Friday, January 29, 2016

Restoration of Caravanserai in Fez

The architectural firm Kilofounded by Tarik Oualalou and Linna Choi, has been working on the restoration of four Caravansérai in the Medina of Fès. The project was recently highlighted on the architectural website with some superb photographs by Lilia Sellami

The Medina of Fez constitutes an outstanding example of a medieval town created during the very first centuries of Islamisation of Morocco and presenting an original type of human settlement and traditional occupation of the land representative of Moroccan urban culture over a long historical period. The Medina of Fez bears a living witness to a flourishing city of the eastern Mediterranean having exercised considerable influence on the development of architecture, monumental arts and town-planning, notably in North Africa, Andalusia and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fez J'did (New Fez), was inspired from the earlier town planning model of Marrakesh.

The project

The rehabilitation of the four Caravansérai (fonduq in Arabic) of the Fez Medina is a multidisciplinary endeavour that is equal parts urban design, restoration, and landscape. Focusing specifically on the city’s copper work industry, the project tackles the morphology, the physical displacement, and the environmental impact associated with this artisanal activity. Through the rehabilitation of structures dating from the 14th - 17th century as well as the construction of a new building, the project aims to restructure the contemporary practice of copper work in Fez. At the same time, architects Tarik Oualalou and Linna Choi piloted the restructuring of the Place Lalla Ydouna, the principal entry to the Fez Medina. This 25.000m² plaza housing artisanal and industrial functions will soon welcome cultural and touristic activities.

The Architects

KILO is an architecture firm based in Paris and Casablanca.

Tarik Oualalou and Linna Choi

Questioning the limited scope of the architect’s traditional role, KILO has developed its practice upon the theory that architectural strategies should be integrated into a project long ‘before’ and ‘after’ the conventional intervention of architects. Working closely with clients during site determination, programming, and the economic development of the project, the office engages in the definition of the architectural project from its very inception. KILO believes that playing an integral role in the ‘non-architectural’ aspects of a project results in a stronger design solution.

KILO has worked on a vast range of programs and scales encompassing museums, luxury hotels and resorts, social housing, sports complexes, and master plans for both existing and new cities. The office has won numerous awards, including the 2012 Young Arab Architects competition, WA Awards, and the EMAP Award for emerging architecture. KILO was recently named a finalist for the 2014 AFEX award for an outstanding project undertaken by a French architect outside France. KILO’s work has been published internationally and exhibited in both Paris and Casablanca.

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