Narrow streets, Big hearts -Narrow light, Big shadows

Narrow streets, Big hearts -Narrow light, Big shadows

Daylight in buildings - Region 5: Africa

Zakaria Hami
Nada Aberkane
Meriem Talibi

The euromediteranean school of Architecture, Urbanism, and Design of Fez


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Rahba-Kedima is one of the most picturesque places in the medina of Marrakesh. Before colonization and until 1920, people came from the surrounding areas to sell wheat, corn and barley from the nearby valley of the Ourika. Even more astonishing, until that date, slaves were also sold there at auction. Today, Rahba-Kedima is an essential tourist stop on the itinerary of the souks (it notably allows you to reach the carpet souk and its Berber auction), it is there that, in the midst of the many wicker objects, spices, and natural products are sold. It is also around this square that the apothecaries’ stalls are located.This site was chosen for its historical advantages and its value in local memory of Marrakesh; Unfortunately for those who doesn’t know it, fewer tourists and non-Marrakeshi’s can find this hidden pearl of Medina. This square is lost in the middle of the souk, two steps from the famous Jamaa Lfna square. Rahba-Kedima is an open space hidden between narrow streets of Medina, and its location makes it hard to find. Once you’re there, you can explore and feel the greatness of the Moroccan culture and the charm of Souks; Unfortunately, the sellers suffer from the harsh weather and the lack of organization in the souk, their handicrafted work is threatened by new manners and techniques of fabricating these objects. Thus, traditional practices are hard to die, our intention is to preserve the legacy of the ancestors, to improve the seller’s conditions of work and to give Rahba-Kedima the value it deserves economically, historically, and touristically.Our intervention is to improve the current situation of the Medina squares’ vendors by protecting them from sunny hot days of Marrakesh, valorizing their work by attracting more people into a well-organized fresh square, and at the same time using sunlight as a guide on the pathway by creating a slit along it. This labyrinth includes all of the scenarios that will make visitors see and pass by the maximum of the vendors, the cafés, and the spices’ stores all over the perimeter of Rahba-Kedima.The same logic will be used to highlight the handicrafts of these vendors, while they will be sheltered by the calculated openings on our shade structure. It’s conceived to control the sunlight during the day by guaranteeing shade on pathways, and on vendors’ seats. The reflection of the sun getting through openings and through fabric makes it more animated and vivid.For the night, we chose to include solar panels into the shade structure, and combine between it, and between fabric and wood to guarantee fresh air during day, and luminous spaces during night by using the solar energy fully produced by the 34 square meters of panels, without using any additional resources that will cost the vendors additional expenses monthly.This way, we will ensure a new exceptional experience for the visitors, we will improve the living conditions of the vendors as well as highlighting their handicrafts, promoting tourism, which is the economic engine of the region.The social life will also be improved thanks to the new layout of the vendors and the rest areas spread over the site; a well-organized, shady, and animated space makes interactions easier. By all of this, the historical and social context of the site will be enhanced, taking into consideration the improvement of the economic and touristic dimension through a revisited Moroccan artistic touch that follows the environmental rules and puts the sunlight at the center of its interest.