The train system runs like clockwork in Morocco. It’s fast, easy and safe. So we’re excited to see a new project that makes them sped up to the 21st century in design: Silvio d’Ascia Architecture teamed up with Omar Kobité Architecture & Eric Giudice Architects to design a modern high speed railway station for Kénitra.
Kénitra is a port city about 35 miles north of Rabat in Morocco.
The design references vernacular Moroccan architecture and makes America’s Amtrak look like a dinosaur in comparison.
The trio’s striking collaborative design took first place in an international design competition that called for a state-of-the-art and sustainable 10,000 square meter high speed railway station complete with an assortment of amenities and retail facilities.
There are two entrances to the station – one from Place du 11 janvier and another from Place de la Maamara, and there are also two levels.
The lower levels contain the shops, kiosks, cafes, and waiting areas, as well as a central ticket office and even boutique stories. From there passengers can access the railway station via escalators that lead to a U-shaped ‘grand passerelle’ or elevated bridge.
In addition to incorporating geometric designs familiar in vernacular Moroccan architecture, the lacy pattern diffuses sunlight and ensures plenty of natural light and ventilation throughout the station. This is really important as anyone who has ever traveled by train in Morocco can tell you.
Not only do the ventilation techniques reduce the station’s energy demand, but they make waiting for the trains in stations that are packed with people (unlike in the United States, where many people think they are too cool to show up in anything other than a car) infinitely more comfortable.
Lastly, the design team has incorporated rainwater harvesting systems into their design, a smart, passive water conservation technique that is becoming increasingly necessary and common in Middle Eastern and North African architecture projects.
Morocco’s ubiquitous public transportation initiatives, albeit contentious among those who believe they do not serve the interests of all communities, put the supposedly more advanced and progressive United States to shame!