Maison du Maroc / ACDF* Architecture

  • 25 Jun 2012
  • Cultural Selected Works
© James Brittain

Architects: ACDF*
Location: Montreal, QC,
Design Team: Maxime Frappier, Louis-Philippe Frappier, Gabriel Villeneuve, Jean-Philippe Parent, Patrick Morand, Laurence Lebeux, Laure Giordani, Robert Dequoy, Simon Orman, Mathieu St-Hilaire, Veronique Taillefer, Denis Dupuis
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: James Brittain,

Client: Royaume du Maroc

Located in the heart of Montreal, La Maison du Maroc is on of the first of several Moroccan culturalcenters planed for countries worldwide. The intention of the center is tostrengthen cultural ties within the Moroccan community abroad.The architectural aspect of the project consists ofthe extensive renovation of a four storey, 1960’s structure on the edge of thehistoric Vieux Port of Montréal.

First Floor Plan

Carefully contemplated modifications were made to the envelope allowing additional natural light toenter, while reinforcing the presence of the building on the dominant cornersite. However, the majority of the intervention was focused inward, dramatically transforming the building’s typical office floor plates into afunctional and dramatic space. The conceptual approach of the project references the traditional Moroccan riad house where the livingspaces are located around a central garden.

© James Brittain

It is this central open space that defines the heart of the complex, rather than the functions that surround it. In the case of La Maison du Maroc,a central double height void was cut out of the existing building mass to forma grand hall around which the cultural program was distributed.

© James Brittain

Multipurpose rooms, an exhibition spaces and classrooms serve to facilitate the objective ofcultural exchange. With the 12 000 volume library, exhibition hall, andlanguage school, the idea of cultural exchange is further reinforced. The newlyestablished heart serves both informal and formal gatherings large and small. The projects dominant internal feature, a substantialwood clad stair reorganizes the circulation of the building, and visually linksthe first and second floors as the public spaces unfold in richly textured finishes.

© James Brittain

The carefully selected finishes reflect the aesthetictraditions of Morocco, while reflecting the evolution ofmodernist Moroccan cultural heritage. Importedmosaic tiles installed by visiting Moroccan artisans line the main circulationspaces and the walls that surround the central hall.  The two storey,laser cut metal screens, filter the newly augmented natural light and animateshadows across the grand hall marking the passage of time throughout theday.  The grand opening in Montréal was well received by thelocal Moroccan community, Canadian dignitaries and visiting Moroccan Royalty.


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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Maison du Maroc / ACDF* Architecture" 25 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    I’m not sure in this combination of ornaments and entire style of building…

    • zamila karimi

      The center looks like another surface adaptation of the Moroccan traditional architecture – the image we ubiquitously see on every travel magazine.
      Maison de Maroc is one more amongst many such cultural centers in the West, that choose to replicate the interior materials and finishes verbatim, and in the process forgo the opportunity to use the critical role of architecture to intellectually engage with its context. The architects had an opportunity to embellish the sensuous space they so successfully carved out of the existing building, with contemporary notions of building techniques and materiality appropriate for the 21st c. but within the traditional milieu of Moroccan Architecture, just like the central void as an adaptation of the courtyard. Historically, one of the strengths of Islamic architecture as it expanded its territories, was its wisdom to adapt the best local building traditions and techniques and appropriate it to its own needs to create new narratives.
      In the case of Maison de Maroc that opportunity was missed!!!

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  • JK

    Morocco = Islam = Patterns? In Western architecture, always.