Born in Algiers, Algeria.
She is an architectural historian and theorist who teaches at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University. Her teaching and research interests include the history and theory of the built and projected environments in relation to colonialism, deserts, displacement, gender, Islam, resources and wars.
She is working on a book provisionally titled Colonial Toxicity: The French Army in the Sahara.
She received her Ph.D. (with distinction, ETH Medal) in the history and theory of architecture from the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. She taught at Princeton University's School of Architecture, ETH Zurich and the Geneva University of Art and Design. She was a Research Associate at Curatorial/Knowledge, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London. She received her M.Sc. in Architecture from the Accademia di Archittetura di Mendrisio, Universita della Svizzera Italiana. She also studied at the former Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and at the Ecole polytechnique d'architecture et d'urbanisme in Algiers.
She is the author of the award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (2017), in which she examined French colonial territorial transformations and spatial counterinsurgency measures in Algeria under colonial rule during the Algerian Revolution (1954-1962). The book discusses the complicity of architecture and planning in strategies of offense, defense, control, and surveillance. The French edition of Architecture of Counterrevolution will be published by Editions B42 in November 2019.
She is the editor of the gta papers 2 entitled War Zones (2018), in which she exposed the design of the militarization of cities since World War II, and specifically after the events of September 11, 2001. The volume includes contributions by Nora Akawi, Silvia Berger Ziauddin, Jean-Louis Cohen, Ismae'l Sheikh Hassan, Samia Henni, Leopold Lambert, Asja Mandic, Eva Schreiner, Felicity D. Scott, Stanislav von Moos, Alfredo Thiermann, and Daniel Weiss.
She is the curator of Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria at the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, an exhibition that deconstructed French propaganda audio visual records and public and private archival documents to deconstruct the processes through which the French colonial military authorities forcibly relocated thousands of Algerians in Algeria's rural areas during the Algerian Revolution. The exhibition traveled to the New Institute in Rottedam, the Archive Kabinett in Berlin, The Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, La Colonie in Paris, the VI PER Gallery in Prague, and AAP Exhibitions at Cornell University.
She is the co-curator of the gta Films at the gta Institute, an exhibition that dissects the production and use of motion picture as a way of documenting, teaching, promoting, and understanding architecture.
She has participated in a number of group shows, including Twelve Gates Arts in Philadelphia, the Kunsthal Aarhus, the Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and the Chung-Shan Creative Hub in Taipei.