Many countries still today follow the town planning systems and concept of their coloniser. Colonialism is a factor that has contributed to the multiculturalism, for instance, the British influence in India and the French in Northern Africa, the architecture in these countries has been influenced by the philosophies of their colonial history.
Post-colonial context presents a particular condition for architects and architecture because the architecture built is so intrinsically linked to the political context of the place at that time. Postcolonial theory in architecture is a thought-provoking theory it is used to discourse new way of understanding “Western” contexts in a non-western country. Using the word “western” and “non-western” emphasise the differences and carries the ideology of an over exaggerated difference between the two. Names such as “third world” and “undeveloped” to describe non-western countries demonstrates its hierarchy. The difference highlights a hierarchy between cities
Understanding the relationship between architecture and culture is crucial has an important role in the production of the urban and built environment. During the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, architecture was used and viewed as a physical tool for the construction of cultural change (Hermann Muthesius, 1902; Louis Sullivan, 1918; Le Corbusier, 1927; etc.). however, during the late twentieth century and having two wars that cause the European empire to collapse at the end of the second world war, architecture as became increasingly well-thought-out and known as being a socio-cultural product.
Algeria was ruled by the French from 1830 up until its independence, it is an example of a previously colonised nation trying to regain its city by imposing a new urban meaning in Algiers after gaining independence in 1962. The nation located in North Africa was France praises jewel and the most invested of all the French territories. As well as the most challenging because of the country’s history it has experienced a multitude of colonial systems.
After the World War II pan-Africanist theory was thriving in the African continent with the focus for counties to establish themselves and break free from colonialism to overcome the curse of underdevelopment and the causes it created.
The capital of Algeria became a major urban and vibrant centre for the French colonising activity, Algeria is the only country amongst other North African and Middle Eastern states that its current politics is influenced by its French colonial period hugely. Algeria’s postcolonial history and politics are, in fact, a series of attempts to come to terms with the awful consequences of the county’s colonial past. Almost half a century has passed since Algeria gained its independence and the country is finding it difficult to create an identity for itself, perhaps because of its region side-lined between North Africa and the Middle East the need for a post-colonial identity is vital, however, the idea of post-colonial theory can aid as a form of elimination of the colonial history. Urban symbolism and architectural inheritance are crucial and are an unrecognisable component of the post-colonial theory, realising that architecture and urban spaces are key and mandatory in defining culture and identity.
Algiers as the former site of colonial architectural, procedures, and urban domains it was in need for a search of the cultural dimension of empire building. Colonialism not only impacted economics and politics but also impacted cultural phenomenon.
Eric Hobsbawm’s thought “The conquest of the globe by its ‘developed’ minority transformed images, ideas and aspirations, both by force and institutions, by example, and by social transformation.”
The cultural sphere is beneficial in the processes of retrieving a city back. Culture is a vital component in the power structure of the colonial state, the reason being “the enterprise of the empire depends upon the idea of having an empire. ” Culture supports the foundation of the idea. It scrutinises how the built environment does and can contribute to the protection of cultural values, and acts as a physical device for cultural change. Architecture and urbanism have an understandable advantage in shedding light on social structures and power relations through other cultural foundations. It creates an essential part of the human experience and their experiential qualities make them accessible to everybody. They express cultural values, through being firmly grounded in material, concrete and daily life. The French colonial order and lifestyle occurred in the cultural, public and private spaces of Algiers, the symbolic and the practical elements – the colonised and the coloniser were conflicting with each other, the colonial’s era of Algiers under French was very histrionic, the physical city kept its people updated constantly and aware of political and power relations.
Architecture and urban environment frame all human activity, the connection to the built surrounding is so extensive. The colonial architecture in Algiers struggle between post-colonial nationalism due to the French influence still having a huge impact and the forms of the European city. The streets of Algiers resemblance those of the Metropole French cities. The street Rue Abane Ramdane in the Algeria capital is similar to the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. French colonial government used urbanism as a tool of suppression, therefore, there is no doubt that colonisation had a tremendous impact on cultural and social perception and still does. The repossession of the colonial architecture urban spaces and renaming of streets and squares, for example, was undertaken rapidly in 1962, with a keen inspiration for symbolic values. “Urbanism is no longer a priority of the country”. During the first twenty years of independence Algeria, the architects dispersed in different administrations brought only a feeble participation to construction and to the problems of urbanism.
Post- colonial Algiers try to implement ideas from Le Corbusier building on the outskirt and creating new typologies. Building large-scale factories and implementing the idea of prefabrication to the building industry. Throughout the 1970s the capital was beginning to become a metropolis, after building the Olympic complex, Palais des Nations and Hotel el Aurassi. Algeria had well-renowned architects come and design the new architecture for the city. One architect in particular that had a huge impact on the urban growth was Oscar Niemeyer, he was involved in the mainstream projects, for instance, large institutes and universities e.g. university of sciences and technology situated in Bab Ezzouar. A lot of devotion was on building educational buildings, specifically higher educational buildings. This will strengthen and expand the city position to become a capital that has services of international standards.