May 05 2014

Moroccan Architecture to be Showcased at the Venice Biennale of Architecture

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

The Venice Biennale will take place, and a heterogeneous public of thousands of professionals will cross paths. Journalists, government officials, and public and private contractors will all be there. It is also a place with a strong presence of event-focused communication in the form of expositions, conferences, colloquiums, and theme evenings.

Architecture will hold the place of honor during this next Biennale. This is not a matter of chance, since the event will be presided over by the renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, who had the honor of winning the Pritzker Prize in 2000. Through proposing the theme “Fundamentals 1914 to 2014,” he aims to cast a new glance at the profession’s founding principles. By cumulatively and collectively recounting the history of the past one hundred years, the expositions displayed at the national pavilions are going to offer a vision of the evolution of architecture as a technical and cultural practice situated between globalization and identity-based resistance.

Present for the first time at the Venice Biennale, Morocco is developing a theme based on its unique contributions to the architectural experience of the twentieth century. Morocco, as a land of exploration and hospitality, will present a historic vision that brings to mind the Biennale’s general theme, but also a snapshot of the contemporary scene. Called “fundamental(ism)s” as a nod towards the general theme proposed by Rem Koolhaas, who wants to explore the practice’s fundamentals from the last hundred years, the Moroccan Pavilion will be an exploration of what have been labelled unique and radical steps in architecture. As is custom, Morocco’s ambassador in Rome, Hassan Abouyoub, will be the Moroccan Pavilion’s commissioner. Members of the FADA foundation are entrusted to serve as technical commissioners.

Contemporary building in Casablanca, Morocco

Morocco’s contribution to the great architectural experience of the last hundred years is a result of its exploration and experimentation. The country has been so transformed that it has moved away from the previous architectural paths it has followed. As a true architectural and urban laboratory, Morocco has always been the place where unique and extreme proposals pushed the boundaries. The exposition will showcase this relationship with experimentation.

Indeed, the presence of the Moroccan Pavilion at the Biennale constitutes an initiative taken by “Foundation Art Design Architecture” born under the Moroccan architect Tarik Oualalou, who will also be present at the event serving as a technical commissioner and spokesperson for the foundation. This initiative clearly demonstrates FADA’s desire to become a major cultural force in supporting the standing of the arts of design and architecture. And so, the exposition will focus on the importance of studying Morocco’s architectural potential in its historic and contemporary dimensions.

Launched in partnership with the Venice Biennale, a contest was organized by FADA open to architects as well as to architecture students with the goal of involving the entirety of the profession and the contemporary architectural scene. This contest will also be an opportunity to give a voice to young talent so that they can bring a new perspective to the Moroccan, and worldwide, architectural milieu.

In light of increased globalization, can we expect greater convergence in architectural currents and styles, or will different regions seek to draw upon their existing architectural traditions?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Marcus Khoury

Marcus Khoury is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies. Aside from his native Michigan, Marcus has lived in several states, in addition to France and Chile. Owing to his experiences with a variety of cultures, languages, and environments, he has always been keenly interested in how the exchange of ideas between different cities, regions, and countries helps to shape both physical and cultural landscapes. His linguistic background, in addition to his interest in the diversity of international urban environments and experiences, has led Marcus to fill the position of French Language Translator at The Grid, where he will be translating and presenting French language material involving environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 5th, 2014 at 9:40 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, History/Preservation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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