Marrakech is about to get a brand new building adjacent to the 12th century Menara Gardens on the city’s western edge.
Designed to attract the nine million or so international visitors who flock to Morocco for its vibrant street culture, storied deserts, and growing art and design scene, the The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts will also become a local hub for education.
“Our goal is to take students from Morocco and the region, whose interests are in curatorial studies, connoisseurship, museum operations, development etc. and teach them both within the confines of the museum, interaction within their local communities and by sending them abroad to work at some of the worlds great institutions and universities the hands-on practice of museum science,” David Chipperfield Architects wrote in a design brief submitted to Dezeen.
A 6,000 square meter facility that strongly resembles vernacular Moroccan architecture, with ventilated ceiling panels and thick, well-insulated walls that block out the fierce desert sun, the museum will feature galleries, a theater, a cafe, bookshop, public and educational spaces.
Like a lot of Islamic architecture, the building will be organized around a central atrium, in which a rectangular pool of water brings tranquility to the ambitious space, and should cool it down as the prevailing breeze brushes past the water.
An assortment of hardy desert plants will surround the pool, fully integrating the art work displayed inside with Morocco’s unique context.
Not only restricted to photography, the museum will also curate works related to architecture and design, as well as fashion and culture.
“Through tightly disciplined acquisitions MMP+ will build a collection that will allow diverse use both in its exhibition program and education,” writes the design team. “We will also retain the flexibly to exhibit a broad range of works of art across all media.”
In so doing, the museum hopes to “broaden the artistic experience across cultural boundaries to form greater understanding and tolerance.”
Although Morocco still clings to its old world charm, deliberately – through government initiatives and organically, it has become a sought after destination among art and design enthusiasts.
Check out our past coverage of the Marrakech Biennale, which attracts a throng of creative work from across the globe – including many “green” projects that recognize the crucial link between art, humanity and nature.
While it is unclear when the new building will be completed, its museum is currently being hosted temporarily at El Badi Palace.