lunes, 4 de agosto de 2014


This year of Studio 5 completes a series of specialisation in Architecture as Comparative Studies:

Architecture and y Landscape:          Destination Iceland
Architecture and Gender:               Destination Istanbul
Architecture and Time:                 Destination Naples
Architecture and Democracy:            Destination Athens
Architecture and Miscegenation:        Destination Marseille

All of them are courses that also are based on the trip as an experience that consolidates the links with the specialisation.


"... the black soul is a construction of white folk."
Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks

There are countless texts that build the postcolonial theory. From Derrida to Stuart Hall, through Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Homi Bhabha, to Walter Mignolo and Frantz Fanon. These authors have defined postcolonialism, beyond being a stream of critical and literary thought, until becoming a field of action against the inequalities that still exist in the decolonized countries.

The collapse of the European empires began from the end of the World War II. This decolonization process brougth with itself the need for the new states to build a national identity. Without any doubt, this is a difficult task considering that for many years the colonists have attributed a lower status to the culture of the colonized.

As soon as the native language came to reverse the thinking instilled by colonists to defend the English, French or German as the languages of civilization, the literature in these new countries began to appear as a powerful weapon of emancipation. Intertwined with culture, architecture presents a much slower dynamics, and it is still engaged in a search a hybrid between the colonial values and those structures still valid from the original culture.

The process of colonization and decolonization of Algeria is an exemplary case for this course, and its study seeks to produce an architecture that responds to its contemporary social reality.

Traditional Algerian architecture corresponds largely to the Ottoman period from the 15th to the 19th century. From this period still remains the medina in the upper part of the city, with an architecture characterized by a structure of courtyard houses that responded to religious, gender and family structures, as well as daily routines.

The subsequent French stage, from 1830 until the independence in 1962, brought the Ville Nouvelle. The French colonial discourse constructed the myth of having the mission to civilize, presenting in that way the French culture as superior to the indigenous of North Africa. In the late 19th century France gained such a confidence in its full settlement in Algeria that proposed a colonial architecture to convert Algiers in the capital of the French Africa. For that reason, most of the existing palaces and mosques that existed in the waterfront of the city were demolished, all of them monuments of Ottoman architecture symbolizing the power of Islam. Instead there were built Beaux-Arts buildings, at the same time than forcing indigenous people to migrate to the medina, overcrowding it. Once more, the construction of the colonial city, presented its justification by criteria of improvement, advancement and progress, caused hatred in the displaced indigenous population, combined with feelings of desolation at the forever lost of cultural memory.

The feeling of independence was thus always present in part of the colonized population, and growing to explode at the end of World War II, when many Algerian military who had contributed to the liberation of France were outraged by the mistreatment suffered by native citizens.

Just one year before the beginning of the Algerian Revolution in 1954, as following Le Corbusier's maxim "Architecture or Revolution" or the Obus Plan for Algiers (1933), the French government launched a great plan of housing construction for the indigenous population. This housing policy aimed to cut the growth of the Algerian liberation movements. By providing modern houses to the inhabitants of the crowded medina it was expected to cause permanent changes in the traditional sense of the Algerian community, gender relations and family structure. They were, for the French administration, the pillars of the Algerian anti-colonial resistance. From this period are the immense blocks of housing, works by Pierre Marie, Louis & Jose Miquel Ferrer-Laloë and Fernand Pouillon.

Currently the courtyard house in the medina no longer responds to contemporary lifestyle, while the French apartment blocks also denied cultural aspects that need to be considered today.


After the courses, Studio 2 and Studio 3, characterized by intimate architecture, Studio 4 introduced us to architecture understanding it as an essential part of Comparative Studies:


In Studio 5 we will work from the local culture, mapping existing values, connecting actors, designing exchange services as well as shaping social innovation labs in order to generate and identify new situations in the city.

Algiers is characterised for being an extreme city in terms of the use that it has been done of architecture as an antirevolutionary strategy. We will learn there on the conflicts derived from the lack of identification of its population with the courtyard houses of the old medina, as well as with the cultural imposition of its colonial architecture.

