Second Place


ARCH 323

Publication Date

Fall 12-12-2019


Africana Studies | Architectural History and Criticism | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Women's Studies

Description or Abstract

Algiers, the first French colony in Africa, was conquered in 1830 and gained independence in 1962. During this period, Algiers was constructed into an Orientalist acting ground that was shaped through political, social, economic formations in the built environment. The French colonial fascination with Algiers centered around the casbah, and thus the casbah became a laboratory for ethnographic and urban reflections. The French process of urban planning included military intervention, preservation motivated by exoticism and museology, and superstructure master plans dictated by the present benefit of indigenous communities to the colonial regime. Le Corbusier’s contact with Algiers further expresses the imperialist dynamics and the ways in which myths are physically acted upon. The formation of culture is a main component of the process of imperialism and, according to Edward Said, “by continuing consolidation within education, literature, and the visual and musical arts.” Architecture cannot 1 be removed from this equation, and rather must be understood as a main tool of colonial powers to control experience of culture and maintain Orientalist ideologies. Colonial urban planning, enacted through the politics of preservation and especially present in Le Corbusier’s master plan, is embedded with racial, gendered, and religious colonial frameworks that contribute to and further the French regime in explicit and implicit ways.