Holcim Awards Acknowledgement winner from 2011 “Urban precinct reconstruction and rehabilitation” for Place Lalla Yeddouna in Fez, Morocco has won the Cultural Regeneration category of this year’s MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards. The project was developed by London-based Mossessian & Partners, in collaboration with local architect Yassir Khalil of Casablanca.
Located on the banks of the Jawhar River at the heart of Fez, Morocco, the rehabilitation strategy for the UNESCO world heritage site of Place Lalla Yeddouna, aims to re-connect the Medina and the riverfront. Stemming from the traditional Moroccan Riad, the proposal implements variations of this typology to house workshops for local artisans and create an urban pattern of interconnected courtyards that, along with the relocation of the water-polluting tanneries currently located upriver, would mend this broken link while emulating the Medina’s unique urban atmosphere.
Currently on site and due for completion in 2015, Place Lalla Yeddouna places an emphasis on local culture, tradition and heritage while bringing a contemporary character that is expected to define a new cultural hub within the Medina. Learning from vernacular architecture, the courtyard model, coupled with local materials to improve thermal mass, offers protection from Morocco’s hot climate. Its façades, optimized to maximize passive cooling, are clad using the local ancestral tiling technique but its pattern brings a modern flavor to the settings. Each courtyard’s own prominent color gives identity and a sense of place to each individual block and acts as a navigational cue.
The project was praised by the jury for its restrained reinforcement of an existing cultural condition – which provides a welcome alternative to the crude imposition of standard solutions. The Overall Winner prize in the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards will be revealed on March 12, 2014.
MIPIM (Le marché international des professionnels de l'immobilier) is an international property event hosted in Cannes, France each March. It will be held on March 11-14, 2014, for more information see: www.mipim.comSee more
An urban precinct reconstruction and rehabilitation project in Morocco led by mossessian & partners, United Kingdom was one of four Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize recipients.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2011 for Africa Middle East » أقرأ المزيد (Arabic) » pour en savoir plus (French) »
The jury recognizes that the transformation of this unique yet particularly neglected site on the banks of Fez River will not only contribute to the built environment but will also improve the poor labor and economic conditions of the native copperplate and leatherworks artisans that dominate the site. It is expected that the improvement of this site will become a catalyst for the development of surrounding areas with positive social impact that will not end at the site’s boundaries.
The underlying goal of the Place Lalla Yeddouna project is to revitalize an historic hub in the urban structure of Fez’s UNESCO World Heritage medina (old town) with new constructions and cautious conservation of valuable historic buildings. The urban design embraces the previously negated river and renders it a determining urban element offering space along the river for social interaction. The place itself and its surroundings are woven into the urban fabric through well-composed sequences of open spaces.Download project entry poster (PDF, 1.09 MB) »