Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
DAR AL MAGHRIB – La Maison du Maroc in Montreal, Canada by ACDF Architecture
January 12th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: ACDF Architecture
Located in the heart of Montreal, La Maison du Maroc is on of the first of several Moroccan cultural centers planed for countries worldwide. The intention of the center is to strengthen cultural ties within the Moroccan community abroad.
The architectural aspect of the project consists of the extensive renovation of a four storey, 1960’s structure on the edge of the historic Vieux Port of Montréal. Carefully contemplated modifications were made to the envelope allowing additional natural light to enter, while reinforcing the presence of the building on the dominant corner site. However, the majority of the intervention was focused inward, dramatically transforming the building’s typical office floor plates into a functional and dramatic space.
The conceptual approach of the project references the traditional Moroccan riad house where the living spaces are located around a central garden. It is this central open space that defines the heart of the complex, rather than the functions that surround it.
In the case of La Maison du Maroc, a central double height void was cut out of the existing building mass to form a grand hall around which the cultural program was distributed. Multipurpose rooms, an exhibition spaces and classrooms serve to facilitate the objective of cultural exchange. With the 12 000 volume library, exhibition hall, and language school, the idea of cultural exchange is further reinforced. The newly established heart serves both informal and formal gatherings large and small.
The projects dominant internal feature, a substantial wood clad stair reorganizes the circulation of the building, and visually links the first and second floors as the public spaces unfold in richly textured finishes. The carefully selected finishes reflect the aesthetic traditions ofMorocco, while reflecting the evolution of modernist Moroccan cultural heritage.
Imported mosaic tiles installed by visiting Moroccan artisans line the main circulation spaces and the walls that surround the central hall. The two storey, laser cut metal screens, filter the newly augmented natural light and animate shadows across the grand hall marking the passage of time throughout the day.
The grand opening in Montréal was well received by the local Moroccan community, Canadian dignitaries and visiting Moroccan Royalty.
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Category: Cultural Center