The project concerns the construction of a cultural center near Marrakech, in Morocco, and the guidelines were the reference to traditional architecture especially in reference to the inclusion of the environmental context, in particular in dealing with the certainly not favorable climatic conditions. The YAZ symbol was chosen as a basic diagram for the development of the design, as a symbol of the free man in the Berber culture, which is the predominant population in the region.
The underground architecture allows insertion into the landscape with minimal visual impact, as well as offering advantages from the point of view of the air conditioning of the interior spaces. The central space recalls the patios of traditional architecture.
The dew is deposited on the stones and is collected in tanks to be used. For this reason, the roof slabs have the upper layer covered with stones and fixed by means of metal cages on the curved surfaces.
From the elaboration of the climatic data relating to Marrakech, made with Ladybug (Grasshopper), an insufficient wind speed emerged to be exploited for natural ventilation through wind towers. However, since the rooms are partly underground, collection towers have in any case been hypothesized to allow for better air exchange.
The shape of the collection head is optimized to favor the air intake speed. Furthermore, the inlet is oriented to the west, in the direction of the prevailing wind.
For the production of electricity, photovoltaic panels capable of delivering a total power of 12-14 kw are positioned on the roof of the external paths
The optimal orientation was decided with Ladybug, the shading geometries were also calculated with the same software.
The structure of the perimeter walls is made with gabions reinforced with split stone which completely replace the use of reinforced concrete walls. The gabions will be placed on a reinforced concrete foundation and connected at the top with a reinforced concrete beam on which a wooden roof rests.
The walls made with gabions will be insulated, waterproofed and covered with raw earth bricks (adobe) and in turn plastered.
Gabions are box-like structures made of wire mesh and are filled on site with stones of suitable characteristics and sizes. In the specific case, if the excavated material is suitable, a part of it can be used for filling.
A “gridshell” system with wooden laths was chosen for the roofs. The curvature of the covers has been optimized with the Kangoroo plugin for Grashopper. The choice of wooden structures is also a reference to the traditional palm wood floors of traditional architecture.