On-site Technical Review Report-400 Housing Units, El Oued, Algeria

Salama, Ashraf M (2001) On-site Technical Review Report-400 Housing Units, El Oued, Algeria. Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

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The public-housing project comprises 400 units in the city of El Oued, located in east-central Algeria, 350 kilometres from the Tunisian border. It is set in a mountainous desert area, characterized by scattered settlements and small villages, and serves a wide variety of middleclass families. The project as it was finally realized is the result of collaborative efforts between the architects and the local authority. With the clear aim of being responsive to the culture and environment of the region, the design and construction were developed over a period of more than ten years, based on social studies and surveys and a strong awareness of the regional identity. The technology adopted for the project is simply a reinforced concrete construction system. Through sensitivity to the climate and to the cultural traditions of the inhabitants, the reinterpretation of socio-spatial needs into built form for public housing has resulted in a residential environment that is both functional and efficient. The incorporation of traditional climate-control techniques into the construction system paves the way for developing aesthetic standards for public-housing schemes and results in a visually appealing residential environment.