‘modern’ and ‘vernacular’.


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HYBRID CULTURE & AN ALIEN URBANITY This strategically dualistic urban heritage of Algiers forced the city, upon independence in 1962, to appropriate the subjugated remains of tradition urbanity, the ever expanding slums and perturbed legacy of modernity, attempting to find a new hybrid urban culture. The process of cultural evolution had been understood by Le Corbusier as a ‘slow accumulation... passing sometimes painfully, sometimes easily, through the various intermediate stages’ (1929 trans.1987:30). His urbanism attempted to gradually assimilate native culture to modernity, as the native population ‘does not simply take over the alien fruits of another civilization’ but will ‘ripen when all its technical resources are evolved’ (1929 trans.1987:29). Le Corbusier’s view of cultural evolution still held a somewhat orientalist assumption of the superiority of European modernism as the end goal of the hybridising process. Homi Bhabha (1990) however argues that the states of cultural hybridity, the ‘intermediate stages’ that Corbusier understood, are not liminal cultural evolutions suspended between two original states, but that they have their own independent validity, ‘hybridisation is the most powerful sign of cultural productivity’ (Hernández, 2010). The very nature of culture requires a process of hybridity, for Bhabha ‘the importance of hybridity is not to be able to trace two original moments from which the third emerges, rather hybridity to me is the ‘Third Space’, which enables other positions to emerge.’ (Bhabha, 1990: 211), a value dismissed by colonial assimilation policy and segregated dualistic urbanism. Upon independence Algiers was forced to rapidly appropriate the dualistic urban form. Informal settlements and architectural adaptation escalated as colonial building policy was dismissed and formal design impossible, there being only one qualified Algerian architect in 1962. This is particularly evident around Pouillon’s Diar el Mahçoul and Diar es Saada due to the high number of native Algerians in the industrial area. These, like many Grand Ensembles built for European occupants, proved particularly alienated from their surrounding urbanity. Today’s Algiers is a ‘third space’ urban culture evolved from is traditional Islamic and post-colonial heritages, yet the city still tells of its tumultuous past, plighted by the forceful urban segregation. In many places there are stark boarders where ‘modern’ meets ‘vernacular’, the resilient urban form unable to adapt to the hybridised urban culture.

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CONTRASTING URBANITES

CASBAH ALGIERS Scale 1:2000 80

TRADITIONAL ISLAMIC NEIGHBOURHOOD NEIGHBOURHOODS WITHIN THE TRADITIONAL CASBAH EXPRESS AN IMPORTANT UNWRITTEN HIERARCHY OF SPACES THAT IS EXPRESSED AND UNDERSTOOD THROUGH THE SPATIAL SENSATION. PRIMARY ROUTES LEAD BETWEEN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY PUBLIC SPACES, FROM WHICH SECONDARY ROUTES LEAD TO RESIDENCES BECOMING MORE PRIVATISED.


FRENCH MODERNIST GRAND ENSEMBLE THE SPACES WITHIN THE MODERNIST CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL GRAND ENSEMBLE ARE USED TO ASSERT A SENSE OF GRANDEUR. WIDE BOULEVARDS BETWEEN THE RESIDENTIAL BLOCKS CREATE THE PRIMARY ROUTES WITH SUBSTANTIAL OPENINGS LEADING TO THE MONUMENTAL PUBLIC SQUARE AT ITS CENTRE.

DIAR EL MAHÇOUL (CITÉ CONFORT NORMAL) ALGIERS Scale 1:2000 81


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DIAR ES SAADA THE FOLLOWING DESIGN TESTS WILL EXAMINE THE BOARDER CONDITION BETWEEN THE ‘MODERN’ DIAR ES SAADA, AND THE ‘VERNACULAR’ CITY WHICH HAS DEVELOPED AROUND IT IN THE YEARS POST INDEPENDENCE (PHOTOGRAPH 1954)

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Diar es Saada Saada, aada d Algiers Scale 1:10000 S


THE DIAR ES SAADA WAS BUILT FOR ENTIRELY EUROPEAN OCCUPANCY, DISTANCED FROM THE MIXED OCCUPANCY DIAR EL-MAHÇOUL. POST-INDEPENDENCE THE ‘VERNACULAR’ CITY HAS GROWN UP AROUND IT, LEAVING IT ALIENATED FROM THE SURROUNDING URBANITY. THE BOARDER CONDITION FORMS A STARK CONTRAST IN URBAN SENSIBILITY, CREATING A BOUNDARY EFFECTING HOW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND AND THEREFORE INTERACT WITH THE SPACE.

