Project: "New city of El-Menia, Constantine, Algeria"
Designer(s): Louis T. Lemay, Michel Lauzon, Anjali Mishra, Damien Leman, Jean-François Fortin-Gadoury, Ricardo Serrano, Jean-François Gagnon, Virginie Pontbriand and Michel Lepage , Canada
Category: Architecture Categories, Professional
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Entry Description: After an international and highly-competitive contest, the joint venture exp+lemay was awarded the project of El- Menia, a major international urban development project worth $2.4 billion located in Constantine, the third-most important city in Algeria, and future cultural capital of the Arab world in 2015. The future city of El-Menia will be a multifunctional and autonomous urban agglomeration on a 47-hectare plateau directly in front of the heritage city of Constantine. The city will house more than 20,000 residents, as well as various offices, shops, recreation centers and schools for a growing population of workers, visitors and tourists. This project involves the planning and development of a new neighbourhood, and fits within a distinctive World Heritage global development plan. The new Constantine neighbourhood will extend over an area of 1.2 million m². The overall development plan includes the architecture and construction of major city elements such as the public spaces and the traffic networks. The project of 6,500 to 7,500 housing units will be adapted to a contemporary lifestyle. This proposal, named "Once upon a time in El-Menia", stands out for its unique visual signature. The iconic silhouette of the new city of El-Menia is inspired by the sinuous lines of Arabic calligraphy and by the walls of medieval cities. The new city’s architecture will have a contemporary billing, but its innovative arrangement will be based on urban traditions and ancestral characteristics typical of the cultural landscape in Maghreb, including features such as a "medina" - a traditional courtyard at the center of the Kasbahs and Arab towns of North Africa. This project will meet the population’s needs perfectly, in the creation of the new neighbourhood, a place that is set to become a richly diversified living environment for the people of Constantine.

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