A Look Into Past of Casablanca Morocco
Hailed as the biggest city in the Kingdom of Morocco, Casablanca is situated in the center-west portion of the nation on the Atlantic Ocean. Considered as the biggest place in the Maghreb, the city is additionally one of the biggest and most significant metropolitans in Africa, in terms of finance and in demographics.
The city is the country’s primary harbor and 1 of the most significant economic center in the region of Africa. According to the 2012 survey, the city has a populace of around 4 million. Casablanca is viewed as the financial and business district of the country, while the capital is Rabat.
Top local organizations and global companies working have their central station and primary facilities in the city. The latest industrial figures indicate the city holds its rank being a prime economic district of the nation. The Port of Casablanca is one of the biggest human-made ports on the planet and the biggest port of Northern Africa. It is likewise the main maritime base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.
The first name of Casablanca was Anfa, in Berber dialect in 7th c. BC. Later when Portugal conquered Anfa in the fifteenth c. AD, they reconstructed it, shifting its title to Casa Branca. It comes from the Portuguese word mix signifying “White House.” Its current Spanish name came when the Portuguese empire was incorporated into the Spanish empire. Amid the French colonial period in the country, the term became Casablanca. In the eighteenth century, a quake devastated the more significant part of the place. It was reconstructed by the Sultan who changed the name into the neighborhood Arabic which is A-ddar Al Baidaa, albeit Arabic likewise has its own particular form of the city. Casablanca is still called Casa by numerous local and foreign people. While other communities with other vernacular, it is known as A-ddar Al-Bida.
An acclaimed lane in Casablanca, the Anfa Boulevard is, for the most part, deemed as Casablanca’s “old original city”; legitimately a region with 0.5 million residents.
Casablanca was established and set up by Berbers in the seventh c. BC. It was utilized as a harbor by the Phoenicians and eventually, the Romans. In his book Wasf Afriquia, Al-Hassan al-Wazzan called the early Casablanca as “Anfa,” a vast city established in the Berber kingdom of Barghawata in 744 AD. Al-Wazzan trusted Anfa was the wealthiest town on the coast of Atlantic in view of its rich land.”
By this period, Barghawata became an autonomous state and proceeded until it was dominated in 1068 by the Almoravids. Taking after the loss of the Barghawata in the twelfth century, Arab people of Hilal and Sulaym ancestry resided in the district, blending with the neighboring Berbers, which prompted to a worldwide Arabicizing. Amid the fourteenth c., under the Merinids, Anfa has risen as a significant harbor. The remainder of the Merinids was expelled via popular revolt in 1465.
Portuguese invasion & Spain’s influence
Beginning of the fifteenth century, the township turned into an autonomous state again, and developed as an open port for pirates, prompting to it being a target of Portuguese, who attacked the city which prompted to its devastation in 1468. The Portuguese utilized the remains of Anfa to set up a military fort in 1515. The community that lived up around it was identified as Casa Branca, signifying “white house” in Portuguese.
Somewhere around 1580 & 1640, the Crown of Portugal was incorporated to the Crown of Spain, so Casablanca and every single other zone taken by Portugal were under Spain’s control, however keeping up a self-ruling Portuguese government. As Portugal softened ties with Spain up 1640, Casablanca went under completely Portugal’s dominion once more. The Europeans, in the long run, left the region totally in 1755 after a seismic tremor that pulverized the majority of the town.
The community was at long last rebuilt by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah, the grandson of Moulay Ismail and a supporter of George Washington, with the assistance of Spaniards from the adjacent emporium. The place was called الدار البيضاء ad Dār al-Bayḍāʼ, the Arabic interpretation of the Spanish Casa Blanca.
In the nineteenth century, the zone’s populace started to increase as it turned into a noteworthy provider of fleece to the thriving business of textiles in Britain and the transportation movement expanded. By the 1860s, there were about five thousand occupants, and the populace increased to around ten thousand by the 1880s. The city continued as a meager sized harbor, with a populace stretching about twelve thousand in a couple of times of France’s rule and coming of French colonialists in the city, at first government in a sovereign sultanate, in 1906. In 1921, this rose to a hundred ten thousand, generally through the improvement of small crudely built houses.
In 1907, France endeavored to construct a light railroad close to the harbor, going through a memorial park. The local people protested resulting in riots which caused some soldiers to be injured and one general to be executed. Accordingly, the French responded by ship, attacking Casablanca from the shore, which brought about serious harm to the area leaving fifteen thousand killed and injured. The French asserted that it was to re-establish stability. This successfully started the procedure of colonization, albeit France’s dominion over the city was not official until 1910. Under France’s regime, Muslim anti-Jewish uprisings happened in 1908.
The popular classic movie “Casablanca” featuring Humphrey Bogart emphasized Casablanca’s impressive standing at the time, portraying the city as the setting of a battle for control among contending European forces. The movie has a multinational line of actors.
Europeans made up a large portion of the populace. During the 1950s, the city was the main center of the anti-French revolt. A rebel act on Christmas of 1953 brought death to sixteen people.
World War II
The American-British attack of French N. Africa amid the N. African campaign of World War 2 called Operation Torch began on the 8th of Nov. 1942. The US assaulted at 3 distinct areas in French N. Africa, included 3 being the landings at Casablanca in light of its significant harbor and the main admin centers. The city was an essential key harbor amid World War 2 and in 1943 facilitated the Casablanca Conference which Roosevelt and Churchill talked about the war development. Casablanca has been the spot of a huge US airbase, a platform space for all US air jets for the European Theater of Operations amid World War 2.
