TomDavid Architects shared with us their first prize winning proposal for the Sustainable Market Square competition in Casablanca. In their proposal, they successfully combine indigenous techniques for shelter and heat control, the accountability of it’s residence, and innovative low-maintenance materials. In doing so, they create an efficient and pragmatic icon for the next generation market which serves as a catalyst for improvement. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The site is situated right next to the Medina and in consequence interwoven with the indispensable social and economic structures of the Old City. Both legal and illegal markets dominate the streetscape and are vital to the local economy. The downside of this density of commercial street business is the pollution and the decay of the public space. The design will have to serve as an example on how to improve the practical aspects of the market but leaving the existing social economic structures intact.
The shape of the canopy refers to nature, providing shade and shelter like a tree. The overlapping of the canopy-leaves ensures the cascading drain of the rainwater and allows air circulation. 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.
How to define sustainability in the broader context of the reality of Casablanca? Besides solely as a design-tool, in this case sustainability should be a societal journey. This journey brought about by acquiring new awareness and perceptions, by generating new solutions, activating new behavioral 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.
In our design proposal therefore, our sustainable contribution is twofold. First by using low-tech techniques to collect and reuse rainwater to flush the toilets, clean the market-floor and applying evaporate cooling by using the heat of the sun and the wind to freshen the air under the roof.
Second, to be sure sustainability will be a collective agenda, negative environmental impact must be eliminated. By implementing a refuse and waste handling system for the market and using low-maintenance materials, livability and durability will be improved.