She was born in Algiers, Algeria.

She teaches at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich; and at the Research-based Master Program CCC, HEAD, Geneva University of Art and Design.

She holds a PhD (with distinction, ETH Medal) in the History and Theory of Art and Architecture from the ETH Zurich. She graduated from the Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Mendrisio, Switzerland. She has also studied at the Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom; the Ecole Polytechnique d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme, Algiers, Algeria, and the EX-Berlage Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands .

She has participated in a series of research projects on Accra (British colonial planning), Algiers (Post-war public and social spaces), Athens (Common spaces), Diyarbakir (Housing for displaced population), Los Angeles (Infrastructure and social classes), and Sao Paulo (Slums and planning). Her main research interest lies within space and conflict relations, politics, manifestations and representations. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Architecture Forum Aedes in Berlin, Germany; the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, Canada; and the Chung-Shan Creative Hub in Taipei, Taiwan. She has lectured at the International University of Andalusia in Sevilla; the Ecole Superieure d'Architecture in Casablanca; the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague; Centre of African Studies in Edinburgh; ESALA Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture; and the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

Her main research interests lie at the intersection of territory and colonialism, violence, conflict, warfare, and forced resettlements .


The Algerian Pavilion refers to nomadic and mutating forms of featuring colonialism and architecture in Algeria under French rule. It was founded by Samia Henni in 2014 in the aftermath of the approval followed by a refusal of an Algerian governmental institution to exhibit certain episodes of colonial architecture at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale. The refusal was primarily motivated by the ambiguity of some aspects of the history of Algeria under French colonial rule (1830-1962). The Algerian Pavilion aims at unfolding these ambiguities on a long-term basis.


SKK 2016. Second prize for the best conference research poster, biennial conference of the Association of Swiss Art Historians, VKKS, Basel, 2016.

COST-STSM, Short Term Scientific Mission. European architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and Material Legacy (19th- 20th centuries). 2011.

Berlage Institute Scholarship, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 2010- 2011.

First prize, The City of Souls, National Architecture Competition, Switzerland. 2004.

Soroptimist International Women`s Opportunity Awards, Switzerland. 2000-2004.

Academy of Architecture Scholarship, Mendrisio, Switzerland. 1998- 2004.




Camps de Regroupement:
French Military Forced Displacements in Algeria, 1954–1962

Society of Architectural Historians Annual International Conference, Session "Spaces of Displacement?" Chaired by Irit Katz and Felipe Hernandez, University of Strathclyde, Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, June 7-11, 2017.

Vers une dé-propagande des archives militaires : mais où se trouve donc l'architecture ?
Laboratoire InVisu, CNRS/INHA, Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris, March 21, 2017.

From Camps, Homes, Borders, and Laws.
Sorry We’re Open (a week long program that unravels histories, stories and memories of migration and social exclusion in the Schinkelbuurt and Hoofddorppleinbuurt neighborhood in Amsterdam South) organized by the Sideroom at the Teatro Munganga, Amsterdam, September 23, 2016.

Why Does Algeria Need a Pavilion More Than Ever? On Retelling Stories, Rewriting Histories and Researching Architecture.
As part of the exhibition "Something to Generate From" curated by Madrassa Collective. Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark, June 17, 2016.

French Planning Bureaucrats in Algeria: de Gaulle’s Mass Housing Regulations, 1959-1963.
European Architectural History Network: Fourth International Meeting, Session "A Question of “Shared Culture” or of “(Selective) Borrowing(s)”? Twentieth-Century Colonial Public Works Departments Seen From a Transnational Perspective" Chaired by Johan Lagae and Ana Vaz Milheiro, Dublin, Irland, June 2-4, 2016.

From Habitat Musulman to de Gaulle's Cells in French Algeria.
Society of Architectural Historians Annual International Conference, Session "Post-war Architecture and African Legacy: Which Tradition?" Chaired by Elisa Dainese, Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA, USA, April 6-10, 2016.

Migration and Housing in Postwar France.
Chair of Prof. Günter Vogt, Institute of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, October 4, 2015.

Interview with Maristella Casciato on Planning Chandigarh.
Organized by gta Archives and moderated by Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder, Centre Le Corbusier, Zürich, Switzerland, September 30, 2015.

Introduction to "La Haine", directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (1995).
Filmreihe on Mass Housing, organized by doctoral fellows, gta, D-ARCH, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, March 04, 2015.

Press Architecture: Unclassified Buildings in Algeria (1958-1962).
The Mosaic Rooms, London, United Kingdom, June 26, 2014.

How did General de Gaulle Express his Spatial 'Resurrection' in French Algeria?
Doctoral Colloquium, gta, D-ARCH, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, May 27, 2014.

On the Spatial Order of Military Laws. The Case of the French Army in Algeria.
Teaching Seminar, Law & Order in Architecture. Chair of Prof. Andreas Tönnesmann, gta, D-ARCH, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, May 8, 2014.

On and Around Research: Question, Questioning, and Questionability.
Curatorial Knowledge Seminar, Goldsmiths, London, United Kingdom, May 2, 2014.

