Use of the Traditional House as a Modern Design Generator in the M'zab Region of Algeria

Debbache, Aziz (1988) Use of the Traditional House as a Modern Design Generator in the M'zab Region of Algeria. Master of Architecture thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10998010.pdf] PDF
Download (8MB)


The large programmes of Western style prefabricated buildings undertaken to alleviate the housing crisis in Algeria, are found to be incompatible with comfort and cultural aspects of Algerian society, especially in areas where social tradition still has great relevance to housing morphology. The objective of this study is to investigate the applicability of traditional building forms and environmental control strategies, as solutions to cultural and climatic requirements in a modern context, with reference to the M'zab region of Algeria. Thermal and architectural analysis of typical traditional and modern houses, shows the influence of key climatic and design parameters. A site experiment was carried out during the summer of 1987. Temperatures in five different locations were simultaneously recorded firstly in a traditional house then in a modern house under different ventilation and shading strategies. Spot readings of humidity, air movement and surface radiation were also recorded. The results showed that the traditional house, with judicious internal organisation and appropriate passive methods of environmental control, is well adapted to the local climate. Significant vertical temperature stratification occurs within the dwelling. They also showed that the modern type bears no relation to either the social or environmental factors characterising local architecture, with a consistently high temperature profile throughout the dwelling. The conclusion was that a design concept of vertical development based on the hierarchical organisation of spaces, in conjunction with the use of evaporatively cooled air, could succeed in creating a comfortable indoor environment. Such a planning arrangement can be sufficiently flexible to accommodate both variable family units, and modern standards of safety and utility. A new passive evaporative cooling device based on the mushrabyyah is presented. In addition to its reliance on locally available materials, ease of use and revival of a traditional architectural element, it also has the advantage of being readily applicable to the already existing houses in order to improve their performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Architecture)
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Architecture, North African studies
Date of Award: 1988
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1988-77696
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 11:53
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 11:53

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year