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DESIGN TEST 4:

ASSIMILATING SPACE DESIGN QUESTIONS • How can building mass be manipulated on boarder conditions? • How can a hybrid ‘third space’ be found between those of the ‘modern’ and the ‘vernacular’ city? • How does this effect the hierarchy of public spaces? METHODOLOGY This tests creates 5 evolutions of building form, each associating more or less with the ‘modernist’ and ‘vernacular’ urban forms it is sat between. The 5 stages question the hierarchy of public space and the transitions between them. Whilst early stages very much resemble the modernist block typology, the latter focus on the importance of the public realm both in modern and traditional urbanity. FINDINGS This tests purposefully tests the extremities how far the building mass can assimilate itself to the modernist block whilst creating a sensitive reaction to vernacular urbanity, so whilst the early stages show little sensitivity the final development forms a soft boarder transition whilst maintaining an affiliation to modernist principles.

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• • •

Additional block to Diar es-Saada New public square Internal courtyard stair wells


Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1:1000

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• • •

Courtyard stair expands to an open corridor Creates a hierarchy of public space Creates transitory routes


Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1:1000

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Reflects mass of Diar es-Saada Begins to orientate itself to the ‘vernacular’ city Open up new public spaces around it


Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1:1000

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• • •

Orientates itself with Diar es-Saada Stepping form structures itself into ‘vernacular’ city Creates a series of public spaces


Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1:1000

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• • •

Brings together stepping form with open courtyard stairs and corridors Structures public space through building Uses public realm as a bridge between ‘modern’ and ‘vernacular’


Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1:1000

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EXTERNAL WALKWAYS REDUCE DEMAND ON INTERNAL SPACE

REGULAR STRUCTRAL BAY AT 4M SPACING

WHERE STAIRCASE CUTS STRUCTURE BAY SUPPORTED BY CORE

ABILITY FOR ADDITIONAL BLOCKS

EXTENSIONS IN 12M INTERVALS

10M2 COURTYARD STAIRWELL

4M WIDE CORRIDOR ALLO ALLOWS FOR ADDITIONAL STAIRS BETWEEN STRUCTURES

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Structural Concept Scale 1:1000


DESIGN TEST 5:

FLEXIBILITY & EXPANSION DESIGN QUESTIONS • Can this form be flexible to different urban boundaries? • How can the flexible grid concept be expanded to a flexible urban form? • To what extent does this building form favour ‘modern’ or ‘vernacular’? METHODOLOGY This design test creates a flexible building form that can adjust and expand to meet the needs of an urban boarder condition. This test expands upon design test 3, exploring how the flexible corridor concept can be applied to an urban scale, maintaining the ‘rules’ of modernism whilst allowing it to freely find a relationship to the ‘vernacular’ urban form that surrounds it. The stairwells become external courtyard style stairs (a playful reference to the traditional Islamic courtyard house), opening the ‘corridor’ to create an open space flowing between the ‘modern’ and ‘vernacular’ public realms. FINDINGS This design again sides with modernist logic of space, yet due to its flexibility creates a series of new public spaces that soften the transition from the modern to the vernacular city. To its strength it does not assume what the cultural condition of a boarder is, and so could be applied to different sites where modernism meets the vernacular, potentially in other post-colonial cities across the world. Like test 3, the design allows for an appropriation of the spaces sensory condition that will represent the hybrid state of its condition.

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DESIGN EES SIG GN TES G TEST EST 5

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DWELLING DW D WELLI L IN ING NG O ON TTHE HEE BO B BOARDER OARDER O RD D R


Diar es S Saada,, A Algiers Scale 1:1000 S

MERGING M ME R RGING INTO NT THEE CITY NTO CITTY Y

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DESIGN D ESIG ESIGN TEST 5

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Diar es Saada, Algiers A Scale 1:500 :500

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ROOF PLAN

FLOOR PLAN

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DESIGN TEST 6:

BUILDINGS IN SPACE / SPACE IN BUILDINGS Design Questions • How can a space become a hybrid of two spatial sensations? • How far does mass effect & define our sensory perception of space? • How far can materiality and aesthetics be used to manipulate our sensation of spacial conditions? Methodology This design test examines how the manipulation of perceptions of scale can effect our reaction to the mass housing blocks, and how intimacy can be found in the monolithic. Public space is not the remaining space around the buildings, but is the central design consideration. Findings The design continually plays with juxtapositions of scale. The roof plan appears as a large urban block, whereas the floor plan creates a complex transition of spaces. It ensures that there is a continuity of logic between both the modern and vernacular. Within the public spaces that are created the visual language continually explores this juxtaposition, setting monolithic concrete end facades set against the complex sensation, user oriented space of the internal facades.