In Oct. 1930, Casablanca facilitated a Grand Prix, organized at the new Anfa Racecourse. In 1958, the competition was conducted at Ain-Diab circuit. On March 2, 1956, the Kingdom of Morocco obtained autonomy from French. In 1983, the city facilitated the Mediterranean Games. Casablanca is presently advancing its tourism sector. The city has turned into the financial and business center of the country, while Rabat is the political capital.
In the early months of 2000, sixty plus females planned protests in the city proposing changes to the legal status of females in Morocco. Around forty thousand females went, requiring a restriction on polygamy and the presentation of law on divorce being religious process only around that time. Even though the counterdemonstration pulling in .5 million who participated, the advancement for change began in 2000 was persuasive on King Mohammed VI, and he ordered another family law, in 2004, taking care of women’s rights activists.
On the 16th of May of 2003, thirty-three regular citizens were murdered and a hundred plus individuals were harmed when the city was battered by numerous rebel acts made by Moroccans who according to others are connected to feared rebel groups. A sequence of violence threatened the city of Casablanca in 2007. These groups have brought fear to the community.
In 2011, when cries for reformation stretched through the Arab region, Moroccans participated. However, concessions by the ruler prompted to acknowledgment. In any case, in December, a huge number of locals protested in different areas of Casablanca, particularly the downtown area close la Fontaine, craving more noteworthy political changes.
Casablanca Climate and Topography
The city is situated in the Chawiya Plain which has in the olden times been the breadbasket of the country. Aside from the Atlantic coast, the forest of Bouskoura is merely Casablanca’s natural attraction. The wood was sown in the twentieth century and comprises for the most part of eucalyptus, palm, and pine trees. It is found halfway to the city’s international air terminal.
Oued Bouskoura is the only waterway in the city, an occasional little brook that til 1912 extended the Atlantic Ocean close to the harbor. The vast majority of our Bouskoura’s bed has been sheltered because of urbanization, and just a portion of the south of El Jadida street is seen. The next stable waterway to the city is Oum Rabia running at 43.50 miles to the southeast.
The city of Casablanca weather has a hot summer Mediterranean atmosphere. The chill Canary Current off the Atlantic shore controls temperature variety, which brings about an atmosphere strikingly like that of seaside LA, with comparable temperature ranges. Casablanca has a yearly ave. of seventy-two days with huge precipitation, which adds up to 412 millimeters every year. The maximum temperatures documented in Casablanca are 40.5 degrees Celsius and −2.7 degrees Celsius. The most elevated measure of precipitation recorded in a day is 178 millimeters on 30 November 2010.
The Grand Casablanca area is viewed as the engine of the advancement of the Moroccan economy. It pulls in 32 percent of the nation’s generation units & fifty-six percent of industry work. The locale utilizes 30 percent of the country’s power generation. With 93 billion Moroccan dirhams, the district adds to 44 percent of the industrial production of Morocco. Around 33 percent of national manufacturing exports, 27 billion MAD originates from the Grand Casablanca; 30 percent of the Moroccan banking system is centered in Casablanca.
A standout amongst an essential Casablanca export is phosphate. Some sectors incorporate angling, canning, sawmills, furniture making, construction materials, glass, fabrics, hardware, leather, sodas, and cigarette.
The activity at Casablanca & Mohammedia seaports speaks to half of the global business flows of the country. Practically the whole Casablanca waterfront is being constructed, primarily the development of big amusement centers amid the harbor and Hassan II Mosque, the Anfa Resort close to the business, amusement and living center of Megarama, the shopping and amusement center of Morocco Mall, and also a total remodel of the beachfront walkway. The Sindbad park is designed to be completely transformed with games, rides, and amusement services.
Regal Air Maroc has its main workplace at the Casablanca – Anfa Airport. In 2004, it declared that it was transferring its main office from the city to an area in Province of Nouaceur, near Mohammed V Int’l Airport. The consent to construct the main office in Nouaceur was marked in 2009.
The most fabulous Commercial Business District of Casablanca & Maghreb is seen in the North of the city in Sidi Maarouf close to the mosque of Hassan II and the most enormous venture of high rise buildings of Maghreb & Africa Casablanca Marina.
Historical Background of Casablanca Morocco
Casablanca’s existence started being a Berber community sometime past 3,000 years, way earlier than when the Romans claimed the territory soon ahead of the passing of Emperor Augustus. They had effectively built the port of Anfa for some time and would keep on operating around Casablanca until the fifth century.
By the eighth century, the Berber empire of Barghawata had assumed control of Anfa, succeeded by the Amoravids in the eleventh century. The community got to be essential again under another Berber empire, the Merinids, who utilized it as a critical port.
The Portuguese dominated and demolished it in 1468 AD because of its connections to piracy, then created a fortification in the sixteenth century. The community that built around it was known as Casa Branca. However, the Portuguese were under continuous assault from nearby tribes and are thought to have surrendered the town after a seismic tremor in 1755.
