Envisioning from scratch a new district for 5000 people, in a place with peculiar environmental characteristics and with the aim to create a human dimension piece of town.


Arzew Oasis

location: undisclosed
client: undisclosed
: feasibility study, 2013  
collaborators: Alessandro Molesini, Anahita Asgharpour, Matteo Gabbi
program: masterplan city district for 5000 inhabitants, 120 villas, 1200 apartment units, 4* and 5* hotels, private hospital, primary and secondary school, kindergarden, sport club and facilities, mosque, shopping mall, landscape design


Arzew is a port city located on the western side of the Mediterranean coast of Algeria, about forty kilometers east of Oran. The economy of the city is mainly based on the export of natural gas and the refining of oil products, thanks to the presence of a large plant located on the coast, part of the Sonatrach oil group. Due to the growth prevision of the plant, the city is rapidly expanding with a strong demand for housing and services related to residential districts, from basic to  medium-high level. The masterplan developed from a brief that estimated in 5,000 units the housing requirement in this part of the city, with the aim of creating a district with a shopping center, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, a hospital clinic, two hotels of different types and categories, a mosque, a sports club with soccer fields, tennis and golf, as well as 1,200 apartments and 120 villas.

The project stems from a central spine of public spaces closely connected to the presence of water, so that the element around which the district could be built was linked to the most important source in an arid area, in a way that the design of public spaces was characterized by the presence of a system of trees, mainly palms, and of low height green. This is also linked to the shape of the large plot of land defined on the two edges by the valleys of wadi, with occasional presence of water in the rare wet seasons. The circulation of motor vehicles develops in a ring-shape for the entire lot area, going to serve on one side all the apartments merged into curvilinear shaped units that traces the wadi edges, and on the other all the spaces and collective services placed in the central areas. The focus of the masterplan is on one side the great mosque where all the games and water channels converge, on the other the large lowered dome of the shopping center, located towards the valley and more directly accessible from the large urban traffic artery that touches the neighborhood . The villas are instead collected at the opposite end, in a more intimate position and in close contact with the green spaces and pedestrian paths that cross the entire district without ever crossing the driveways; ensuring a great urban quality in a prestigious setting, innovative architectural features are inspired and developed by the help of local and Arab-Mediterranean tradition.