French Versus Spanish Colonial Spaces and Powers in North Africa.
With Leire Vergara.
Curatorial Knowledge Seminar, Goldsmiths, London, United Kingdom, March 13, 2014.

On the Architecture of the Modern Warfare.
Roaming Research Academy/ Travelling Communiqué: From Belgrade, September 5, 1961. By Doreen Mende.
Dutch Art Institute, Arnhem, The Netherlands, January 7-8, 2014.

Two Vocabularies in Contact: an Inventory of Terms and Images that Interrupt Each Other.
With Leire Vergara.
Arteypensamiento, Sobre Capital y Territorio, International University of Andalucia (UNIA), Sevilla, Spain, December 2, 2013.

On Spatial Manifestations of Modern Warfare in Rural Algeria (1954-1962).
Doctoral Colloquium, gta, D-ARCH, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Decemebr 17, 2013.

Does Culture Enable National Reconciliation? Algerian Post-Civil War Creative Economy.
5th European Conference on African Studies: African Dynamics in a Multipolar World.
Panel: Designing African Creative Cities. Convened by Dr. Jenny Fatou Mbaye.
Center of African Studies - ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal, June 29, 2013.

Respondent to Tension in Utopia’s Return? Borderlines, Agency and Transformation in Global Art and Architecture.
With Dr. Karl Kegler.
First Public Meeting of the Art and Architecture History Assembly (AAHA), ETH Zürich, Switzerland, May 3, 2013.

Habitat versus Habitus: 'Centres de Regroupement' in Algeria.
ETH Global Colloquium: Selected Aspects of Sustainable Development, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, April 23, 2013.

The Imaginary Algiers.
Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, MArch in Urban Design, London, United Kingdom, April 15, 2013.

Discussing Research in Architecture with Artists.
University of the Arts, ZHdK, Zürich, Switzerland, March 28, 2013.

How Did the Algerian War Transform Algerian Geograpphies?
Library Werner Oechslin, Einsiedeln, Switzerland, March 27, 2013.

Algiers: Three Essential Controversies: Le Corbusier, Roland Simounet, Fernand Pouillon (1930-1958).
ESALA Research Seminar, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, November 2, 2012.

1830-2012: Transformative Colonial and Postcolonial Operations in Algiers.
Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, November 1, 2012.

The challenge of Smart Cities: Potential or Danger in Developing Countries?
Turin Smart City Festival in collaboration with Fondazione Rosselli and SMART Planning, Turin, Italy, May 30, 2012.

Annotations on the Code of Algerian 'El Houma'. Un Mot qui tient Lieu aux Lieux.
5th African Perspectives Conference, Casablanca, Morocco, November 3-5, 2011.


Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria.
gta Exhibitions, ETH Zurich, 13.04- 03.06.2017.
Opening 12 April 2017

Algerian Pavilion.
In Something to Generate From, curated by Madrassa Collective.
Kunsthal Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark, 17.06- 17.08.2016.

Algeria 1961: The Paradigm of Counterinsurgency.

In Travelling Communiqué, curated by Armin Linke, Doreen Mende and Milica Tomic.
Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade, Serbia, 10.06- 17.08.2014.

Project Heracles.
Eurafrican Bridge. Linking Africa to Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Curated by Domus Magazine.
European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, 17- 20.12.2013.

Future Outdoors.
In Imperfect Health, The Medicalization of Architecture.
Curated by Giovanna Borasi and Mirko Zardini.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 25.10.2011- 01.04.2012.

Is It Feasible? Ask the "Experts."
Interviews with Alfredo Brillembourg & Hubert Klumpner; Lieven de Cauter; Kevin Y. C. Chang; Winy Maas; Peter Trummer; Yen-Fen Tseng and Jaap Wiedenhoff
In The Vertical Village.
Curated by MVRDV.
Chung-Shan Creative Hub, Taipei, Taiwan, 08.10.2011- 08.01.2012.

Project Heracles.
Eurafrican Bridge. Linking Africa to Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Curated by Domus Magazine.
Gopher Hole, London, United Kingdom, 21.07.2011- 04.08.2011.

In Re-act Lab: São Paulo Architecture Experiment.
The Aedes Network Campus Berlin, ANCB, Berlin, Germany, 12- 22. 08.2010.


Emerging and Sustainable Cities in Port-of-Spain.
Prof. Alfredo Brillemburg and Hubert Klumpner, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland, May 29, 2013.

Everyone Harvests in Hanoi.
Prof. Alfredo Brillemburg and Hubert Klumpner, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland, May 29, 2013.

Algiers Precipice of Change: a New DNA for the City.
Tutors: Beth Hughes and DaeWha Kang, MArch Urban Design, Bartlett School of Architecture, April 15, 2013.

Einführung in die ethnographische Forschung der modernen Architektur.
Dr. Sascha Roesler, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland, December 5, 2011.

Plug in Sao Paulo.
Prof. Alfredo Brillemburg and Hubert Klumpner, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland, December 21, 2010.


Writing Dichotomies: Algeria/ France
Guest Researcher, Curatorial Knowledge, PhD Programme. Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom, 2012-2014.