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DESIGN D E TESTT 8

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DESIGN TEST 6 THE BLOCK FORMATION OF THE BUILDING UNITS FORMS A TRANSITION OF SCALE BETWEEN THE DIAR ES SAADA AND THE ‘VERNACULAR’ CITY, GRADUATING IN HEIGHT BETWEEN THEM. THE PUBLIC SPACE WITHIN THE BLOCKS DEVELOPS A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INTIMATE AND MONOLITHIC PUBLIC SPACES OF THE TWO CONTRASTING URBAN SENSATIONS.

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DESIGN TEST 6

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THE DESIGN PLAYS WITH JUXTAPOSITIONS OF VISUAL LANGUAGE, SUCH AS THE MONOLITHIC PLAIN FACADE AT THE END OF THE BLOCK SET AGAINST THE COMPLEX PATTERNS AND MIXED MATERIALITY THAT BUILDS UP WITHIN THE PUBLIC SPACES.


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‘Moving elements of the city, and in particular the people and their activities, are as important as the stationary physical parts. We are not simply observers of this spectacle, but are ourselves a part of it, on the stage with the participants.’ (Lynch, 1960:2)


DESIGN TEST 7:

DESIGNING THE UNDESIGNED DESIGN QUESTIONS • Where is the balence between top down and bottom up design? • What are the limitis for an architect designing in a hybrid culture? • How far should spatial sensuality be designed or left to evolve? METHODOLOGY This design test examines the mode of development in top-down ‘modern’ and bottom-up ‘vernacular’ urbanism. It develops from the flexible grid of tests 3 and 5. The grid forms the ‘stationary parts’ (Lynch, 1960), whilst its adaptability allows for ‘moving elements’ applied as bottom-up cultural expressions. The internal facades are entirely adaptable to the addition of doors, windows, decorations, planting etc. whilst the ground floor Souk units can develop depending on communal requirements, and an evolutionary spatial hierarchy forms within the network of public spaces. FINDINGS The grid develops a logic that forms continuity from the modern Diar es-Saada, finding a limit to which it applies adaptable structures, which allow for bottom-up spatial actions, expressing a cultural sensational hybrid between the ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ heritages. Perhaps one of the most important lessons to be learnt from the modernist movement was the limits of top down design.

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE CASBAH ALGIERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF UNITÉ D’HABITATION MARSEILLE, FRANCE. LE CORBUSIER (1952)

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ADAPTION OF SPACES Scale 1:200

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DESIGN TEST 8 THE CONCRETE STRUCTURE CREATES AN EFFECTIVE PORTAL FRAME THAT REQUIRES NO ADDITIONAL BRACING. THE OUTWARD FINS CREATE LATERAL BRACING WHILST ALSO FORMING A PLATFORM ON WHICH EXTERNAL WALKWAYS CAN BE CONSTRUCTED. WHERE THE STAIRWELLS ARE ADDED THE CORE LIFT AND SERVICE SHAFTS TAKE THE LOAD OF THE REMOVED COLUMNS, AND FORM A CENTRAL ADDITIONAL CORE STRUCTURE, WHILST THE SOLID END WALLS CREATE A LARGE ADDITIONAL BRACE.

