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Morphosis Architects Releases Casablanca Finance City Tower Design

Mophosis Architects have just released their design for the Casablanca Finance City tower in Morocco. The building's iconic crown, coupled with the way the building interacts with ground-level public space, creates an "inverted double-crown" that will serve as social symbol and meeting place. Following the model set in Paris' La Defense district, the project will anchor a new business district (Casablanca Finance City) and embody "Morocco’s vision for the future and setting precedents in building performance, scale, and style for a city that does not yet exist." Slated for completion in 2017, the 226,042 sq. ft building broke ground in December of 2014.

Read on to learn more about Morphosis' brise-soleil-wrapped tower. 

© Morphosis Architects © Morphosis Architects © Morphosis Architects © Morphosis Architects

Casa-Port Railway Station / AREP

  • Architects: AREP
  • Location: Casablanca, Morocco
  • AREP: Etienne Tricaud, Philippe Druesne, Christophe Iliou
  • Area: 2500.0 sqm
  • Photographs: Didier Boy de La Tour

© Didier Boy de La Tour © Didier Boy de La Tour © Didier Boy de La Tour © Didier Boy de La Tour

XTU Architects Imagine Self-Building Wall City

Flohara by XTU Architects envisions an inhabitable desert wall that constructs itself from the natural processes of its environment. Featured at the Venice Biennale's Morocco Pavilion exhibition entitled “Fundamental(ism)s,” this ecological phenomenon defies the conventions of housing, offering shelter from varying climatic conditions and supporting both human and plant life in the harsh desert.

Architecture Documentaries To Watch In 2015

Following our top 40 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2014 and our favourite 30 Architecture Docs to Watch in 2013, 2015 is no exception! Our latest round up continues to feature a fantastic range of films and documentaries telling the tales of unsung architectural heroes and unheard urban narratives from around the world. This entirely fresh selection looks past the panoply of stars to bring you more of the best architectural documentaries which will provoke, intrigue and beguile.

From a film which explores one man's dream to build a cathedral (#4) and a simultaneous history of and vision of Rotterdam's future (#7), to a tour of the world's last surviving squatter town in Copenhagen (#14) and A Short History of Abandoned Sets in Morocco (#16), we present - in no particular order - thirty freshly picked documentaries for you to watch in 2015.

Valode & Pistre Set to Break Ground on Africa's Tallest Tower

Valode & Pistre is set to break ground on Africa’s tallest tower next June. More than doubling the height of Johannesburg’s 223-meter Carlton Center, which has been the continent’s tallest building since 1973, the Al Noor Tower (Tower of Light) will most likely rise 540-meters on a 25-hectare site in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. 

It’s program will center around business, providing accommodations with a 200-suite luxury hotel, a trading platform, conference hall and large art gallery, as well as an astonishing 100-meter-tall atrium that hollows the tower’s base.  

© Valode & Pistre / iceberg.fr © Valode & Pistre / iceberg.fr © Valode & Pistre / iceberg.fr © Valode & Pistre / iceberg.fr

Narrowminded + BOM Propose New Central Bus Station for Marrakech

As part of an international competition, Narrowminded Architects teamed up with BOM Architects to identify and solve central functional deficiencies in a proposal for a new Marrakech Central Bus Terminal. Together, the architects found that obsolete infrastructure, unclear orientation, hazardous traffic density, rampant pollution, and confusing overlaps between vehicular and pedestrian flow were all contributing factors in the inefficiencies and hindered advancement of the terminal. Thus, with the intent to create a timeless environment that could flourish in Marrakech's future morphological developments, the proposal adopted a strategy to thoroughly address each individual issue.

"Inhabiting the Desert" Since 1914: Morocco at the 2014 Venice Biennale

© Luc Boegly
© Luc Boegly

Morocco was heavily influenced by European modernism due to its strategic position in Northern Africa. It was governed as a European protectorate for much of the 20th century, and it was in this region that the modern movement found a place for experimentation; a place where modernist ideals met such particular climate conditions that they evolved a unique regional expression.

The Morocco Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale—their first presence at the event—acknowledges this particular expression aligned with the theme of Absorbing Modernity under the title of Fundamental(ism)s. Curator Tarik Oualalou erected it over a ground of desert sand to create a setting for Morocco’s architecture in the past, entitled Living in the City, and the future, Inhabiting the Desert.

Silvio d’Ascia Wins Competition to Design Morocco Rail Station

Silvio d’Ascia Architecture, Omar Kobité Architecture and Eric Giudice Architects have been announced as winner of an international competition to design the new TGV high-speed railway station in Kénitra. The winning design aims to unite the northern and southern parts of the city by providing two entryways joined by one geometrical volume whose triangular framework recalls traditional shapes found in vernacular Moroccan architecture.

