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Garagem Sul | Architecture Exhibitions

Samia Henni

Architecture of Counterrevolution


Habitações semi-urbanas By Archives d'histoire

The construction of the first phase of Rocher Noir, completed in 1961 © Conseil départemental de la Haute-Garonne, Archives départementales, Collection Louis de Hoÿm de Marien: 156 J.

Camp de regroupement in Boulet, Region of Oran, Algeria, February 1958 © Claude Cuny / SCA / ECPAD.

Promotion poster on the French exploitation of the Algerian Sahara © Service historique de la défense, Château de Vincennes: 1 H 1117/2.

During the Algerian Revolution (1954–1962), the French civil and military authorities profoundly reorganized Algeria’s vast urban and rural territory, drastically transformed its built environments, rapidly implanted new infrastructures, and strategically built new settlements in order to keep Algeria under French rule. The French colonial regime planned and undertook not only tactical destruction programs, but also built new settlements in order to facilitate the strict control of the Algerian population and the protection of the European communities of Algeria. This talk examines the politics of three interrelated spatial counterrevolutionary measures: the massive forced resettlement of Algerian farmers; the mass-housing programs designed for the Algerian population as part of General Charles de Gaulle’s Plan de Constantine; and the fortified administrative new town planned for the protection of the French authorities from the terrorist attacks of a French paramilitary group during the last months of the Algerian Revolution. The talk depicts the modus operandi of these settlements, their roots, scopes, actors, protocols, and design mechanisms.


Samia Henni

is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. She is an architect and an architectural historian who works at the intersection of architecture, spatial planning, colonial practices, and military operations from the early 19th century up to the present days. She is the author of Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (Zurich: gta Verlag, 2017) and the curator of the exhibition Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria at the gta Institute, ETH Zurich; The New Institute in Rotterdam; Archive Kabinett in Berlin; the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, and La Colonie in Paris. She received her Ph.D. (with distinction, ETH Medal) in History and Theory of Architecture from ETH Zurich. She taught at Princeton University's School of Architecture, ETH Zurich and Geneva University of Art and Design.

21st May 2019 | 7:00 p.m.
Luís de Freitas Branco Room
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