Algerian El Houma Revisited.
Les Bananiers, El Mohammadia, Algiers, Algeria.
Supported by Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi), June- July 2012.

British Colonial Planning of the Capital City of te Goald Coast: Accra.
Supported by COST for the European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and Material Legacy (19th- 20th centuries), 2011.

Global Access Network
World Map 2085

Postgraduate Research, 2011

Common Spaces.
Athens, Greece.
Postgraduate Research, 2010.

After displacement: Large Scale Housing Solutions
Diyarbakir, Turkey.
Postgraduate Research, 2010.

L.A. Stranger than Fiction
Los Angeles, USA.
Postgraduate Research, 2009- 2010.


Architecture of Counterrevolution:
The French Army in Algeria, 1954-1962
(Zurich: gta Verlag, 2017)

The book examines the intersection of French colonial policies and military counterinsurgency operations in architecture in Algeria during the Algerian Revolution (1954–1962). During this bloody and protracted armed conflict, the French civil and military authorities profoundly reorganized Algeria’s vast urban and rural territory, drastically transformed its built environments, rapidly implanted new infrastructure, and strategically built new settlements in order to keep Algeria under French rule. The colonial regime had designed and completed not only tactical destructions, but also new constructions in order to allow for the strict control of the Algerian population and the protection of the European communities of Algeria. This study focuses on three interrelated spatial counterrevolutionary measures: the massive forced resettlement of Algerian farmers; the mass-housing programs designed for the Algerian population as part of General Charles de Gaulle’s Plan de Constantine; and the fortified administrative new town planned for the protection of the French authorities during the last months of the Algerian Revolution. The aim is to depict the modus operandi of these settlements, their roots, developments, scopes, actors, protocols, impacts, and design mechanisms.

The book results from a doctoral dissertation at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich, Switzerland; advised byProf. Dr. Tom Avermaete, Prof. Dr. Jean-Louis Cohen, and Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung.


Future Outdoors.
Architecture that Reacts to the Dimension of Time, 2011.

Project Heracles.
Eurafrican Bridge. Linking Africa to Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar.
DOMUS 949, 2011.

World Map 2085.
Global Access Network, 2011.

Cross-breeding Vertical Communities.
Shanghai, China, 2010.

Intervening in informal settlments.
São Paulo, Brazil, 2010.

Salons: Common spaces from the unit to the city.
Athens, Greece, 2010.

After Displacement: Large scale housing solutions.
Diyarbakir, Turkey, 2010.

L.A. Stranger than Fiction.
Los Angeles, USA, 2009- 2010.

Humaneum Columns.
Switzerland, 2009-2010.

Hotel Extension.
Orselina, Switzerland, 2009 - 2011.

Rustico Extension.
Someo, Switzerland, 2009 - 2010.

No-Box Houses.
Solduno, Switzerland, 2007 - 2009.

Study for Changing Use Possibilities.
Doragno Castle, Switzerland, 2008.

Tourists and Cultural Centre.
Hortinhas, Portugal, 2008.

Interior Design for a Shop.
Locarn, Switzerland, 2008 - 2009.

Mixed-Use Building.
Locarno, Switzerland, 2007 - 2010.

Bed and Breakfast.
Tegna, Switzerland,2007.

Renovation of Villa Rita.
Muralto, Switzerland, 2006 - 2007.

Industrial Centre.
Riazzino, Switzerland 2007 - 2009.

Medical and Military Recruitment Centre.
Monte Ceneri, Switzerland, 2006 - 2007.

22+1 Housing Units.
Minusio, Switzerland, 2006 - 2011.

Extention of a Graveyard.
Losone, Switzerland, 2006 - 2007.

Extention of Hotel.
Orselina, Switzerland, 2006 - 2007.

New Mezzeh Airport.
Damascus, Syria, 2005 - 2006.

Regional Sport and Bathing Centre.
Locarno, Switzerland, 2004 - 2005.

Church and Parochial Centre.
Seon, Switzerland, 2004.

School's Renovation.
Nice, France, 2004.

Headquarter of the Biennial of Contemporary African Art.
Dakar, Senegal, 2003- 2004.

Embryo Space.

Eembryo's Museum.
Milan, Italy, 2003.

Agno Airport Reorganization.
Lugano, Switzerland, 2003.

Infrastructures: from Barcelona to Castellon.
Spain, 2003.

Au Bord de l'Eau.
Lausanne, Switzerland, 2002.

Museum for Luciano Fabro.
Turin, Italy, 2001 - 2002.

The reuse of Bastions.
Malta, 2001.

Master Plan of "piano Magadino", Phase 2.
Switzerland , 2001.

International design workshop, designing the limit, new urban landscapes.
Siracuse, Italy, 2001.

Students housing and a sport centre.
Barcelona, Spain, 2000.

Show and theatre school.
Milan, Italy, 2000 - 2001.

Mendrisio, Switzerland, 2000.

The House for the Mother.
Algiers, Algeria, 1999- 2000.

A Pavilion for a Photographer.
Mendriso, Switzerland, 1999.

Master Plan of "Piano Magadino", Phase 1.
Ticino, Switzerland, 1999.