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8M PORTAL SPAN

CONCEPT PLAN Scale 1:500

STRUCTURAL WALL PROVIDING ADDITIONAL BRACING

STRUCTURAL COLUMNS AT 4M SPACING

CENTRAL CORE STRUCTURE

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DESIGN TEST 8:

PUBLIC/PRIVATE DYNAMIC DESIGN QUESTIONS • How far can design persuade patterns of use without defining them? • What are the different limitation of a designer when creating spaces of varying degrees of publicness and privacy? METHODOLOGY This design test pushes the boundaries of how far spatial use can be persuaded without being defined, developing from ideas considered in test 1. It considers spatial hierarchies of traditional Islamic urbanism as understood in neighbourhoods of Algiers Casbah. The ground floor is entirely for public services, divided into units of different sizes. ‘Souk’ units open onto one central corridor, suggesting, but not defining, that as a hierarchal public space. The upper residential floors also have a suggested structure of public and private. Each apartment is two stories, with a formal door on the lower floor opening to a ‘public’ floor and a private ‘family’ door opening to the ‘private’ floor. This definition is suggests through spatial scale, width of openings and materiality, building up a spatial sensation that suggests patterns of use. FINDINGS The structure of public and private floors becomes more prescriptive than functions previously explored. It does however becomes a further mode of flexibility as it creates three platforms, the communal public space of the ground floor, formal neighbourhood space of ‘public’ floors and the intimate neighbours space of the ‘private floors’, within which expressions of spatial sensation can evolve.

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SO 28 UK M 2 UN IT

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GROUND FLOO FLOOR

Diar es Saada, Algiers Scale 1:500


DESIGN TEST T 8

SAMPLE PUBLIC FLOOR SA (FLOOR 2/4/6/8)

Diarr es e Saada, Algiers Scale 1: 1:500 124


SAMPLE PRIVATE FLOOR SA (FLOOR 3/5/7/9)

PUBLIC SPACE PUBLIC ROUTE SEMI-PRIVATE S EMI-PR SPACE SEMI-PRIVATE SEMI-PR VATE ROUTE PRIVATE RIVATE T SPAC SPACE 125


COU CO UR RTYA TYAR TY ARD RD S STTAI A RWEL RW R WEELLLS LS CR REEAT ATE A RO ROUT UTE O OFF PUB U LIIC S SP PAC PAC ACE MOVI MO OV VIIN NG G THRO TH HR RO O OUG UG U GH THE THE BUIL TH BUIL BU ILDI DING DI NG G UNITS NITS NI TS FOR RMI M NG N A PE PERP ERP R EN ENDI DICU DI CULA ULLA AR FL FLO OW W TO TTH HE PU PUBL BLIC C SP S PA AC CE CO CORR RID IDO OR RS A RS AN ND CO ND CON NN NEEC C CTI TIN TI NG G BEETW B WEE EEN N TH THE HE D DIIAR R ES S SA AAD AD DA A AN AND TTH HE ‘V VER ERNA RN NA AC CU ULA LAR R’’ CITTY

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DESIGN TEST 9:

THIRD SPACE CIRCULATION DESIGN QUESTIONS • How can circulation mediate between public and private spaces? • How can a sensation be maintained or transited in circulation? METHODOLOGY Developing concepts explored in test 8, test 9 explores the importance of circulation in defining degrees of publicness and privacy. It tests the importance of transition in spatial sensation, exploring how theories previous discussed on the urban scale can be applied within a building. The courtyard stair wells are central to the transition of public spaces through the building, creating a network of spaces moving between the ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ city. To stairs, a ‘public’ and a ‘private’, are arranged in a double helix. The public stairs open only to the ‘public’ floors and are wide and open, constructed of precast concrete, whilst the private open to every floor and are much thinner with a dark, pattern embossed metal material. There is no barrier stopping ruling who can enter either stair, their publicness of privateness is only suggested by the spatial sensation, reflecting the structures of public and private in traditional Islamic neighbourhoods. FINDINGS Rather than a placeless third space, as stair wells often become, the double helix stair challenges how the sensations of public and private can be maintained and interwoven within one over all structure. It tests how a prescriptive definition of space can apply a structure to enhance the overall flexibility of the public/private definition within the building.

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DESIGN TEST 9 PU BL IC

PR IVA T

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Access to public roof terrace Internal courtyard style opening

PUBLIC

1800m barrier with inset handrail to aid privacy of private access floors. Public access stair closed to private floor.

