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.
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.
Herreros Arquitectos just sent us their recent project for a mixed-use building in Casablanca, Morocco. Resulting from a series of urban, spatial, formal and sustainable variables, the project–which includes housing, commercial and athletic spaces–is characterized by a permeable facade that directly responds to the climate. The repeated decorative element is a reinterpretation of a traditional geometric code that is common to the region.
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 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.
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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[AC-CA] just launched their next competition which aims at designing a New Sustainable Market Square in Casablanca, Morocco. A market square is a public open area where market stalls are traditionally set out for trading, commonly on particular days. It is usually situated in the center of the town, surrounded by buildings and streets. To create a sustainable market, environmentally conscious design techniques will be implemented. The architecture of this new structure should reflect contemporary design tendencies. The proposal must not only attend to the specific function but the design should also take into consideration the urban insertion and its impact. Early bird registration ends July 31 with the submission deadline November 5. To register and for more information, please visit here.
Defined by a continuous volume snaking around two semipublic courtyards, the Connecting Riads residential complex by AQSO Arquitectos adapts to the different conditions of the plot to combine a domestic and urban appearance. Its simple gesture is defined by the particular context of each side of the site in a way that the different heights of the elevations become a contemporary and expressive form to which the roof is formed by staircase shaped green terraces. More images and architects’ description after the break.