Urban Agency



The design for Cité des Arts makes reference to the dense urban fabric and architectural integration of the traditional medina, mirroring its role as a cultural hub of activity and interaction. Lying within a shaded ‘forest’ of newly-planted palm trees, the plan is arranged as a series of individual volumes with separate functions. These units merge together into a cluster via outdoor squares. Like the medina, the spaces are envisaged to perform a range of functions, providing tranquility or  liveliness, solitude or social exchanges. Offering shade, alternating areas are covered with slatted awnings, casting dappled light and creating an atmospheric environment, akin to that of the traditional nexus of Marrakesh's old city streets. Operating in the same way as the fondouks of the medina, the ground floor elevations open up to the squares, stimulating collaboration between the creative entities that will occupy the premises. Within these buildings, patios or deep courtyards offer both open space and protection from the sun. The structures themselves are expressed as modern interpretations of the functional medina walls, constructed from rammed earth to regulate heat and to match the ochre colours of the surrounding architectural landscape. Overall, the historical, morphological, social and environmental layers that compose the traditional medina render it the ideal model for a new hub of culture: A Medina of Arts and Creativity!

Project: Arts & craft education centre, music & dance centre, start-ups incubator, accommodation
Size: 11 000m2
Team: Urban-Agency, Estudio Sparq, Traces, ALTO
Location: Marrakesh, Morocco
Budget: €11.5M
Client: City of Marrakesh

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