Our project for the Place des Martyrs and the Terrasses du Port forms part of the ambitious programme of urban renewal of the historical heart of the capital city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The proposal enhances the existing vaulted passages beneath the Place des Martyrs which forms the base plinth of the historic city. Physical and visual links, are reinforced between the metro entrance, the subterranean archaeological remains, the vaults and the urban boulevard overlooking the seafront and the Terrasses du Port. In this way, Algiers benefits from an improved and strengthened relationship with the seafront, and the opportunity to breathe new life into the centre of the historic city
Following the urban study, conducted by Arte Charpentier in 2006, the contract for the commercial exploitation of the Place des Martyrs and immediate context was entrusted to Groupe INJAZAIR in association with Arte Charpentier. The study focussed on the redevelopment of the coastal zone of the Bay of Algiers within the framework of the 2030 Algiers Wilaya masterplan (Plan Stratégique de la Wilaya d’Alger à l’horizon 2030). The Place des Martyrs and the Terrasses du Port figured among those projects deemed a ‘priority’.
The resultant scheme aims to revitalise the Place des Martyrs and its subterranean levels, reinforcing the relationship with the port, its open and semi-open spaces welcoming a programme combining commercial, leisure, relaxation, and restauration activities.
The project defines a series of sequences between the town and Terrasses to Port:
- The metro vaults sequence enhances the strata of archaeological remains present on the site and dramatizes the passage between the historical context of the ancient city and the modern environment of the metropolitan transport network.
- The historic vaults are restored as befitting a heritage site of such integrity and form the setting for selected boutiques.
- The arcades overlooking the seafront are reserved for small commercial premises on two levels, connecting with the Terrasses du Port and boasting a panoramic view of the harbour and seafront.
- The promenade, known to shoppers and strollers as the ‘Algiers Ramblas’, is reinforced in terms of its identity as a major public space, and as a transition between the seafront façade and the Terrasses du Port.
- The Terrasses du Port, an up-and-coming district of Algiers offering diverse commercial and cultural activities, is considered as a new destination in its own right, and benefits from the addition of 150 shops of small to medium size. The rooftop terraces are an unbeatable spot for enjoying the city.
- The proposed canopy floating above the old harbour plays a unifying and symbolic role, representing a touch of modernity and evoking the idea of travel.
The existing wide road which isolates the arcades from the port area will be redirected through a tunnel below ground level, restoring pedestrian access to the old harbour.
The project invests in the traditional built heritage and public spaces of Algiers as an important constituent part of the city’s identity, and, at the same time, carefully integrates modern architecture to enhance and reinforce the image of a very forward-looking city with rich historical past.
– Client: Faderco
– Architect team leader: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Architectural partner in Algiers: CAP – Chabou Architectes & Partenaires
– Urban designer: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Landscape architect: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Interior designer: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Title: Place des Martyrs
– Town: Algiers
– Feasibility study: 2017
– Brief: Upgrading of the historic centre and redevelopment of the harbour area.
Area of study: 46 000 m²
Site area: 20 000 m²
Image credits: DR Frank Pan / Arte Charpentier Architectes