Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Casablanca's architectural heritage in the balance

There's an outcry in Casablanca over the fact that the Piot-Templier building is about to be demolished.

In September, The View from Fez published a story on the architectural heritage of Casablanca (see the story here), where we drew attention to the fact that the city has a wealth of Mauresque and art deco buildings. We're now informed by the heritage association, Casamemoire, that the administrative Tribunal of Casablanca has just authorised the demolition of the beautiful Piot-Templier building situated on the corner on Boulevard Mohamed V and Rue Chaouia, opposite the Marche Central. The puzzling fact is that the very same building has recently been placed on the Historical Monument list by the Minister of Culture.

The Piot-Templier building was constructed in 1925 by architect Pierre Ancelle and is alongside the Hotel Lincoln. It housed the well-known Templier china shop and upstairs, the restaurant Etoile de Marrakech.

Casamemoire reports that many culturally-important buildings are being destroyed to make way for yet another concrete block, and that this is a very short-term view. Many buildings have met this fate - schools like the Ibn Tofail college, villas such as the important Villa Cadet in Oasis, and factories such as Hamelle, while others are in danger of imminent destruction.

It seems odd that on the one hand, the authorities seem to recognise the importance of the rich cultural heritage of Casablanca by deciding to retain the Bessoneau building (Hotel Lincoln) and yet on the other, approve such a demolition. And all this while the application for recognition of Casablanca as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is being considered.

Casamemoire has started a petition to help save the building: you can sign it here.

1 comment:

Piggy said...

To save the building pay a bribe, anything is possible in Morocco if the right person is paid off!!