Foster & Partners completed first project in Morocco

Foster + Partners announces to have completed its first project in Morocco. This headquarters building for Moroccan bank, implanted in three cities: in Rabat, Casablanca and Fes, is articulated into four specificity': its methodology of construction based on a kit-of-parts' approach based on Islamic architecture and design; the facade made out of an arrangement of circles made out of sheets of stainless steel; branches designed to be energy efficient; the dome as model of Islamic architecture.
BMCE Headquarters Buildings, Morocco, © Foster + Partners

These headquarters buildings combine both tradition and contemporary in response to the changing contexts.
© Foster + Partners

The structural system of these headquarters buildings, first, is based a kit-of-parts' methodology of construction with variations in color and scale according to the bank's location.
© Foster + Partners

The buildings are made out of local materials and craftsmanship: black granite, grey limestone, tadelakt, zellige and so forth.

Following a modular grid, this consists of a concrete frame with an entrance colonnade and a series of bays enclosed by glazed panels and 200mm-deep screens.  The envelope responds to energy saving requirements.
© Foster + Partners

© Foster + Partners

The facade, secondly, consists of screens cut from sheets of stainless steel using a special low-iron mixture that does not heat up in the sun. These screens, then, are curved creating a geometric design, specifically an arrangement of circles, according to traditional Islamic patterns.
© Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

The third particularity of these headquarters buildings is the branches designed to be save energy. As mentioned, materials are local: black granite and grey limestone.
First Floor © Foster + Partners

 These branches are equipped with an 'earth tube', an electricity-free cooling system providing air which is drawn into an empty pipe that encircles the building underground. Thanks to this process, the air is cooled by the earth and released into the branch.
© Foster + Partners

The fourth and last point is the dome which is representative of Islamic architecture. Its form sweeps down into the banking hall creating a sculptural curved bench. It is also a reference to the design of a number of new schools in Morocco.
© Foster + Partners

The inner spaces are rendered in a local lime plaster technique called tadelakt offering a soft aspect to the interior. The exterior is clad in zellige, once again traditional ceramic tiles.

Ground Floor © Foster + Partners

Building facts
Project: BMCE Branches
Architects: Foster + Partners
Client: BMCE Bank (Banque Marocaine de Commerce Exterieur)
Gross Area: Rabat — 655 sqm; Casablanca — 200 sqm; Fes — 340 sqm
Internal Net Area: Rabat — 300 sqm; Casablanca — 200 sqm; Fes — 340 sqm
Site area: Rabat — 960 sqm; Casablanca — 500 sqm; Fes — 1280 sqm;
Typical Gross Floor Area: Rabat — 240 sqm; Casablanca — 150 sqm; Fes — 210 sqm
Building Height: 11m
Number of storeys: 3
No. of Offices: Rabat — 6; Casablanca — 2
Credit images: Foster + Partners

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