The medina was constructed by Casablanca’s new leader, Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, during 1770. It was believed that the Spanish people had supported the development of the fortifications. In the nineteenth century, Casablanca progressed by means of trading with Europe, until France’s invasion at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Under the French territory, Casablanca expanded into a metropolis of 100,000 in the 1920s. The ambition of French service leader Marshal Lyautey started a monstrous half-century task that re-constructed Casablanca and its offices until they surpassed those of Marseille, the port that had been the motivation.
As romanticized in the well-known movie featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca was a crucial vital port town in WWII. In 1943, the acclaimed Anfa Conference occurred here, where Churchill and Roosevelt talked about the advance of the war.
In 1956, Morocco obtained its freedom from France. However, Casablanca kept up its royal flair and is acknowledged as one of the nation’s most European urban communities. It has developed into the economic center of Morocco, where most trade is carried out and has as of late tried to build up the tourism business. This has, to a limited extent, prompted enormous redesign labors on the medina.
Interesting Facts about Casablanca
- Despite being set in Casablanca, none of the eponymous 1942 movies was shot in the Kingdom of Morocco.
- Due to the era under France’s regime, Casablanca features many of the most world’s exceptional craftsmanship deco structural design. In the meantime, the Habous area was an endeavor by the French to join Moroccan style with French standards, making for a lovely artificial Madina.
- Built somewhere around 1986 to 1993, Hassan II Mosque is maybe the finest contemporary case of Islamic engineering. It was to a limited extent, considered to give work to a large number of conventional artisans.
Architectural Tour of Casablanca City
The city was a center of present-day engineering amid the twentieth century. During the 1900s it turned into the world’s 2nd city, following New York City’s 1916 zoning law, to take on a thorough master plan for city improvement. Til, the 1950s different versions of the modern & Art Deco designs, were actively adopted by Casablanca’s designers and tenants alike. Back then, the metropolis was promoted as a French America, an adaptation of Chicago, a place of hasty innovation which hurled high rises.
While Casablanca’s advanced contemporary city plan & engineering were absolutely molded by colonialism, the design created amid that time ought to likewise be regarded as a significant aspect of Morocco’s cultural legacy. Part of the targets of Casamémoire, a civil society based on Casablanca, is to cultivate a familiarity with this legacy, and a few individuals at Al Akhawayn Univ. were glad to take an interest in the current year’s Journées du Patrimoine.
Volunteers from Journées du Patrimoine conducts tour guides of Casablanca’s heritage buildings. Shows, exhibitions, film viewing and meetings on architectural arts are additionally held over the city. Said Ennahid, a professor and archeologist who lectures Islamic art history at AUI, was resolved to engage students.
The walking tour began on Place Mohammed V, previously called Place Administrative, which name has changed frequently. This vast open plaza was the presentation of the architecture style supported by Resident Lyautey, a design lately called neo-Moroccan. Lyautey himself supervised the construction of structures positioned around the plaza, and he persuaded the planners he employed to think past the case of Orientalist engineering up to this point used in French North Africa. Moroccan themes, plans, items & artistry were to be re-evaluated inside the application of the design function then developing in Europe. The outcome, on Place Administrative, is a phenomenal show of the best quality design structure. The extravagantly supported community structures are produced using the best building materials and were planned to a lavish extent and with a keen concentration on the elements. At present, entry to these structures is minimal, so the yearly open house presents the main chance to see them, and snap great photographs!
The Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) is currently the Wilaya, the headquarters of the Regional Administration. It was planned by Marius Boyer and was finished in 1927.
The outside border of the Hôtel de Ville is a native gray sandstone. A broad frieze of green zellij denotes the rooftop line. A clock towers over the structure. This has been Casablanca’s 2nd clock tower, after the Tour de l’horloge. Keeping the appropriate time was an essential piece of the colonial agenda.
The Hôtel de Ville has arranged around 3 gardens. Artworks by Majorelle (1859-1926) displayed in its marble stairwells. Royal rooms on the exceptionally grand upper floor incorporate the chairman’s office and Hall of Honor, where civil unions are done.
The nearby Palais de Justice (Court House), constructed in 1922, has a colossal exterior on the plaza, with an incredible focal entrance prompting to two sectioned displays on the core floor.
The next building is the city office of the Bank al-Maghrib, the government bank drafted by Edmond Brion and was finished in 1937.
In the middle of the 1930s, the neo-Moroccan venture had carried on with planners working in the city’s private division. Earth-tones were substituted with brilliant greens and blues in the zellij work. Everything was expensive; halls adorned with beautiful marbles, others in costly wood framing with stunning Art Deco marqueterie.
Bank al-Maghrib indicates the edge amid Casablanca’s civic administrative center and its’ Central Business Area. As non-public division benefactors of splendid engineering, the banks accepted the soul of the official neo-Moroccan style. Vast numbers of their structures were absolute contemporary, with no citation to traditional European or Oriental designs.
Other business structures, offices, retail chains, and movie theaters, embraced the neo-Moroccan themes to Art Deco.
Casablanca’s business district is a living exhibition of Art Deco, modern, Mediterranean, French, and Moroccan. Firm as these structures, many need renovation, or if nothing else of repairs.
Strolling downtown Casablanca takes you to Passage Sumica, included in the city’s celebrated pedestrian galleries. Constructed in the ‘30s Passage Glaoui, Passage Tazi, and others go through city community, connecting the walkways of the bustling business boulevards on every side. They permit road level foot traffic to enter directly through the community, giving extra access to structures above, and expanding the business area and facade. They were modern facilities for the developing city. Aside from stalls, passages have coffeehouses and offer access to inns, films and other anchors of the sort of walking customer flaneur modernity Casablanca got to be well known.