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IDENTIAL PRIVATE ENTRY RES

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PRIVATE ACCESS STAIR OPENING TO EVERY FLOOR FLOORS. BRUSHED BRONZE FINISH. PUBLIC AM

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PUBLIC ACCESS STAIR OPENING TO ALTERNATE FLOORS. PRECAST CONCRETE. 128

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roof

DESIGN TEST 10: SPACE IN THE SKY Design Questions • How much structure must be provided in open public spaces to persuade interaction? • Can a hybrid be found between modern and vernacular open space? Methodology The roof top terraces bring together the naturalistic atmosphere of traditional Islamic cities with the openness of modernist public space. The design draws precedent from the roof terrace of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse (Unité d’Habitation, Marseille) (1952), heralded as one of the most successful modernist spaces, due to its active embrace of the natural environment and promotion of communal activity. The roof of each built unit develops a character of its own, one designated as a children’s play area, one with benches, others with planting, shading, facility for exhibitions and events etc. Like on the Cité Radieuse’s roof terrace these spaces provide facilities but are adaptable to community needs. Findings The block buildings create a high density urban form. Intimate public spaces create controlled micro-climatic environments reflecting the ground condition of ‘vernacular’ Islamic urbanity. The roof terrace of traditional Islamic courtyard houses give essential access to light and the natural environment, an important counter space to the shaded enclosed public squares. Le Corbusier described the roofs terraces of the Casbah as an ‘immense stairway, a tribune invaded at night by millions of adorers of nature.’ (in Celik, 1992:62). In a mass housing development where individual houses do not have large outdoor spaces, the public terraces explored in this final test therefore satisfy access to nature in hybrid with the publicness of modernist space.

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PRECEDENT: ROOF OF CITÉ RADIEUSE - UNITÉ D’HABITATION, MARSEILLE LE CORBUSIER (BUILT 1952)


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DRAWING A VERNACULAR MODERN

CONCLUDING REMARKS Our sensual perception of the city has an inextricable relationship to how we interact with it. The city is a spectacle, and ‘we are not simply observers of this spectacle, but are ourselves a part of it, on the stage with the participants.’ (Lynch, 1960:2). The material city represents the cultural city and how its occupants identify with urban space. Cities are ever hybridising, adjusting to an array of changing cultural influences, which become recognised and recorded in the complex composition of the urban spectacle. The constant hybridisation within cities allows for the critical assessment of these influences, searching for an ever improving urbanism. The power of critical assessment was lost to colonial modernism, as orientalist colonial assimilation policy assumed a superiority of modern European urbanism. The strength of cultural hybridity in a colonial context is how it ‘unsettles the narcissistic demands of colonial power’ (Bhabha 1994:112), giving potential to the otherwise oppressed counter-culture to critique the colonial authority. Both modernism and vernacular architecture represent explicitly social orientated sensibilities at different ends of the architectural spectrum. Modernism denied a changeable sensation, prescribing instead a functionalist spatial use that expressed political and cultural intents through its grandeur. It was a top down employment expressing how the city wanted to be seen, rather than as in vernacular urbanism, a bottom up expression of the cities evolving sociocultural status. The disconnection from active culture was debatably one of modernism’s greatest failings, particularly when applied in the colonies which had an extreme disassociation from ‘modern’ urban culture.

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The rigidity of modernist public space has post-independence resisted appropriation and caused a lack of communal ownership of the public realm, this is a common critique of modernist architecture world wide, particularly of Grand Ensembles due to their enclosure. The series of design tests explored in this study so far have experimented with means of breaking down the rigidity of modernist urbanism in order to form a relationship between ‘vernacular’ and ‘modern’ urban space that can represents the hybrid nature of a post-colonial culture. The tests have continually assessed the degree to which the rules and logic of both the ‘modern’ and ‘vernacular’ city can be manipulated in order to find a hybrid state that represents both. It has been a continual challenge to break down the strategically hierarchical status each urbanism holds, testing how authoritarian equilibrium can be found between the two architectures. This has meant embracing urban sensuality beyond a simple picturesque appreciation, to engage with and explore how an urban sensation represents culture and is legible to its inhabitants. Through analysis of this we can understand how as a designer one can persuade patterns of use without dictating their cultural implications, encouraging the continual hybridisation of urban culture.

