In February 2011, RDA-Harris Architects was selected by Compagnie Generale
Immobiliere (CGI) to develop a master plan for this 263-hectare site in the centre of
Marrakech city in Morocco. This ‘urban rehabilitation’ project aims to convert this existing
army camp into the new ‘city centre’ for Marrakech.
The master plan involves phasing plan to relocate the ‘bidonvilles’ or slums within and around the site. Another challenge was to integrate this development with the surrounding city fabric, which varies in age (some as old as 1000 years) and functions. While it should be relevant to the 21st century, this development must respect the identity and heritage of Marakech, which has rich traditions and character that makes Marrakech world famous. As the main landmark of the city, Mont Gueliz, on the northern half of the site is to be preserved but integrated into the development. This master plan was developed in conjunction with the city’s planning authority (Agence Urbaine). The Draft Master Plan has been approved I August 2011.
THE URBAN GRAIN
As the City expands Westwards, and over different periods of the city’s history, the pattern or ‘urban grain’ and fabric of the city changes shape. We are faced with an interesting challenge: what will be the shape of this new zone? How would its urban grain be fashioned?
1000 years old
Original Marrakech/ Moroccan
Organic growth, packed with buildings and residential units with courtyards sharing common
partition walls (riads)
Roads and alleys are small to accommodate human and animal movement
Mosques often the centre of the community
100 years old,
Structured, geometric pattern (Parisian/French)
Roads are much bigger, allowing for motorized vehicles.
Allows for distant vistas/ view corridors
Camps Ibn Tachfine?