Paris- and Casablanca-based practice OUALALOU + CHOI has designed the Pavilion at the 2021 Expo in Dubai, showcasing traditional Moroccan design and construction techniques. The pavilion showcases an innovative use of rammed earth construction, a popular building material in vernacular Moroccan construction.
It was earlier announced by the authorities in Dubai that due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Expo 2020 will be postponed to 2021. Highlighting a pioneering work of rammed earth construction, the project puts in place a 4,000 m², 33-metre high rammed earth façade, the largest of its kind.
Pushing the technical and creative limits of Morocco’s traditional building materials to new heights, while paying tribute to the country’s rich and varied culture and landscape”, the structure comprises 22 stacked rectangular volumes, including 14 exhibition spaces, a traditional Moroccan restaurant, tea room, modern street food area, shop, an event space, office space, and a lounge. Rammed earth plays a key role in passively regulating indoor conditions in hot and arid places.
Designed around an inner courtyard, a major spatial concept in traditional Moroccan architecture, the different spaces of the pavilion are connected by a continuous “inner alley”. The on-going path generates a “set route between sequential exhibition spaces, allowing visitors to come into contact with and experience the different regions and cultures of Morocco”, as they descend to the pavilion’s ground level.
In addition, people can navigate the project from its eastern core, where a 15m² elevating platform and exhibition space can bring up to 50 people at a time from the ground to the seventh floor.
In line with this commitment to sustainability, after the conclusion of the 2021 Expo, the pavilion will be converted into a housing complex, with existing facilities adapted into apartments, an 80m² swimming pool, a fitness club, and a shared lounge.
Photos: Oualalou + Choi
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