Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj,
Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The harsh sunlight in the Moroccan desert casts dramatic shadows across the sandy red walls of this university by architects Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The buildings of Taroudant University are arranged either side of a north to south axis of gardens that splits the site into two halves.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

Walls of each concrete block are uniformly covered in the orangey red render, which is applied roughly so that it shows a grain.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

There are eleven blocks in total and classrooms, laboratories and lecture rooms are mainly housed within the four largest buildings, which each wrap around small courtyards.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

We haven't featured many projects from Morocco, but earlier this year we published a house for a film director near Marrakech.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

See all our stories about Morocco »

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

Photography is by Fernando Guerra.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

There's a little more text below from Driss Kettani:


Taroudant University

Secular town with a strong cultural identity, Taroudant's architectural style, full of history, is an expression of the deep Moroccan South. The Polydisciplinar Faculty of Taroudant is an attempt to reinterpret that heritage through a building that carries a vision for the future.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

This project therefore draws its inspiration from the land and its manifestations to the senses.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

This reading tries to avoid the pitfalls of many cliches by keeping from the context only its essence. From the South we retrieve the massiveness, the strength, the clair-obscur and a poetic austerity...

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

To that effect, the design relies on a set of architectural and urban principles brought to life through a conception where the inward and the outward interpenetrate, the scales vary and where the user is one with architecture.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The faculty is organized around a central riad (interior garden) on the north-south axis whose northern boundary is a garden of argan trees, giving the user an unmatch view over the Atlas mountains. The various entities are deployed around this riad taking into account the need for proximity, orientation and views.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The latter is organized along an interior street, creating a direct contact with the amphitheaters and allowing the optimization of the administrative staff's traffic. The prioritization of the walkways follows a functional logic and is designed to optimize traffic while reducing acoustic nuisances.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

Similarly, gateways and corridors create a second level traffic system thus multiplying the views.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The scale of the riad is blurred and diluted by a set of plots of various sizes, and a series of gardens that define different buildings.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The architecture is deliberately massive, closed on the east-west direction while open north-south, with an architectural feature allowing natural ventilation and thermal and acoustic comfort.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

Low-rise, the buildings are different towers encamped on the ground by strong volumes, opaque, but lightened by a set of gateways and corridors, creating a dynamic space.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The architecture reveals itself gradually from the opacity to long and sharp slots and finally to large frames on perspectives, views, or gardens.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

The ocher tone of the volumes accentuates the clair-obscur and the impression of both privacy and openness on the outside.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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The project tries to define its personality in this duality: the user is confronted to different levels of understanding and ownership, from this stems the relationship to the architecture.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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The mix of nature and the mineral is studied to reflect the spirit of the place and the surrounding land: beyond the alleys, squares and plazas, the flowing nature intrudes the space and imposes itself.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Each building is arranged around open and semi-open patios and gardens creating different worlds, different intimacies, different places in one place...

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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The greenery is deliberately let to expand out of the geometric pattern to win its freedom, appearing to result from a random nature.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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These different architectural and landscape arrangements create a variety of environments that enrich the space for the benefit and comfort of the user's senses.

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Name of the project: Taroudant University
Architects: Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani, Mohamed Amine Siana

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Location: Taroudant, Morocco
Collaborator: Yassine El Aouni

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Client: Université Ibn Zohr d’Agadir
Delegate client: Compagine Générale Immobilière

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Engineering: Bepol
Contractor: Entreprise Zerkdi & Fils

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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Site area: 6 Ha
Project built area: 20.511 m²
Completion date: 2010

Taroudant University by Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana

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  • Memo

    looks like mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta's last work, it has a strong resemblance.

    • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie

      Legorreta was more playful with the volumes ;)

  • Alberto

    Its Legorreta+Legorreta style (mexican architects)

  • Sytel

    This is like a modern reinterpretation of Kahn, LOVE IT

    • Colin

      I thought the same, beautiful indeed!

  • Elizabeth

    beautiful! cohesive, calm, and conducive to study

  • Chris

    Amazing use of light and colour. I just hope some of the moments captured in the images above are regular occurrences, rather than just planned Architectural photography.

  • wow

    it becomes so true when a shadow walks by..

  • emre

    Mexican : ) why do you think it looks Mexican? Maybe it is just the opposite – maybe Mexican looks like the Moors.

    • http://elelefantealbino.blogspot.com/ Mora

      Mexican architect Barragan (and then Legorreta) preferred vivid colours used by tradition. But the association could be because of the dessert landscape and the sand colours. Perhaps, we could be dealing with a new thesis in your statement: “The form follows the environment”

  • http://elelefantealbino.blogspot.com/ Mora

    Pretty modest facades. The sky as an empty canvas makes it look more powerful. Reminds me the purity of “Salk Institute” with the colours of the “Visual Arts School” in Oaxaca Mexico.

  • alejandro

    This is Moroccan style. In Morocco this style of architecture is common for more than 1000 years.
    In fact, Luis Barragan was inspired after coming Morroco when he was young.

  • alejandro

    Mexican architects have learnt from Spanish and Spanish we have learnt from Morroco.