It’s never difficult to pick a Moroccan building out of the crowd and this beautiful new Guelmim Technology School is no exception. Bold and red like the nearby desert, the 6,833 square meter campus design by architects Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani, and Mohamed Amine Siana comprises a contemporary twist on vernacular architecture. Hit the jump for a closer look at the building that acclaimed photographer Fernando Guerra captured in a series of breathtaking images.
The Universite Ibn Zohr D’Agadir called for a powerful design that would pay heed to the vernacular architecture of Southern Morocco. Instead of using traditional materials, however, the designers opted for concrete because of its strong thermal massing. This was then covered in a red-grain paint that matches the red earth of local structures.
This images illustrates how effectively the covered walkways provide shade as students walk from one side of the campus to another. Arranged on a north/south axis, the buildings are arranged in an L-shape around interior gardens.
Louvers and slats in the massing serve two functions: first to permit natural light to enter the building and walkways without excessive solar gain and also to allow for natural ventilation that keeps the campus quite cool, even on oppressive summer days.
Landscaping adds a green aesthetic to the building but not to the detriment of water conservation. By carefully shading all of the green spaces, the designers have protected them from evaporation. Plus, mostly locally-adapted plant species have been used.
The chunky block buildings and walkway overhangs have been structured to ensure that students can socialize easily, creating a healthy camaraderie that matches the building’s exterior warmth. While we would have preferred to see such an iconic structure built using more earth-friendly materials (versus concrete, which has a high embedded carbon footprint), strategic orientation and passive design significantly reduce the program’s energy consumption.
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