In March 2015, we were contacted by Aziza Chaouni for the Maison de l’Architecture (MA) project located in Tangier, Morocco. We were asked to design a new housing, museum, and hotel complex for architecture students and visiting scholars from nearby colleges as part of the Malabata Hills Masterplan. The circular qualities of the existing urban fabric from the masterplan, as well as the axes, were asked to be preserved and further emphasized by the client.

Our vision for the project is based on a dual ambition: preserve local authenticity while developing global modernity. The project aims to create points of contact between these two temporalities. Our project for the MA is inspired by the traditional architectural culture and landscape of the Mediterranean city of Tangier.

The project is rooted in a detailed study of the medina of Tangier (for which we have translated the essential principles and adapted them to the site), sustainable building standards, and a consistent and financially viable phasing strategy. Our ambition is to intelligently rethink Tangier’s ancestral principles which have been perfected for the local climate and use them as a starting point to develop an innovative and contemporary architecture. This architecture not only serves to enrich the mixed and dense program of the MA but also creates a new identity for the city of Tangier. As a result, the design concept is based on these elements:

- Integrate the built environment into its context by marrying the buildings to the existing landscape rather than altering the steep topography, and inscribing our project as a continuation of the Malabata Hills master plan

- Update the urban morphology of the medina, composed of a dense matrix of courtyard buildings in various sizes separated by narrow streets. The massing characteristic of the medina of Tangier, and that of vernacular Mediterranean villages is composed of rectangular, almost abstracted volumes which are entangled, have introverted facades of minimal openings, and are in monochromatic tones.

- Redefine the courtyard typology, which is the base model of the medina urban fabric. This typology works with the local climate in its ability to passively ventilate and cool interior living spaces. It is also adaptable to a diverse array of programs including residential buildings, institutional buildings, etc.

Location: Malabata Hills, Tangier, Morocco
Collaborator: ACP, Clément Blanchet Architecture, Wendy Wang
Status: Masterplan completed in May 2015



Building plans

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