Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Rabat, Morocco

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), based in Benguerir, Morocco developed in 2019 an annex project including a foundation and research center in collaboration with the Morroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, innovation and research (Mascir). 

The 4 hectars site situated in the heart of Rabat University district is split in two part. The Foundation building is adjacent to a large 2 hectares, mainly empty hill and an informal soccer field. 

In May 2020, a competition was launched to create new outdoor recreation space for the students and researchers. The new landscaping should include meeting places and the possibility of working outdoors, picnic areas, sport facilities, amphitheatre and gardens.  

The main challenge was to :

  • Design a functional project adapted to all types of users
  • Meet a very short deadline due to the return of students
  • Avoid major disturbances to the site 

    

The site morphology and topography is preserved to minimize the project impact and improve project integration with the landscape.

The design concept consists in the creation of a modular toolbox, offering a large variety of uses and fonctions depending on user demand.   

The modules consist of wooden decks, tables, benches and pergolas and can be assembled according to different sizes in order to create small gathering spaces.

Each space allows student to work outdoor, meet for lunch, organize outdoor workshops or simply relax between classes.  

This concept presented at the competition phase gave the client the flexibility to adapt the number of modules based on the possibly increasing number of students in the future. 

The natural slope of the hill is used to create a succession of 12 meters wide  terraces that can accomodate the various modules.

Long white concrete lines highlight the terrasses, offer benches and low retaining walls. Each terrace is linked with landscape embankments and precast concrete white stairs.

The modules are aligned on terraces and connected by stepping stones paths. These landscape in strips is reinforced by lines of olive trees.

The lower part of the garden, beside the building, includes a long swale permitting rainwater infiltration and creates a colourfull linear raingarden.

A boardwalk is used for crossing this raingarden.They also connect to stairs leading to the top of the hill and giving access to the terrasses.

The existing soccerfield was conserved and completed with fitness equipment in order to create a more sporting center on top of the hill and giving an overview of the site.

The strenght of the project lies in its modularity and technical efficiency which allowed a rapid construction in an occupied site and respecting its original form. 

Simple shapes, local materials enable the contractor to quickly produce and install furnitures. 

Limited and balanced earthwork, prefabricated walls and benches helped us to avoid major disturbances of the site during the construction of the terraces. 

Once realised, all the wooden features were quickly assembled on site. 

The design and construction phase were completed in four months.

From an ecological point of view, the landscape approach helped to promote different ideas :

  • Limited energy, better integration and result
  • Gravity based rainwater management 
  • Recycling soil for plantation
  • Native and xerophile ornemental plant selection 

Project location : Avenue Mohamed El Jazouli / Av. M. Ben Abdellah Erregragui, Rabat, Morocco

Design year: 2020

Year Built: 2020

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