The Morocco pavilion has gotten the built industry talking as it showcases and ancient alternative to concrete at the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Morocco Pavilion’s architecture combines modernity & tradition with a building that primarily uses Earth in its construction. Designed by Tarik Oualalou, the infrastructure presents a vision for more sustainable housing.
Describing the Pavilion, Tarik Oualalou said in a post: “What we wanted to do is lift this tradition from the vernacular into almost an industrial dimension. It’s the highest building ever built with this technology. The sense of community we’re creating will then last longer.”
The Morocco Pavilion comprises of 22 stacked rectangular volumes visually resonant with vernacular rammed-earth villages in Morocco, the Pavilion encompasses 14 exhibition spaces, a traditional Moroccan restaurant, a tea room, a modern street food area, a shop, an event space, an office space, and a lounge. Arranged vertically around a deep inner courtyard—an important spatial element in traditional Moroccan architecture—each of these spaces are connected by a continuous “inner street,” which begins at the building’s uppermost floor and gradually descends to the ground floor.
The Pavilion’s street organizes a set route between sequential exhibition spaces, allowing visitors to come into contact with and experience the different regions and cultures of Morocco. Along this exhibition route, the restaurant, tea room, lounge, and ten hanging gardens offer visitors moments of pause and framed views of the surrounding Expo as they descend to the Pavilion’s ground level. Alternative means of traveling between levels can be found in the building’s eastern core, where a 15 m² elevating platform and exhibition space can bring up to 50 people at a time from the ground to the seventh floor.
The Pavilion’s exterior envelope is composed of a 4000 m², 33-meter-high rammed earth facade, an ambitious technical feat pioneering in its advancement of rammed earth construction methods. Rammed earth, traditional building material in Morocco, plays a key role in passively regulating indoor conditions in hot and arid places. Its use in the Pavilion proves that it is material at once traditional and innovative, offering an example of how traditional Moroccan building methods can serve to inspire more sustainable models of urban development. In conjunction with other passive strategies used in the design of the building, such as wooden interior facades which double as sunscreens, the rammed earth facade allows the Pavilion to answer fully to the demanding ecological standards of LEED.
The Pavilion will be converted into a housing complex, with existing facilities thoughtfully adapted into apartments, an 80 m² swimming pool, a fitness club, and a shared lounge.