Agence d’Architecture A. Bechu & Associés has won a competition to design a new campus for the University of Laâyoune to be located in the oceanside town of Foum el Oued, Morocco (Western Sahara). Launched by King Mohammed VI last February, the competition was named a national priority project supported by Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), a Moroccan company and the world’s leading producer of phosphate. The project was aimed at contributing to the economic and social boom of the region by creating a new platform for innovation and research & development. AAAB & Associés’ design responds to this call by envisioning a campus integrated with the natural desert site to create a dialogue between building and its environment. Responding to the local climate, and taking inspiration from the lines of nearby sand dunes, the buildings come together via a central, canopied artery that creates shaded, public space for meeting and interaction. This interior street takes the form of a large crack in the dried desert earth, but will instead be filled with vegetation to contribute to cooling and atmosphere.
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