Edouard François Designs Mixed-Use "Gardens of Anfa" for Casablanca

Maison Edouard François has masterplanned a new mixed-use neighborhood for the Moroccan city Casablanca: “The Gardens of Anfa.” Scheduled for completion in 2017, the plan calls for three mid-rise residential towers, a low-rise office tower, and a series of residential blocks connected by a central piazza and concealed within a lush multicolored landscape. Each “organically-shaped” tower will be enhanced by a trellised facade that fosters the growth of bougainvilleas and jasmine, further camouflaging the structure and “demarcating the limits of a garden.”

Venice Biennale 2014: Morocco to Participate with First Pavilion

Morocco will host its first pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Curated by the Foundation FADA’ (Fondation pour l’Art, le Design, et l’Architecture) and directed by architect Tarik Oualalou, the concept for the Moroccan pavilion will be based upon Morocco’s role as an urban and architectural laboratory in the twentieth century. The project, entitled “Fundamental(ism)s,” will be organized in two parts: 

Maroc Telecom / Jean-Paul Viguier Architecture

  • Architects: Jean-Paul Viguier Architecture
  • Location: Rabat, Morocco
  • Architects: Jean-Paul Viguier, Omar Kobbite
  • Structural engineers: SETEC TPI
  • Decorator : Juan Trindade
  • Area: 27500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Takuji Shimmura

© Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura © Takuji Shimmura

Sustainable Market Square Competition Entry / Joan Alomar

The proposal by Joan Alomar, of Estudio Lunar, presents a building that completes the urban block and blends in to the neighborhood of Casablanca. This concept leads the architecture that mimics the events at it’s surroundings, the nature, vernacular architecture, etc. To blend is the rational sustainable concept to exist without causing a disturbance. Sustainability as a complete concept is not only about saving energy, the building first needs to be socially useful and improve the neighborhood, that’s the first target of this market; it’s not only a market hall. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sustainable Market Square Competition Entry / Nikolova/Aarsø (N/A)

The proposal for the Casablanca Sustainable Market Square competition by Nikolova/Aarsø (N/A) brings together the economic, ecological, cultural, and social aspects of sustainability together. The architects do so with the interplay of medieval Islamic design tradition and contemporary advanced building technology. The architectural concept is developed through the use of the girih tiles as a constantly present design method that elevates its purpose from pure ornamentation to a method of developing architectural composition, spatial organization, structural elements, integration of environmental sustainable technology and strategies, to the planning of flow of people. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sustainable Market Square Third Prize Winning Proposal / Various Architects

In their ‘Flying Market’ concept for the sustainable market square proposal in Casablanca, which won the third prize, the architects began with a simple exercise, utilizing associative words, gathering inspirations and ideas to define the project and its aim. Designed by Florent Chagny, Soufia Louzir, Thomas Sponti, and Florian Chazeau, they decided to propose a ‘magic’ cover, a transformative cap to the utilitarian every-day market. The design, a structural network, levitates over the market utilizing a suspension system of twenty-three colorful Helium balloons. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Market Square Cover Competition Entry / Michael Labory & Bertrand Schippan

Designed for the market square cover competition, the ‘flying carpet’ proposal by Michael Labory & Bertrand Schippan is a modular and sustainable cover with the goal for the efficient arrangement of the functional facilities. This is attained by putting them along the site border thus maximizing the space to be used for market. They revive the dull facade of the neighboring building by bringing the volume of the facilities into the shape of its skyline. Among all other things, it contributes to the increase in urban density as windowless facade becomes a part of lively market place. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sustainable Market Square Second Prize Winning Proposal / PMG Architects

Courtesy of PMG Architects
Courtesy of PMG Architects

Designed by PMG Architects, their second prize winning proposal for the sustainable market square competition in Casablanca lets itself be admired, but only reveals itself partially and gradually in using a variety of different architectural elements. Beneath the immense arched galleries, as airy as they are luminous, the architects try to grasp the thousands of riches of this place, so many vibrant fragrances and unknown colors, enticing flavors, and colorful spices. From one arc to another, from one vendor to his counterpart, from one ambiance to its contrary. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sustainable Market Square Winning Proposal / TomDavid Architects

Courtesy of TomDavid Architects
Courtesy of TomDavid Architects

TomDavid Architects shared with us their first prize winning proposal for the Sustainable Market Square competition in Casablanca. In their proposal, they successfully combine indigenous techniques for shelter and heat control, the accountability of it’s residence, and innovative low-maintenance materials. In doing so, they create an efficient and pragmatic icon for the next generation market which serves as a catalyst for improvement. More images and architects’ description after the break.