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Desert Rose Stone Constructions Covered with Domes in the Souf Region (Algeria)


Year published: 2022
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Cheima Azil
  • Boualem Djebri
  • Fabio Fratini
  • Giulia Misseri
  • Luisa Rovero


International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 16:4, 577-596, DOI: 10.1080/15583058.2020.1813353


In this paper, the unknown and peculiar construction technique employed in vernacular buildings of the Algerian region of Souf is addressed. Traditional architectures of this desert area are made of unusual building material, the Desert Rose stone. Also, typical buildings are covered with domes that outline a unique urban landscape included in the “Tentative List of UNESCO”. To pursue coherent safeguarding policies, constructive techniques are investigated through in situ surveys, sampling, and laboratory analyses that enabled characterisation of local materials. Petrographic observations revealed remarkable cohesion between blocks and mortar, which explains the satisfactory behaviour of a masonry realised with very irregular stone blocks. A preliminary analysis of the structural behaviour of a representative dome is carried out employing both a FEM simulation and the static approach of limit analysis. The results allow an interpretation of the observed crack patterns that show widespread fractures along the diagonals of the domes.


  • Journal Article