World-Famous Architect Jørn Utzon Admired Morocco’s Vernacular Architecture

green design, sustainable design, vernacular architecture, morocco, Jorn Utzon, Jan Utzon, Atlas Mountains

Jørn Utzon spent time in Morocco, where he admired the traditional architecture. The Kasbah du Toubkal south of Marrakech is a sterling example of the design and materials commonly used.  

In the late 1940’s, long before he experienced the honor of seeing a building he designed named a UNESCO world heritage site, Jørn Utzon traveled to Morocco. Only the second person in the world to achieve this honor, the genius behind Sydney’s remarkable Opera House was deeply inspired by the country’s vernacular architecture – particularly the tall earthy homes that cling to the Atlas Mountains’ verdant valleys.

The notes and sketches that Utzon accumulated during his stay have been carefully preserved and will provide material for an 8 day Easter workshop being held in Marrakech next year. Following in his father’s footsteps, architect Jan Utzon will lead the workshop that is being organized jointly by the University of Portsmouth, the Jørn Utzon Research Network (JURN), the Utzon Research Center in Denmark, and the National School of Architecture in Morocco

As part of their education, the students will spend two days in the Atlas mountains, where they will experience first hand the materials and techniques applied by local experts, and is expected to culminate with the completion of  a “refugium” or earth-based building.For an idea of what this experience might entail, read about our trip to the top of Toubkal – the highest point in North Africa.

Roger Tyyrell from the University of Portsmouth told World Architecture News, “The inaugural JURN workshop provides students, academics and practitioners with a unique opportunity to explore Utzon’s work within a rich and diverse cultural and physical context… ”

For an excellent example of Moroccan architecture, take a peak at Karin’s images of the “Eco” Kasbah du Toubkal in Imlil – roughly one hour’s drive south of Marrakech. This boutique hotel was constructed out of locally-sourced materials and designed to fall in sync with and even aggrandize the inspiring natural surroundings.

For more information about the workshop, please contact the Utzon Research Network.

:: World Architecture News

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