Morocco’s Guelmim Technology School is Red Like the Sahara but Cooler

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-building

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.

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-building

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.

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-building

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.

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-buildingLouvers 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.

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-buildingLandscaping 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.

design, architecture, Guelmim, Morocco, vernacular architecture, sustainable building, eco-buildingThe 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.

:: Dezeen

More Inspiring Design From Morocco:

Dirty Rubber Recycled into Beautiful Decor in Morocco

Guilhem Eustache’s Magical Home is Made With Traditional Moroccan Materials 

Morocco’s Atlas Kasbah Eco-Lodge is 80% Solar-Powered

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3 thoughts on “Morocco’s Guelmim Technology School is Red Like the Sahara but Cooler”

  1. Dhwani Shanghvi says:

    The project you have published here is in fact the Taroudant University, by the same architects. The Guelmim Technology School (aka The Laayoune Technology School) was made a couple of years later by the same team. Follow the link below to see the Laayoune School
    http://www.archdaily.com/788203/laayoune-technology-school-groupement-darchitectes

    1. Dhwani Shanghvi says:

      As it turns out, it IS The Guelmim Technology School. my bad :p

  2. Huda Abukhoti says:

    Breathtaking.

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