The Asayag Building was the embodiment of present-day urban living. City planner Marius Boyer got rid of the wet internal courtyards that exemplified thick urban blocs. Dilapidated as it seems, the Assayag Building must even now be a fantastic spot to dwell. The penthouses at the highest point of the building start on the 8th floor and ascend in patios two extra levels. Flats were outlined with the new customer in view, a young professional or couple with no kids. They were not intended for families. They had open multilevel plans and extended in size from studios to multi-story penthouses. In that capacity, occupants may have automobiles, the Asayag and other huge condo buildings in the central neighborhoods had basement parking.
For the ancient city tour, take a sight of Dar al-Makhzen. The adjacent mosque is said to be the oldest working mosque in Casablanca. You can also check out Friday Mosque, called the Old al-Hamra Mosque, and to the neighboring Residence of Lyautey. The Residence is presently the home of Casablanca division of the Union Marocaine du Travail, one of Morocco’s biggest and most established labor unions.
A volunteer guide may take you to the Ettedgui Synagogue, a private synagogue which even now belongs to the Ettedgui family, also if the family is not residing in Morocco. You can continue the tour to the Spanish Church, which the government of Spain lately turned over control of this congregation to Morocco. The Church structures are being renovated and will serve as a center for the community.
Habous and the Mahkama
The Habous neighborhood was constructed during the 1920s to accommodate the city’s developing common laborers. It was put up alongside the new Royal Palace. Albert Laprade led broad field investigations of Morocco’s urban architecture before he embarked to outline the vicinity in 1917. The actual construction of the area, which proceeded into the 1930s, was done by Laprade’s associates Auguste Cadet and Edmond Brion. Moroccan spatial compositions and themes guided each size of the plan. This new community is an excellent set of conventional structural devices: rear ways, entryways, curves at every turn. It is vivid and exceptionally tasteful. Furthermore, it is extraordinary engineering. Made from sturdy materials at the human scale, everything about urban planning was painstakingly outlined and carried out.
Comparatively with Essaouira (otherwise known as Mogador) in the utilization of sandstone trim on white walls. However, Sidi, Mohamed b. Abdellah forced straight wide boulevards on eighteenth-century Essaouira, Laprade impressed beautiful viewpoints in Habous.
The Habous neighborhood is an exciting display of end of century craftsmanship. The model made no replicas. But, the industrial grounds for innovation won over the artists. Minimalist lodging built-in bulk described most succeeding neighborhoods for laborers, like Habitations Carrières Central. Additionally, the technocratic, top-down down preparation approach, in charge of the outline of each and every corner and crevice in Habous, was inconsistent with the kind of customary building procedures which “naturally” created the corners of Morocco’s genuine urban design.
The Habous district did not achieve its proposed social gathering. Instead of working families getting reasonable lodging, Habous turned into the must-have address of the Moroccan nobles, and of the Fassi high society specifically, who acknowledged access to a Friday mosque and to the adjacent palace. The center point of Muslim Casablanca amid the colonial period, with its cafés and book shops, Habous is still viewed as the embodiment of the modern Muslim urbanity. The souks composed by Laprade are experts in the most beautiful Moroccan arts. Habous is the place Baydawiya brides go looking for all their wedding things.
Habous is additionally renowned for other amazing features of artworks and crafts, the Mahkama, or “tribunal.” The Mahkama is an incredible urban royal residence which took ten years to finish. It’s one of a kind. Based on an incline, it seems to rise over Habous area. It can be accessed through massive door gateways.
In Mahkama, the pasha’s “offices” are considered as an Alhambra. Sunlit courts glimmer with white stucco creation. Similarly, as with the stucco work, the craftsmanship on the cedar wood roofs is detailed correctly. Everything is genuine! The best-skilled workers were employed as well as the highest quality items were utilized. It’s an uncommonly refined restoration of Alhambra design, at life-size scale, with the supreme items.
It’s questionable if Mahkama ever filled its use as the workplaces of the Pasha of Casablanca, or what legislative office it serves today. But good thing, in Journées du Patrimoine, people, in general, may take a glance at this gem.
From Habous the tour for the bildi (common laborers) area of Hay Mohammadi. Included in the biggest companies in this area was the butcher house, Les abattoirs. The city office by the rail yards was constructed by Georges-Ernest Desmarest and Albert Greslin in 1922. It was intended to the best standard of sanitation and for industrialized efficiency. It shut in 2000. In 2008 a union of arts and cultural affiliations, like Casamémoire, acquired the privilege to reconvert this brownfield site.
From 2009 the Abattoirs are a fabric Culturelle or culture factory. The key building comprises of a large lobby. Light passes through rooftop openings and inside partitions are short. The foundation of the columns and the divisions are adorned in sturdy white tile. Given its initial intention, the office is furnished with modern pulleys, power, braces, and pipes. There are additionally substantial outdoor sections and numerous building subsidiaries. The Abattoirs present ideal creation and exhibit areas for visual & theater performers. Until further notice, just a little part of the large office is being utilized.
