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Training Center
for sustainable construction
Marrakesh, Morocco
Project data
Project Group
Building and civil engineering works
Client
Fondation Alliances pour le Développement durable, Casablanca
Project Background
Private investment
Estimated Start of Construction
2013
Training Center for Sustainable Construction, Chwiter
Morocco has a robust tradition of building with raw earth, and Marrakesh
demonstrates a profound engagement of craft in architecture. However we
noticed how the historic cities of Morocco, with no space to densify, sparked
the construction of satellite towns with energy-intensive building materials.
With the world urban population projected to more than double by 2050, we
believe that raw earth can be developed as a primary material in sustainable
architecture. Yet, how can we improve the level of living without increasing
the ecological footprint? The Training Center for Sustainable Construction in
Chwiter, a satellite town of Marrakesh, will demonstrate low-tech and high-
tech strategies that consider the local cultural identity. Construction with raw
earth can be employed at the large scale needed for a growing population,
while also creating jobs and training, which are essential in Morocco where
unemployment is high and literacy levels hover around 60%.
In our experience, the scaling up of raw earth construction depends on en-
gaging with building codes, as well as commitment by local partners, such
as government and industry. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Martin
Rauch influenced the building codes by his demonstration of raw earth in
load-bearing structures. The Training Center is thus a pilot program to devel-
op a partnership between sustainable development and industry. The Fon-
dation Alliances pour le Développement durable is sponsored by Groupe
Alliances, which is led by a former architect turned developer, who is very
influential in the Moroccan building sector. From his experiments with earth
construction thirty years ago, he is committed to build with the material at a
much larger scale. He is one potential employer for the graduates of the
Training Center.
At the strategic position of Morocco, which is a mediating zone between
Europe and Africa, as well as the Global South, the Center will develop sus-
tainable construction techniques that can be applied in both the industrial-
ized and developing worlds. To build with earth in Morocco is a latent craft,
since the local partners and local people are familiar with how to build with
earth, however the material does not yet have a “modern” image. Earthen
techniques are reserved for restoration work, and citizens often build their
garden walls with earth, as it is the cheapest material available. To restore
earth as a viable building material is only possible through inventive technical
applications and thoughtful design.
The master plan of the Center balances indoor and outdoor areas to create a
diversity of public realms. A massive earthen wall leads into a spacious gar-
den. The complex interchanges between classrooms, workshop areas and
outside patios and courtyards surrounded with niches for private study. Stu-
dents will grow fruit and vegetables in the organic garden.
Authors
Anna Heringer
Architect, Laufen, Germany
Salima Naji
Architect, Kenitra, Morocco
Martin Rauch
Academic, Lehm Ton Erde Baukunst GmbH, Schlins, Austria
Elmar Nägele & Ernst Waibel
Architects, Dornbirn, Austria
Elevation East
Training Center Marrakesh, page 1