First place for TomDavid Architecten for Sustainable Market Square competition
A design competition for a new market square in Casablanca has been won by Dutch architecture duo TomDavid Architecten. The sustainable structure is similar in form to Jurgen Mayer’s celebrated Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain but with the textured timber fronds substituted for concrete canopies.
The almost mushroom-shaped shelters are inspired by nature, says TomDavid Architecten, with their overlapping leaves not only providing a cool haven from the harsh sunlight or pounding rain but creating a gently sloping platform from which cascading rainwater can be drained and recycled.
The team furthers: “The curved concrete forms of the design are both a tribute to modern Casablanca architecture from the 50s as an endorsement of the beauty of the female form, as a nod to the dominant male culture on the street.”
The site is in a market square next to the Medina where a host of stalls fill the streets, bolstering the local economy. The Casablanca markets may not have the same draw on tourists as those in Marrakesh and Fes but they are a crucial aspect of community life and provide a consistent living for Casablanca residents.
Sustainability elements within the winning scheme take various forms. Rainwater harvesting has been implemented to reuse water in toilets, for cleaning the market square and for evaporation cooling techniques. The architects are also adamant that ‘in this case sustainability should be a societal journey’.
They explain: “This journey brought about by acquiring new awareness and perceptions, by generating new solutions, activating new behavioural patterns and, hence, cultural change. This process must be seen as a positive development under the responsibility of the local residents to increase economic, social and ecological capital.”