DERB MOUKEF

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Through chance operations and careful guidance, the project developed directly from the
site and the surrounding context. Place Bab Doukkala is known as a moukef, ‘a place
where workers remain standing’ or in other words, a hiring fair for day workers in the
building trade. The site is a large, open space with few permanent fixtures, yet has a strong
sense of programmatic hierarchy – specific areas are allocated to all from temporary
shacks occupied by vendors of second hand books and makeshift tents for other peddlers
to a rubbish heap next to a seemingly random parking arrangement for small trucks. The
main concentration of occupancy is at the centre of the site, where a few lonely palm trees
offer much needed shade to the day workers. Research into the moukef culture revealed
that the workers waiting at Place Bab Doukkala are considered less qualified and therefore
less trustworthy than those at other moukef around the perimeter of the Medina. The
proposal seeks to address this issue by providing the area with a building skills training
centre as well as spaces for the workers to display their skills, whilst creating much needed
additional shading for all occupants of the site.

The architecture of erratic walls grew from the urban massing of the Medina – repeated
copying, scaling, tracing, painting and tearing of certain areas of the old city, picked by the I
Ching, resulted in 32 wall elements that were then assembled again through a randomised
process resulting in a surprisingly familiar arrangement, very much reminiscent of the
original structure of narrow derbs leading to open spaces.

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annamaria.kiho@gmail.com 

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