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
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.