BEN MSIK Gardens / Tarik Zoubdi Architecte
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Manufacturers : Weber, Aluminium du Maroc, Astral AkzoNobel, Comarev, Ingelec, Roca, Sahara Marbre
Text description provided by the architects. 41 people were killed in the 2003 Casablanca bombings. The terrorists all came from the Sidi Moumen district of the city. These impoverished neighborhoods are often fertile ground for this kind of tragedy (crime, unemployment, extremism…). Consequently, access to decent housing, quality education, and adequate public services are crucial solutions to restoring basic “social justice”. In this regard and within the “Cities Without Slums” program, the social housing built in Ben M’sik saw the light of day to provide better living conditions for 240 families from the slums of “Douar Khlifa” located not far from the project site.
Unlike several other rehousing projects, the proximity between this project and the location of the slum concerned has avoided uprooting the inhabitants from their familiar environment without any major disruption in their lives. The project is ideally located amidst several facilities and services, including a mosque, a health center, a youth center (under construction), a social center, a local sports complex, a vocational training center, and several other schools. The shallow depth of the buildings allows 83% of the apartments to benefit from a double orientation guaranteeing abundant natural light and very efficient ventilation.
Also, the serpentine morphology of the complex allows for open views of the large adjoining park. The architectural concept of the project is inspired by Morocco’s heritage, the beauty of its light, and its natural landscapes. The building’s shapes, colors, and textures are firmly inspired by the geographical and cultural background. This respect for the local identity allows for the integration of the project into its environment, which facilitates its adoption by future residents and their neighbors.
For the bioclimatic aspect, the natural cross ventilation of the double-oriented apartments cools the interiors. Also, the exterior gardens inspired by Moroccan “Ryads” will be covered with dense vegetation that softens the atmosphere in summer and lets the sun’s rays through in winter, thanks to the predominance of trees. The covered walkways stimulate the natural ventilation of these “open patios,” thus sparing residents from the heat island effect.
The project established on public land costs the equivalent of only 230 euros per square meter, despite installing elevators in all 18 buildings. The entire project was partially self-financed to about 47% thanks to the sale of the commerce shops, 15% of the budget was provided by the Solidarity Fund for Housing and Urban Integration (FSHIU), and only 38% will be provided by the future residents, mainly through a long-term loan guaranteed by the state through its “Damane Assakan” fund.