The Place des Martyrs project was part of an ambitious programme to renovate the historic centre of the capital. Following the example of the Casbah, a UNESCO world heritage site, the old districts are gradually being renovated, contributing to the rejuvenation of this capital city.
The underground passages and liaisons, including the ‘vaults’, known as the ‘foundations of the city’, on which the city sits, were given particular attention in the project. The creation of physical, as well as visual links, ensures maximum permeability between the city, the belvedere, the urban boulevard and the port, by means of transparency, openings, footbridges and functional passageways.
This project, restrained in appearance, with no new building above ground level, reveals its strength below the surface. A series of interconnected spaces descending below the Square tell the story of Algiers in a dramatic display of its archeological layers. Column-sculptures, rise up from below, representing and celebrating the memory of the Martyrs.
On the Place des Martyrs and Place du 8 Mai sites, three different projects were proposed including the “Maison of Algiers”, the ‘memorial’ and the ‘entrance to the Algiers metro’. The ‘memorial’ option being selected for this project, the proposal creates an architectural itinerary, revealing the richness of the city’s underground archaeological treasures in spaces enhanced with natural light.
With the utmost consideration for the sensitive surroundings, this elegant concept comprises a series of dramatically composed spaces, telling the story of the country’s history, with a representation of the Battle of Algiers as its focal point. Deep below the level of the Place, the archaeological layers of the city are revealed, and a set of translucent sculpture-columns emerge form a mirror pool, in commemoration of the Martyrs.
In addition to the Memorial design, the Place des Martyrs project involves the integration of a new underground station, with the proposed architectural itinerary also providing access to the new station.
– Project owner: Wilaya d’Alger, division of territorial planning, urbanism, prevention and elimination of makeshift housing
– Prime architect: Arte Charpentier Architectes
– Partners: Phytorestore, urban ecology and environment
– Catram Consultants, port organisation
– Planeth Consultants, heritage and tourism
– LEM, sea and coastal engineering
– B&Bing, architecture
– Country: Algeria
– Post code: 16000-16132
– City: Algiers
– Delivery: Study in progress
– Surface area: Martyrs Square: 1 hectare
– Port area: 2 hectares
– Promenade: 50km along the coast line, 15-100m wide depending on the sector.
– Project programme: services for the entire project, including design competition, diagnosis, architectural and urban recommendations, regulatory recommendations