Vol. 19 No. 3 (2022): Bee

Analysis of the architectural forms of the colonial period, in the regional group of Saoura, in Bechar (Algeria)

Djamila YOUH
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Technology, University Tahri Mohamed Bechar, Algeria
Messaoud AICHE
Department of Architecture, Institute of Architecture, Constantine 3 University, Constantine, Algeria
Ratiba Wided BIARA
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Technology, University Tahri Mohamed Bechar, Algeria

Published 2022-11-06


  • Saoura Oasis,
  • Bechar-Kenadsa,
  • Neo-Moorish architecture,
  • Architectural forms,
  • The colonial period.


The regional set “Saoura”, immanent to the Algerian Sahara, is characterized by the dune aspect, with here and there a sporadic plant formation adapted to the harsh climate. Despite the constraints, human settlements have been established, the oasis of Bechar can be used as an example thereof. Like its peers, the oasis of Bechar reflects an ingenious architecture that accommodates the social and climatic context inherent in this regional set. Indeed, “the ksar” (Habitat), this genius of the place, responded to the socio-cultural needs as for the requirements imposed by their unforgiving context. This presentation lasted for a long time until the colonial order completely changed the logic of spatial production. Henceforth, new emblems referring to the French jurisdiction were integrated into the composition. Relatively, in a short period of time, the old city underwent series of changes from which the modern city gradually emerged. Today, this heterogeneous expression has been the subject of many criticisms of stylistic wandering in relation to the context. This article focuses on the analysis of architectural forms during the colonial period between 1900 and 1940 (considered as a transitional phase between traditional architecture and post-independence architecture), in the Saoura region, precisely in Bechar and Kenadsa. For this purpose, we will use a morphological approach inspired by the work of C. Norbert Schulz, who revealed an architecture called “neo-Moorish” or “Arabism”. This research allows us to lay the groundwork for the debate on the current architectural production in the city of Bechar.