The production of French architect Fernand Pouillon in Algiers is extensive and renowned (he was chief architect of the city for several years) but among the many housing projects he built in the Algerian capital, one stands out as the most remarkable, the “Climat de France” complex, called “Oued Koriche”, after the end of the French colonization.
This dense neighborhood concentrates about 6,000 housing units on an area of 30 hectares and is conceived as an island surrounded by three major roads, an autonomous development which includes in itself all the features of a city in the monumentality of a fortress.
The “Climat de France“, located on the west of the Casbah, is composed by structures different in size and shapes, carefully arranged one with the others and in relationship with the sloped site to best enhance the perspectives towards the sea. The course of Avenue Ahsan, on the lowest area on the northern boundary, suggested the shape of the curvilinear building at the foot of the hill. Going up one can find a series of blocks grouped in four types: linear buildings, volumes with interior courtyards, a group of blocks linked to each other, and single towers. The complex culminate its richness of volumes and typologies with the main building, located on a terraced area of the slope. This four story rectangular slab is articulated around a central 233 meters long and 38 meters wide “maidan” (main square). The block goes by the name “200 columns”, for the three story-high arcades surrounding the central space. Its monumental hypostyle hall-like entrances are located on the two transversal sides while smaller gates traverse the long sides rejoining the view through the sea and connecting the building to the slope through massive stairways. The complex not only hosted apartments, but 200 shops and health and education services in order to make this settlement “absolutely autonomous”.