Casablanca-based architects Oualalou+Choi are showcasing traditional Moroccan design and building techniques in the best way possible, by tackling an ambitious 4,000-square-meter rammed earth facade for this year’s Dubai Expo. The Morocco Pavilion is one of the largest rammed earth structures in the world, according to the designers, and will help push the technical and creative limits of traditional building materials into the contemporary age while continuing to pay tribute to the country’s unique culture and landscape.
Rammed earth construction consists of taking natural raw materials such as earth, lime, or gravel — often collected from the building site itself — and compressing the mixture into stabilized, flat panels. The Morocco Pavilion consists of 22 stacked rectangular volumes designed to emulate typical rammed earth villages in Morocco. Completed in August 2021, it is set to open to the public by October 2021.
The pavilion itself comprises 14 separate exhibition spaces, including a traditional Moroccan restaurant, a tea room, a street food space, a shop, an event space, an office space and a lounge. These spaces congregate around a landscaped inner courtyard and are connected by a singular street beginning at the structure’s top floor and descending to the bottom floor. There’s also a 15-square-meter elevating platform in the building’s eastern core that provides alternative methods of travel, bringing up to 50 people at a time from the ground to the seventh floor.
The 4,000-square-meter, 33-meter-high rammed earth facade isn’t just convenient by sustainable design standards, but also plays a role in passively regulating indoor temperature conditions once completed. Additional construction methods used in the design of the building, such as wooden interior facades that double as sunscreens, help give the Morocco Pavilion LEED-certifiable standards. What’s more, after the conclusion of the Dubai Expo, the pavilion will be repurposed into a housing complex complete with separate apartments, an 80-square-meter swimming pool, a fitness club and a community lounge.
Images by Archmospheres, Oualalou+Choi