Aside from the bistro set, another design component seen in the Casablanca film isn’t right. The Casablanca offered to the U.S. film viewers by Warner Bro’s. in the fall of 1942 was shot totally in three distinctive Hollywood studios. Doesn’t have anything to do with the bold developed city. Differentiate the Hollywood adaptation of the city w/ Jean Vidal’s “Salut Casa” of ten years after. The film for “Casablanca” and the sets called for Tangiers. The film was hurriedly edited again to correspond with the US arrivals in North Africa and the Casablanca Conference of January 1943.
However the movie, Casablanca, & that period are currently the stuff of legend, a modern romantic war frayed times. Furthermore, Rick’s cafe delightfully lets its customers experience classic romance. The genuine Rick’s Café is in the best tradition of between-wars languor, lavish yet personal, and altogether soaked in jazz. Kathy Kriger’s restaurant, which began in 2004, is a tasteful addition to Casablanca by night, & may be comfortable in the city of grandma’s time.
Years ago, wandering photographers would take photographs of people walking on the streets. Photographers then gave a paper with their contact information. The individuals who want a copy of the pictures went to the picture taker a couple of days after and paid for the photographs they needed. It’s difficult to envision such politeness between outsiders on the walkways of any big city today.
The photographs taken by these photographers are very much familiar in the photo albums of the people of Casablanca during that period, as was showcased in VH magazine where it dedicated an issue to the Golden Age of Casablanca. Casablanca’s present-day architecture has been highlighted Royal Air Maroc’s in-flight magazine and other glossy prints as well.
Starting in November 1942, Casablanca was flooded with Americans. The Americans adored the city and the feeling was mutual.
The Colonial Architecture of Casablanca
The city’s center adorned with many French influences surrounding the downtown area and its proper, provincial structures as of now appear to have a place with an alternate and far off age. The design of government structures is explicitly referred to as Mauresque, or at times as “Neo-Moorish,” basically a French admiration and “improvement” on conventional Morocco style, with loads of horseshoe curves, and also the strange touch of darj w ktaf, initially an Almohad theme.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an example of Mauresque architecture
Numerous private structures of initial colonial era from 1912 until the mid-1920s were intensely impacted by the flowery Art Nouveau of fin-de-siècle Europe. After the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, a fresher, bold style, termed Art Deco following the Exposition, started to grab hold, enlivened by numerous sources, including traditional Moroccan pattern. A stroll on Casa’s downtown boulevards, appreciating in the Casablanca’s Deco legacy – make sure to look up, as a large portion of the better highlights look better up high and can present fulfillment.
Casablanca: Short History
The report has it that Anfa (the first name of Casablanca) has been in a practically constant cycle of advancement since the early Middle Ages when its revenues were gotten from trade and piracy.
Casablanca was built on an area of a pre-historic city called Anfa. It became part of a significant role in Morocco’s historical timeline at the later part of the seventh century and in the start of eight centuries. A thriving city because of its agricultural environs, Anfa was likewise in the past a fish port.
The founding of Anfa
According to research and archaeological discoveries, this city is stuck in history, with extensions stretching back two hundred thousand years. A human mouth was found in a mine near the tomb of Sidi Abderrahmane in 1955, dating back 200,000 years.
Hashem al-Maaroufi, who passed away in 1987, spoke in the book “Abeer Al-Zuhoor”, which was issued by the local scientific council of the workers of the province of Ain al-Shaq in 2013, about the fact that the areas of the said shrine are considered archaeological areas.
A number of researchers disagree about the founding of Anfa, the name given to the city before it became in the present era called Casablanca, but the most likely is what historian traveler Marmol in his book “Africa”, where he pointed out that “among the cities The Phoenician built by Hanoun according to the Carthage Court, it is in the best position in Africa surrounded by the sea on the one hand, and fertile plains on the other.
According to Maaroufi researcher, Casablanca / Anfa is likely to be founded by the Carthaginian Phoenicians, as most of the cities it constructed were on the seashore, such as Beirut, Tripoli, Levant, Sousse and Bizerte, not to mention that the Phoenicians were displaced from Syria and Lebanon. On the seaside in Lebanon called above.
The first to open the city of Anfa and then introduced its inhabitants into Islam was’ Uqba ibn Nafi al-Fihri, according to Muhammad Bujandar in his book ‘Chellah and its Archeology’. At the hands of her people for the first time, and they became a religion of Islam, but they soon returned and turned to Christianity after his return.
Trade and science
It is no coincidence that Casablanca is an economic capital and a major commercial destination in North Africa. History speaks of the fact that this city has been inhabited from time immemorial to trade, especially with Europeans, and has special regulations in dealing with traders abroad.
According to the same source, citing the book “Description of Africa” by its owner Hassan Al-Wazzan, “the city’s inhabitants were constantly connected with the Portuguese and English merchants, so their lives were organized and scientists.”
Wheat, barley, cowhide, goat, sheep, wax, wool, almonds, etc., among other commodities that were exported from the port of Anfa, according to Piccolotti, correspondent of the banks of Florence. And the largest in the country then.
It was not only trade, but the city had an active scientific movement and found a number of schools and scientists specialized in Islamic sciences, who were known at the time, including Ali bin Ibrahim bin Ali Al-Ansari.
In 1469, Portugal ruled over the city, coming back a hundred years later to assemble strongholds around the province of white-washed houses they called Casa Branca.
