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Potential Public Spaces of Fez permalink

Source: archidose.blogspot.com

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Early last year I featured Aziza Chaouni's P/A Award-winning proposal for Fez, Morocco: "Hybrid Urban Sutures," what I called "an amazing piece of urban design." In that proposal the Moroccan architect inserted university functions into the dense network of Fez, as well looking at existing tanneries as opportunities for green space. This last is part of Chaouni's latest proposal for Fez, the recipient of a 2008 Gold Holcim Award for Africa Middle East, the River remediation and urban development scheme, Fez, Morocco. Paired with LA-based urban planner Takako Tajima, the plan addresses three sites in Fez, the tanneries, a playground, and a transit hub. The tanneries offer the project's most striking imagery.

fez9.jpg
[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (4mb)]

fez10.jpg
[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)]

The project is impressive in a number of ways, one of them being the range in attention from the urban scale...

fez11.jpg
[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)]

...to the detailed scale.

fez12.jpg
[Chouarra tanneries | hi-res image source (2.5mb)]

To me this grounds the project as an exemplary model of urban design, as it acknowledges both the greater context in which people live as well as the immediate pieces of the environment in which they interact. That it does so in a respectful manner makes it all the more commendable.

Along with the playground and transit hub sites the project aims to improve the water quality in the city and increase the amount of public open space within the Fez Medina. That the two are intertwined is fairly obvious but worth stating, as water management today still fails to consider social opportunities alongside environmental ones. Chaouni and Tajima's project incorporates a number of tried-and-true sustainable methods for water treatment, ones that allow public spaces to form in the dense fabric of Fez.

Update 12.10: See The View From Fez for some criticisms of the project.

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