My recent posts at World-Architects


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Potential Public Spaces of Fez

Early last year I featured Aziza Chaouni's P/A Award-winning proposal for Fez, Morocco: "Hybrid Urban Sutures," what I called "an amazing piece of urban design." In that proposal the Moroccan architect inserted university functions into the dense network of Fez, as well looking at existing tanneries as opportunities for green space. This last is part of Chaouni's latest proposal for Fez, the recipient of a 2008 Gold Holcim Award for Africa Middle East, the River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco. Paired with LA-based urban planner Takako Tajima, the plan addresses three sites in Fez, the tanneries, a playground, and a transit hub. The tanneries offer the project's most striking imagery.

[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (4mb)]

[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)]

The project is impressive in a number of ways, one of them being the range in attention from the urban scale...

[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)] the detailed scale.

[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)]

To me this grounds the project as an exemplary model of urban design, as it acknowledges both the greater context in which people live as well as the immediate pieces of the environment in which they interact. That it does so in a respectful manner makes it all the more commendable.

Along with the playground and transit hub sites the project aims to improve the water quality in the city and increase the amount of public open space within the Fez Medina. That the two are intertwined is fairly obvious but worth stating, as water management today still fails to consider social opportunities alongside environmental ones. Chaouni and Tajima's project incorporates a number of tried-and-true sustainable methods for water treatment, ones that allow public spaces to form in the dense fabric of Fez.

Update 12.10: See The View From Fez for some criticisms of the project.


  1. I suppose this includes a plan for de-odoration of the tanneries. Because its penetrating smell makes it unsuitable for an use as public space. It looks good, anyhow.

  2. Is this proposal referring to defunct tanneries or operational ones? If operational ones, is there a caveat for relocating these businesses (as tanneries are one of the things Fez is well-known for)? If they were to be relocated off site it would not be a bad thing; the smell is rather pungent (putting it nicely).

    That said it is a very intriguing and mindful proposal. I didn't think Fez could be much more interesting (it's quite a place to visit as it is) but this certainly would add a dimension to the city that it does not really have.

  3. Trackback:

  4. Inspirational. (as I am designing a resident roof garden at this moment..)


Comments are moderated for spam.