They left in 1755 when the town was harmed by a similar extraordinary seismic tremor that annihilated Lisbon. Anfa was later re-populated by neighborhood clans who called it by the Arabic name Darel-Beida. The name stayed being used until the mid-nineteenth century when Spanish merchants changed to the now well-known Casa Blanca.
Toward the start of the twentieth century, Casablanca had a populace of around 20,000. In the year 1927 – expanded by many French immigrants – this number had increased to 120,000 and achieved 682,000 by 1952. At this point, most of Casablanca’s significant Jewish people group had left, yet just about five years after autonomy, the overall populace had passed the million point.
At present, covering an enormous swathe of the seaside plain from Mohammedia to Sidi Abderrahmane, including many rural areas and numerous bidonvilles occupied by the country poor, Casablanca’s current populace surpasses 3.5million.
Presentation of Casablanca’s Architectural History
CASABLANCA, LABORATORY OF MODERN URBAN PLANNING AND HOUSING
The Universal aura of the economic capital of Morocco is based on a film of which it is physically visible. The importance of this film will not have been affected since 1946 all the irony of Groucho Marx to debunk the Warner Bros, producer of the film of Michael Curtiz, and who wanted, interceding to the Marx to name their new film One night in Casablanca, arrogate a definitive property right over the city. The unexpected film resonance of Casablanca redoubles the echo met by the city in the innumerable and edifying sagas that inspire French companies in Morocco since 1912. Provided with everything that the modern industry can provide, this spontaneous phenomenon of the French energy, according to Pierre Mac Orlan, provokes innumerable literary commentaries, while the concrete transformations of the city make it one of the mythical crucibles of architecture and, especially, of twentieth-century urbanism.
It is true that the dazzling emergence of Casablanca at the forefront of the cities of North Africa is enough to awaken the observers and artisans of the imperial expansion of France, the imbalances and the conflicts linked to its growth remaining always present in the naive cynical tables of this Eldorado of the developers. The extent of the social, cultural, and physical transformations that occurred during the short half-century of the Protectorate (1912-1955) was not to date only in a very limited number of overall analyzes. The concrete knowledge of the social stratifications in the city and their relation to the urban form remains incomplete, and the architectural form of Casablanca is, at first, grasped only in its most superficial configurations. Some general remarks can, however, be made.
Casablanca is one of the major urban creations of the 20th century. Certainly, the ancient historical core, originally named Anfa, existed for centuries, Muslim, Jewish (mellah) and European. But it is done, with extensions that he knows after 1912, the only real new agglomeration created in areas of French influence, metropolis included, before the new cities prescribed by the SDAU of the region Paris, 1965. Outstanding teams of technicians and professionals contributed to the outbreak and the economic capital of Morocco, in command of French and Moroccan customers committed to the innovation and modernization of the country and the city, thus making Casablanca one with its development response to the field of experimentation in the regulatory, technological and cultural fields. When Léandre Vaillat noted in 1929, not without a hint of spite, that what is not allowed to the extent and the soil of Paris is to the gigantic and the rock of Casablanca, it indicates well the ambition devolving to the city to propose a new form of metropolis able to remake it to the capital of the Empire.
Far from being a mere French town overseas inscribed in an exclusive metropolis-periphery report, Casablanca is, from the outset, and for reasons that are as much about the specific policy of the Protectorate as about the particularity of the population who live there. It transports an international and Moroccan city at the same time, a mixed city where the different national and regional geniuses are composed. Alongside an effective segregation policy that will take both the refined face of the new medina and the cruel, shantytowns, very early here, a certain social, national, cultural mix will emerge.
At the crossroads of Mediterranean cultures, mixing during the first years of the Protectorate the arrivals of Tunisia, Algeria, Italy and elsewhere, will be added a creeping Americanization – Vaillat also reports the impression of an American city (. ..) felt when arriving at Casablanca, strengthened in a striking way by the allied landing of 1942. After the war, Casablanca will be for ten years the most prosperous city of the French Union, and a new cycle Modernization will see the US influence become with unexpected Scandinavian influences.
Unquestionably brief in its duration, the history of Casablanca is however sharply punctuated at the same time by the cuts peculiar to the policy of the Protectorate and by episodes determined as much by the economy of the city and the rhythm of a tumultuous real estate investment that by the transformation of the ideals and techniques of professionals. It would be somewhat futile to propose in the pages that follow a definitive analysis of the major directions of urban planning and architecture in a city as complex as Casablanca has become, especially since the urban strategies of all and the diffuse network of operations carried out in the field of housing are not formed in a rigorously parallel way. We have therefore chosen to define, on the one hand, the major moments that are identifiable in the urban regulation of the growth of the city and, on the other hand, to identify the cross-over transformations of domestic architecture and the uses of housing. No doubt some actors are present simultaneously terrains. However, the very nature of the archives consulted and the documents analyzed, and the extreme dilation of project scales from studio to the region called for a more precise look at each of these on each of these issues.
CASABLANCA: FROM THE CITY OF ENERGY TO THE FUNCTIONAL CITY
When Michel Ecochard joined in 1946 his post of responsibility for planning in Rabat, he was still, by his own admission, under the influence of the illusion that Morocco was the homeland of town planning, that everything was regulated, organized and that cities and countryside developed in the most perfect harmony ‘. But the discovery of Casablanca, a mushroom town without urban planning, in which the elites have lost the race, will make evident to him the incapacity of the Protectorate, which is able to foresee, control and control the growth of the big cities. Three years will have to pass before the team of Ecochard can finally engage in background work on a city that for almost thirty years has been a model of planning rationality.
