18 Aralık 2010 Cumartesi

design of place Lalla Yeddouna in Fez , MOROCCO

explanatory report
The city Fez is the cultural and intellectual center of the country, Morocco. The city consists of two parts, the old city, Medina and the new French colonial city, Ville Nouvelle.
The Place Lalla Yeddouna is at the nucleus of the old city Fez. This place plays an important role in connecting the two banks of Fez River and so the two sides of the old city with the historical Bin Lamdoun Bridge.

competition site

The Place Lalla Yeddouna is a center for traditional handicraft as copper, brass smiths and tanners. But the craftsmen work in bad and inadequate places and this hinders the development and trade of the handicrafts. This negative situation affects the tourism and national income. The project competition focuses on the solution of this situation.
The area Place Lalla Yeddouna must be a healthy complex and a center for the production and a market for trading the handicrafts to the tourists and for the citizens.


This place has to be a valuable artisan development and touristic center for the city Fez with its functional open and closed spaces as residences, production workshops, restaurants, cafes and other services.
The Place Yeddouna is now a lost square that needs to be arised with interventions. In the place there is an old fountain near by the historical building named Fondouk Lahssair. Around the place, there are other historical buildings, a mulberry tree that need to be preserved and restored. Besides this, the design of new buildings is required to receive the needs of the new functions and services.

river fez

place lalla yeddouna and the mulberry tree

The designed project aims to arise the square, The Place Lalla Yeddouna and create a functional, aesthetical complex around the river Fez. In order to achieve this, the characteristics of the topography are carefully taken under consideration to harmonize the natural environment and land. The layout and design of the buildings are done according to this idea.
In the designed project, there is an axis that starts from the fountain and reaches the bridge. This axis and the topographic character of the area form an imaginary layout circle. This layout circle gives the shapes and character of the new Place
Lalla Yeddouna Square
and the buildings. Therefore, the buildings have different altitudes with stepped heights that open the square’s front side.

   aerial plan

integration & layout concept
rehabilitation of existing structures

This imaginary axis and the layout circle play an important role in arising the square, the mulberry tree and the historical buildings so that the square can be perceived from the Bin Lamdoun Bridge. The new square connects the two sides of the city and becomes a new, valuable and attractive nucleus for the tourists and citizens. This is the main idea of this project.
The project area is divided into three areas: Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3.
The buildings in Zone 1 have historical values and they have to be protected. In this area the buildings serve as retail shops, production-educational workshops, exhibition areas and family apartments.
The building Fondouk Lahssair is chosen in this project to be restored. The structural elements are reinforced. The other architectural elements like doors, windows, staircases are restored. The wooden elements like guard rails in the courtyard and the finishing materials on the floors and walls are restored to their original conditions.

utilization and circulation concept
design of a new building

The building consists of production workshop areas, restrooms on each floor and a meeting room for the craftsmen and trade people interested in. The connection of the building to the square is strengthened and a good communication is achieved with the ground floor workshops and exterior areas. So the building can take the visitors’ attraction and welcome them.
The narrow street, Bab Nooba becomes an attractive shopping distinct with its original atmosphere and opening to the hotel and restaurant area.
There is an other narrow street opening to the square on the north side of the area. This street connects the Bin Lamdoun parking area to the Place Lalla Yeddouna. But the street is disturbed and closed with unnecessary ruins. This street is called Bab el Courna. This new passage is redesigned and formed the curved design of the new building in Zone 2.
The new designed building in Zone 2 consists of ground floor retail shops, workshops and exhibition-stores with other service spaces. The ground floor retail shops facing towards, Bab el Courna passage plays an important role for this new passage to become an attractive shopping distinct. Bab el Courna also connects the parking area to the Place Lalla Yeddouna square, that the most important idea of this new settlement is.
One other important point in the area and also in the buildings is the carefully designed accessibility for disabled people with the help of ramps.
On the southern hand side of the square, in Zone 2, there is a comfort hotel for visitors and tourists. The hotel complex is designed according to the imaginary layout circle. This hotel complex has restaurants facing towards the mulberry tree and the square which gives a relaxing feeling to the visitors at day and night.
The other bank of the river Fez is Zone 3. This area is redesigned and some historical buildings are restored. The new buildings are designed adjacent to the historical ones with harmony. The main functions of the buildings located in this area are, exhibition-stores, retail shops, restaurants and cafes. Besides these functions, an information center for the coming visitors is located at a historical building which is restored.
The buildings located in the Zone 3 area have a Place Lalla Yeddouna square view. The area is connected to the left side of the river and enriched with open exhibition areas where visible accessibility and perception is achieved with the historical bridge Bin Lamdoun.
The interconnection zone B is considered as a green area and recreational park which is easily accessible from Derb Bin Lamdoun Street. Different recreational activities can take place in this area for the tourists.
The area has an inspiring atmosphere and is like an open museum of Arabic, Moroccan culture and architecture. So, in the restoration and designing the new buildings, same and similar local construction materials are used carefully in order to achieve the harmony and balance with the historical area and surrounding buildings. Further detailed surveys and studies must be done urgently to preserve and restore the area.
The long-lasting project aims to restore, preserve and develop the area in every point. This project is just the first step to achieve this. Besides architectural interventions, educational and commercial activities must be done to develop the traditional handicrafts and leave it to the next generations.
The area Place Lalla Yeddouna will be a useful complex and a center for the production and a commercial market for trading the handicrafts to the tourists and for the citizens.

H.Onur Dinmez  (november 2010)

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