This paper addresses the forms, renovation and retrofitting of the rural settlements in the North-western county of Setif
in Algeria. This region has a major advantage of being able to have a representation of the traditional rural dwellings
within a massive mountain resulted in a particular Berber culture. The study will allow us to understand the relationship
of the frame built respecting the physical and socioeconomic constraints, including the ongoing retrofitting.
Many studies are based on the astonishing assumption that the village space is a continuation in another dimension
of the urban space; this vision has marginalized village capacities in favour of an image of modernity (technical,
social and political), leading to the lost of a whole cultural past. The new constructions care very slightly for ecology.
The result is unsuitable houses, uncomfortable, ungracious sites and landscapes.
We shall study here the effects of changes in the construction methods, in terms of a spatial organization, materials
and aesthetics. This fact affects the original essence of rural architecture in this region. Is it possible to restore the
delicate balance between forms, meanings and functions of theses constructions?
One of the objectives of this work is deepening knowledge on this traditional crafts environment. There is also an
interest in the contemporary manifestations of this habitat and forms of these contemporary changes. The data obtained
during the field study (the Berber villages) are analysed and evaluated, and guidelines are proposed to improve the
methods in intervening on rural housing in this region.
Keywords: Traditional Housing, Berber Culture, Renovating, Rural Settlements, Retrofitting.
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