The City of Energy
The construction of the myth of the exemplary urban work carried out in Casablanca is part of two reforming companies: the creation in 1912 of a Protectorate to, inter alia, regenerate France and the legislative institution and technique of town planning in commonly accepted discipline, and on which Lyautey will rely on his design to return to France a “lost or dissipated” energy.
Conversely, during the preparation of the reconstruction of the devastated regions, the discussion and the first moments of the application of the law of 1919 on the planning and the extension of the cities, it is in the French action in Morocco and in particular Casablanca that a bunch of irrefutable examples will be gathered. For Victor Cambon, who proposes a program for the post-war period in 1916, Casablanca, which had started so badly, will be a healthy French town, well organized and comfortable. For his part, the engineer of the Roads and Bridges Edmond Joyant, active in the technical services of the Protectorate and author of the main urban planning manual used in the preparation of the plans prescribed by the law of 1919, will make since 1922 of Casablanca the one of the references usable by city planners of the metropolis. In its Treaty of urbanism (1924), Joyant exposes in detail the passage from Casablanca of the state of small Moorish town asleep to that of big modern commercial city, operation regulated by the implementation of a rigorous zoning, still unknown in the metropolis, except in Strasbourg, where Joyant praises the pre-1918 German rule.
But the evocation of Casablanca is far from ceasing with these first episodes. The city will retain its initial aura during the Colonial Exhibition of 1931 and until the end of the Protectorate, the strong institutional position of its initial planner Henri Prost undoubtedly weighing on this public destiny. Casablanca will return to the scene in the 1970s when a certain nostalgia for the pioneers of “urban art” will emerge.
HENRI PROST AND THE PLAN OF 1914
The idealized image of Casablanca is however not an illusion, even if the city is in no way a pure urban creation of the Protectorate. When it was set up, the Lyautey administration inherited an agglomeration whose growth was already strongly underway. It should be remembered that this is an incident related to the development of infrastructure in the capital of Chaouia – the construction of a railway – which will serve as a pretext for the bombing of the city, and the investment of Morocco, which Germany had been disinterested in the agreement signed Algeciras in 1911.
Despite the poor conditions of maritime access, the ease of the terrestrial links will impose the choice of the city as the commercial pole, then industrial, and thus like the place of real estate investment. The process of occupying soil in oil stains from the port, but also housing estates focused at a few points on the periphery, is initially beyond the control of the French administration. In 1913, Paul Tirard, Secretary-General of the Protectorate, future author of the Dahir of April 16, 1914, on the management of cities, invited the Conservator of Promenades of Paris, Jean-Claude-Nicolas Forestier, to go to Morocco to consider the issue of open spaces. Forestier focuses on existing cities but draws quite clearly the orientations of a new neighborhood policy. On his return, he shared his impressions with the Urban and Rural Hygiene Section of the Social Museum, which is at the forefront of action to pass a law on management plans. On the advice of the section, Henri Prost is recommended by Georges Risler Lyautey to work on the whole of Morocco while another member of the section, Donat-Alfred Agache, is ordered by the local defenders of “French interests » The first plan for Casablanca.
Prost had the opportunity to take an interest in the Roman architecture of the Orient during his stay at the Villa Medici, but, above all, had begun an early reflection on urbanism, which was to lead him to win in 1910 the contest for the development plan of the fortified enclosure of Antwerp. In addition, he had begun, with his comrade Léon Jaussely, the preparation of a book on town planning, for which he had been led to compare the planning regulations of German, French and Italian cities. Established in Morocco from 1914, Prost encounters, in the case of Casablanca, a problem very different from those posed by the other cities of the country where he applies the doctrine of the separate development of communities advocated by Lyautey. It is a city already very built and parcel without a general plan, that Prost begins to try to arrange somehow.
Three levels of reflection constitute the work of Prost, effectively engaged in March 1914. It is a question, at first, of regulating and straightening the subdivisions engaged, by the implantation of a new hierarchical and ambitious system of highways; secondly, it is a question of defining rules of land use differentiated by the use of templates and hygienic servitudes. Finally, it involves cutting out large functional areas, according to a practice inaugurated by German planners. In a multipolar city, since its development is committed both by the eastern and southern edge of the medina, by the industrial district of Roches Noires, in the north, and the villa district of Anfa, at the west, a unifying device is set up to vertebrate the growth, associating radial tangents to the medina and two rings of boulevards. The opening of these lanes will, on occasion, involve the cancellation of current subdivision projects, or even the questioning of the initial projects of the military to make the routes of their camps and infrastructures sustainable.
Although some of the shots left are treated with care, the plan of 1914 takes the status of restructuring, based on circulatory models like those of Eugène Hénard, more than that of a true urban foundation. The hierarchy of the channels is transcribed in particular in the definition of their differentiated profile, whereas a consequent frame of places and free spaces are established, based in particular on the bipole constituted by the place of commerce the place of France – for which Prost imagine at first a Canebière of Casablanca, and the administrative place where will take place among others post of Adrien Laforgue, the court-house of Joseph Marrast and the town hall of Marius Boyer, place prolonged by a large park drawn by Albert Laprade. These two homes are connected by an arcaded street which participates in a fairly extensive system of ways to which a principle of architectural orders conferring a treatment unit on the ground floor and facades will be imposed. The establishment of district by-laws, associating various morphological servitudes, will make it possible to act not only on the right of the tracks but also in the depths of the islets.
