El Medreb: Research on Abandoned Buildings in Algiers
Main applicant: Chrysalide
Partners: SAYKA / JISER Reflexions Mediterrànies
Project duration: March – September 2016
Project code: 01-01149
EL Medreb is an Algerian slang expression used, depending on the context and the interlocutor, to define both an unknown location and a very precise one.
In today’s Algiers, on the one hand there is a lack of independent spaces for expression while at the same time the authorities keep planning and building huge and costly infrastructures to which citizens cannot relate. On the other hand there is an abundance of neglected and unexploited architectural heritage that could fulfil the needs of creating common spaces for social encounters and culture making from the community in sustainable ways.
EL Medreb aims to investigate the social, architectural and historical context of the district of El Hamma in Algiers, which is considered one of the biggest hubs of abandoned buildings there. The district has a complex urban fabric as besides being an industrial site it also includes a diverse range of population which number decreased exponentially in the last years due to the politics of desertification of the territory.
Parallel to the research and investigation, there will be work on the preservation of the collective memory by reaching out directly to the people who inhabit El Hamma. Moreover, the project will aim towards the recuperation of these abandoned places, as potential cultural spaces and urban commons.
The Project is the result of a partnership between Chrysalide, a cultural association based in Algiers, focused on creating and putting on stage plays, make films, exhibitions and art events; and Sayka, a cultural association based in Constantine, aiming at empower young individuals and talents through creative musical hands-on & interactive projects; in cooperation with JISER Reflexions Mediterrànies, a cultural association based in Barcelona.
JISER Reflexions Mediterrànies: