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Enforcing El Hank's right to exist

The first part of the thesis focuses on the city of Casablanca, more specifically on the districts built by French modernist urban planners in the colonial period. Morocco was seen as a laboratory to test new urban typologies, resulting in many experimental designs. Perhaps even more interesting than those designs is the way these buildings look today. In about seventy years the building blocks were remodeled and modified by their inhabitants to better fit their way of living. These changes and modifications even make some buildings hard to link to their original form. After deepening on the concepts of the French architects, their envisioned habitation was compared to the actual living conditions inside. This partially revealed the discrepancy between the Arabic notion of living, a culture that is for example strongly based on ingenious public-private transitions and the structuralist approach of the French.

The thesis ends with a design proposal for a residential community in the area of El Hank, a modernist high-rise neighborhood situated near the coastline, a territory in transition threatened by new prestigious large-scale developments. Open spaces between the housing blocks of El Hank are oversized, unused and neglected, collective outdoor spaces are nonexistent. The proposal opts for a doubling of the population of the chosen site, sizing down the public spaces to a more human scale, without damaging the soul of the district.

  • Authors:
    • Glenn Somers

    • Fille Hanjoul (Promotor)
    • Johan De Walsche (Co-promotor)
  • Period:
    • 2013 — 2014  

    • Architecture

    • Master thesis