Thursday, February 25, 2016

Taroudant University

By:Hanan Rawashdeh
Located in taroudant Morocco standing against the severe conditions of the African climate, the University of Taroudant is constructed. The University borders an area of 2051.1 square meters. It was finished in 2010 by  Moroccan architects Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana.
  What makes the project unique is its strong connection to the Moroccan architecture and culture. The identity of the southern Moroccan vernacular architecture is clear in the layout of the buildings and materials used in the site. Characteristics of the culture such as strength, massiveness and the claire-obscure are presented in the university’s complex. Much like the historical Moroccan vernacular architecture, the different buildings of the university vary in size, scale and width of pathways interweaving between them. The pathways between the buildings allow enough proximity for social interaction without disrupting traffic and reducing acoustical nuisance. By this type of approach a small community like environment is created.  This relates to the organization of the historical Morrocan city where the public spaces follow a hierarchy with the city center consisting of  the mosque , markets and schools then having a second layer of residential zone with the public bathrooms and small shops are interweaved in-between surrounding that center. The circulation between the placing of the buildings is organized around a courtyard garden, which is commonly known in Arabian and Islamic architecture. Al Dar or the historical Arabian house is known to have a central courtyard with no roof and the rooms of the house are symmetrically surrounding it. This type of approach came as a response to the somewhat challenging weather conditions in Morrocco. Since the climate is dry and hot.  Therefore, having a central opening creates a light airy space and contributes to natural ventilation and modifies the indoor climate while providing protection from the dusty winds and direct sunlight. Similarly The faculty of the university is closed and arranged around the non roofed central garden. The integration with nature and visually connectivity is achieved and can be noticed in the plan.  
In conclusion, even in our modern time we can learn a lot from previous historic architecture even with our thriving knowledge and complicated technology services in buildings we can sometimes lose touch with our roots and identity and simple human needs and integration with our surrounding environment. This is something which past architects were deeply involved and sensitive in achieving  even though they had somewhat basic ways of design and construction methods.


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