Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Casablanca's Hotel Lincoln Falls - Takes Another life

A Casablanca icon, in ruins for twenty years, has had another collapse and tragically taken the life of a local man. The Lincoln Hotel partially fell on Monday at dawn, leaving one dead and two wounded

Built in 1917 by the French architect Hubert Bride, the Lincoln hotel was a symbol of Casablanca's past. The Arabesque Art Deco building had a colourful history including being home to American spies during World War II when it was OSS HQ.

The scene this morning - Photo: Yassine-Toumi

Although having been abandoned for more than two decades, there had been constant calls for its preservation and restoration, especially from thew conservation group, the Association Casamémoire. Architectural activists, city authorities and the Ministry of Culture had prevented the destruction of the façade, and the site was named a National Historic Landmark which ensured that the landowner could not tear down the building. The landowner allowed squatters to occupy the hotel in hopes that the infrastructure would not hold up to their occupation and the building might disintegrate naturally.

In 1989, a partial collapse killed two people. Several other parts subsequently collapsed under the impact of time and weather, including one in 2004 that resulted in the death of a homeless man.

Casablanca has a history of building collapses with many badly constructed apartment threatening to collapse. In July 2014, 23 people died and 55 were injured in the collapse of three buildings in the Burgundy area.

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