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FIGURE REFERENCES

144

Page 01

Portrait of Fernand Pouillon. Still from ‘Fernand Pouillon à Alger (1967)’. [Retrieved 09/01/14.] [http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q2p487d0r4]

Page10

Self made composit of the Casbah Algiers [Retrieved 01/04/14.] [http://design.epfl.ch/organicites/2010b/1assignments/3-vernacular-lessons/casbah-alger ] and Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin, Paris (1925). [Retrieved 11/12/13.] [http://geopolicraticus.tumblr.com/ post/21313772381/planners-and-their-cities]

Page 12

The lower Casbah, Algiers [Retrieved 21/04/14.] [http://www.stephencodrington.com/TravelDiaries/ North_Africa_Travel_Diary_2011_12.html]

Page 14

Postcard from Algiers (1928) [Retrieved 05/04/14] [http://www.ebay.com/itm/1928-ALGIERS-PhotoKASBAH-MARKET-STREET-Scene-ETHNIC-TYPESCasbah-ALGERIA-/290921727991?pt=Art_Photo_ Images&hash=item43bc4947f7]

Page 15

Postcard from Algiers [Retrieved 08/04/14] [http:// postcardparadise.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/city-ofalgiers.html]

Page 16 (a)

The Cathedral and the Casbah, Algiers (1913) [Retrieved 08/04/14] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/ gettyresearchinstitute/3362582721/in/photostream/]

Page 16 (b)

Junction of Casbah and French Quarter. (1931) In Çelik, Z. (1997). Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule. London: University of California Press.

Page 18

Climat de France (1954-1957) in Algiers, by Fernand Pouillon. [Retrieved 18/03/14] [http://socks-studio. com/2014/01/22/climat-de-france-1954-1957-inalgiers-by-fernand-pouillon/]

Page 19

The Monument Of Martyrs seen from Algiers Experimental Botanic Garden. [Retrieved 15/04/14] [http://helloyas.deviantart.com/art/Summer-Time-InAlgiers-I-244788045]


Page 20

‘Distinguished Moorish Women I, Algiers’ [Retrieved 15/04/14] [http://www.wdl.org/en/item/8801/]

Page 22

Le Corbusier. Connection of Algiers, Marseille & Paris. In Çelik, Z. (1997). Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule. London: University of California Press.

Page 24

Plan Obus, Le Corbusier. (1933) [Retrieved 10/04/14] [http://martin-laura-pa1-1213.blogspot. co.uk/2013/02/recopilacion-de-informacion-e0.html]

Page 26

Portrait of Fernand Pouillon. [Retrieved 11/12/13.] [http://www.architetturadipietra.it/wp/?p=3503]

Page 32

Diar el-Mahcoul, Algiers. In Çelik, Z. (1997). Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule. London: University of California Press.

Page 34

Diar el-Mahcoul, Algiers. [Retrieved 16/12/13.] [http:// www.vitaminedz.com/blog_fr_28605_Photos_18. html]

Page 38

Diar el-Mahcoul, Algiers. [Retrieved 16/12/13.] [http:// diaressaada.alger.free.fr/f-mahcoulhier/f2-cartes_ postales/cartes_mahcoul.html]

Page 39

Diar el-Mahcoul, Algiers. [Retrieved 06/12/13.] [http:// lestizis.free.fr/Algerie/Alger/QuartiersEst/index.html]

Page 40

Market square of Diar el-Mahcoul. In Çelik, Z. (1997). Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule. London: University of California Press.

Page 41

Cite simple confort, Diar el-Mahcoul, Algiers. [Retrieved 28/12/13] [http://www.archiref.com/en/ node/7439#.UtHWIZ5_uSo]

Page 64

Aerial view of Casbah, Algiers. [Retrieved 09/01/14] [http://thefunambulist.net/2011/10/05/militarizedarchitectures-urban-rebellion-algierss-labyrinthinecasbah-vs-new-yorks-weaponized-grid-plan/]

Page 66

Street in the Casbah, Algiers. [Retrieved 09/01/14] [http://tripwow.tripadvisor.com/slideshow-photo/thecasbah-algiers-algiers-algeria.html?sid=13107422&f id=upload_12944293981-tpfil02aw-20126]

Page 82

Diar es Saada, Algiers. (1954) [Retrieved 04/03/14] [http://www.vinyculture.com/levolution-dalger-enphotos-de-1950-a-2025/]

Page 134

Roof of Cité Radieuse - Unité d’Habitation, Marseille. Authors own photograph.

The list references all images sourced from third parties. Any image not referenced above was newly produced for this study. 145

Vernacular Modern: Sensibility and Space in the Urban Spectacle of Post-Colonial Algiers  

Pilot Study by Charlotte Robinson, Candidate for the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design 2013-15, University of Cambridge.

Vernacular Modern: Sensibility and Space in the Urban Spectacle of Post-Colonial Algiers  

Pilot Study by Charlotte Robinson, Candidate for the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design 2013-15, University of Cambridge.

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