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Client / United States MCC / ADER Fes / Kingdom of Morocco
Budget / USD 8,000,000
Stage / Phase 2 / RIBA C

International Competition – Third Place

Place Lalla Yeddouna is located in the Medina of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cultural and artisanal capital of Morocco. The Medina is the largest contiguous car free urban zone in the world and the buildings in Place Lalla Yeddouna date from the 10th to the 20th Century. This project, supported by the United States Government, aims to refurbish and rebuild existing historic structures whilst providing a new mixed use urban space for the community as well as visitors to the Medina.

The site will become a major catalyst for artisan development, with spaces for educational programs, residences, artisan production, shops, restaurants, cafes and other services. The new complex will support activities for youth and adults and is expected to be an exemplary cultural site, economic stimulator and generator for the development of other projects in Fez, its region and Morocco.

The approach taken in this proposal is one where the strategy of re-tasking is preferable to replacing. Existing buildings are retained where possible, and new buildings fit pre-existing footprints – in this way the scheme is above all else one of conscientious repair to the precious fabric of the medina. At an urban scale the scheme can be understood as a limited number of relatively small scale but nonetheless emphatic deletions from the existing massing such as to define new public space and improve the potential of the existing buildings. These deletions are determined as a series of circulatory sutures that bind together disparate areas of the public realm, directly tying into new and existing bridges across the Oued Boukhrareb channel and between otherwise segregated buildings.