Now we begin a journey into the following public aspects:

- To detect new social and organizational forms, from linking production to consumption and to recognize how the different items are made, from its raw material to the final product.
- Awareness towards sustainability: to develop territorial concepts established by social and environmental qualities of consumption.

From these premises, our course will establish a new reading of the city of Algiers that advances a future organization for/by its inhabitants. This planning will include the use of collaborative webs, neighbourhood movements, process of regeneration or strategies to combat gentrification.


The approach to Reality through a journey involves different phases. First, you create the expectation, followed by the experience of the emotional impact, to reach finally the project that is driven by the emotional memory.

Studio 5 starts in Algiers, revising the city always with the idea of elaborating a retroactive manifesto (see Delirious NY, by Rem Koolhaas). This is a trip to a place, very far from our reality, which will bring out a real need to learn from the local, its technology and social culture. In so doing, it will help us to adopt the relationship, Architecture and Postcolonialism, and understood it as future possibilities.

The students will be organized in groups of 3, incorporating an Erasmus student in each of them. An exchange of information is encouraged, establishing a basis for a stimulating architectural production. The weblog of our class will collect all exercises, plus crossed comments made by each student of the work of their peers.

Note: English will be the teaching language.

- Francisco Jarauta, Professor of Philosophy (Murcia)
- Juan Antonio Molina, Arquitect (Murcia)
- Manuel Báez, Associate Professor of Architecture (Otawa)

Studio 5 begins on the 30/01/15 and ends on the 22/05/15. We start with the study trip to Algiers, to the desert and Oran, from the 2nd to the 8th of March.

We will leave Alicante by ferry towards Algiers, returning by ferry from Oran. This is an exclusive experience to the members of our class since it is a pedagogical tool of the Studio. The student who has followed Studio 4 in our group will have priority for registration.
The student’s goal is to learn and find opportunities for the coursework. Both in Algiers and Oran, members of their Schools of Architecture will guide us.
Once we return to Alicante, the students will work with the travel details, reinventing a new social structure defined by its uses and materials.


It is continuous, with weekly assessment of the works by the teacher and fellow students (80% of the final grade) and a final course portfolio (20% of the grade).


- Le Corbusier. Poésie sur Alger.
- William Hunter. Debating Urbanism: Globalization and the Regionalist Alternative. The Bartlett, UCL DEVELOPMENT PLAN. DPU WORKING PAPER NO. 138.
- Kahina Amal Djiar. "Locating architecture, post-colonialism and culture: contextualisation in Algiers." The Journal of Architecture Volume 14 Number 2, April 2009, pp. 161-183.
- Kahina Amal Djiar. “Locating Architecture, Post-Colonialism and Culture.” Algerian Pavilion 2014.
- Wright, Gwendolyn. The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
- Edward Said. Orientalismo. Nuevas Ediciones de Bolsillo, 2003.
- Roberto Follari. Lo poscolonial no es lo posmoderno.
- Albert Camus. El extranjero.
- Albert Camus. La peste.
- Zeynep Çelik. Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image.
- Post colonial architectural hybridity (Google).
- Kathleen James-Chakraborty. Beyond postcolonialism: New directions for the history of nonwestern architecture.
- Postcolonial Studies @ Emory (blog)
- Curro Machuca. ¿Qué es el poscolonialismo? Blog:
- Frantz Fanon. Piel negra, máscaras blancas.
- Hall, Stuart. 2008. "¿Cuándo fue lo postcolonial? Pensar en el límite". En Estudios postcoloniales. Ensayos fundamentales, editado por S. Mezzadra, 121-144. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.
- La batalla de Argel. Película dirigida por Gillo Pontecorvo en 1965. Muestra la participación en la lucha callejera contra las tropas francesas por parte de las clases bajas, incluyendo ladrones, pobres, ex presidiarios, etc. Con subtítulos en castellano:

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