Issues in the expression of local identity in the saharan regions of Algeria: in search of references to vernacular architecture
Keywords:vernacular houses, local identity, the Souf, Algeria
This article focuses on the Saharan vernacular houses in the Souf region (Algeria), from the point of view of their capacity to express local identity. An approach based on historical research methods (documentary research, iconography, etc.) and architectural analysis was adopted to investigate the subject. The findings confirmed that the features of local identity are expressed in certain morphological attributes noted in the vernacular houses. These attributes are the result of the construction process itself, which is closely linked to the use of local building materials, namely tafza and louss stones. The constraints of the settlement site precluded the use of earth and palm wood as the main building materials. In addition, the space of the sabat (portico-like structure in the courtyard) is a major identity feature, marking the layout and use of domestic space. If the culture of reference, the site, and the climate have proved to be predisposing factors for a particular typology, it is the building system that has truly forged the identity image of the Souf. The local architectural identity is fed by the specificities of the region, taking into account its human component in accordance with the historical and cultural dimensions. Exogenous contributions are the driving force behind the dynamism in the expression of local identity.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Sami Zerari, Alessandra Cirafici, Leila Sriti
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