THE SHADOW OF NEW YORK
Contrary to a generally accepted cliché, the three decades following Prost’s departure are not simply a cycle of peaceful implementation of his plan. It was during this period that the city became, in a fairly controlled manner, a very varied architecture, typical as in its forms, remaining contained within the defined main lines, thereby confirming the initial orientations. Some large-scale projects emerge, such as a voluntarist affirmation of the center of an industrial and port agglomeration whose growth continues in stages. Prost’s initial projects were confronted with the impenetrable obstacle of the Sidi Belyout cemetery, located between the new shopping center and the port. At the end of the 1920s, the relocation of the tombs became the sine qua non for the realization of a project that would mobilize most of the planning energies, while the blocks defined by the plan of 1914 were gradually filled up. The new district projected between the Place de France and the sea then takes the status of a business center, which will give a city, booming port, a face consistent with its ambitions. Prost himself remarks that the panorama of Casablanca, when one arrives at the sea, is rather despairing, it is a horizontal line without any effect and, if five or six large verticals came to erect on the landscape, there is It is hoped that the appearance of Casablanca would be much more satisfactory than at present.
In search of a new image for the city, the reference to New York will not fail to prevail. As early as 1914, the impetuous development of Casablanca made her think like an American-style city, while the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris, Walter Berry, breathed a Yankee atmosphere in the early 1920s. This comparison becomes a cliché under the pen of General d’Amade, for whom before the end of the century, North African France will be the United States and Casablanca New York. For her part, Leander Vaillat almost expects a group of skyscrapers to emerge in the heart of this city of conquerors, with a violent soul.
It is true that, as early as 1920, an entrepreneur had proposed service plans of the city an American-style building, containing only business offices, this unique monument of this kind in Europe still reaching only eight floors. This early theme takes on another dimension when the creation of a denser and more complex center is discussed in the late 1920s, the hypothesis of a relaxation of the regulation of heights around the Place de France is already acquired. It is now the doubling of this one which is decided in 1928, while the municipal commission is seized in 1930 of a more ambitious project of city, whose high constructions would fill this scattered view which surprises, this lack of order, apparent imbalance, drawing an expressive decoration of the character and the will of this city, an affirmation of its power and its will. While Prost continues to send directives enough then Paris, Antoine Marchisio, Edmond Brion, and Marius Boyer draw, each on their own, architectural transpositions of this new ambition.
During the Second World War, Casablanca is, more than ever, the hub of relations between France and North Africa, at least until the allied landing of 1942, which will ensure prosperity to last until Independence. In this last golden age, the city knows an Americanization much more marked than in metropolis, and which is strongly reflected in the architecture of the house. In charge of the Protectorate in 1944, Alexandre Courtois established in 1945 the first plan proposing an extension of the device imagined by Prost thirty years earlier, on a scale of a city whose population now reaches 500,000 inhabitants. The station is moved south, road access is consolidated, and a highway is proposed around the city to the south and east, while new green spaces are connected by continuous walks. At the edge of the medina transformed and curetted, the center of European affairs, implanted in buildings with recent, would redefine a place of France enlarged and dominated by a skyscraper. Several buildings corresponding to this ambition will be made in the early 1950s by Courtois himself.
THE SAGA ECOCHARD
With the second wind brought by the prosperity and the modernization of the post-war period, Casablanca sees its architecture being transformed. The first architects trained in France, such as Jean-François Zevaco and Elie Azagury, come back, while a new generation of professionals acquired functionalist theses take control of urban planning and several major sectors of construction. Moreover, the policy of the Protectorate is bending somewhat towards a more comprehensive and more concrete consideration of the aspirations of Moroccans through more ambitious and less symbolic public actions.
The urban transformations of the years 1945 to 1955 will be made under the influence of two distinct devices: on the one hand, the planners of the Protectorate, at the head of which Michel Ecochard works from 1946 to 1953, propose a new approach of the urban structure ; on the other hand, young functionalist architects of very different origins, among whom ATBAT-Africa is the closest team, radically transforms the approach to the question of housing, but also of hospital architecture. , schools, cinemas or industrial buildings. The technical culture of public works and the building is also changing under the influence of the processes brought by the U.S. Army Engineering, giving new tools to builders.
Michel Ecochard addresses the development of Moroccan cities with the baggage of his also under the experience of the Levant, but the influence of the principles of urbanism resulting from the experience of CIAM, that other teams strive to implement at the same time, like that of Marcel Roux and André Sive in Saarland. However, it is not until 1949 that he gets the green light to begin the study of the development plan and extension of an agglomeration. For Ecochard, the gigantic, almost monstrous character of Casablanca’s industrial boom, in comparison with that of other Moroccan cities, poses the case of excessive concentration.
The draft plan was drawn up in 1951 concerns an agglomeration perimeter broadening the framework defined by Courtois, in which three different forms of the extension are proposed. To the west of “Greater Casablanca”, the European districts are destined to develop in the form of large vertical units and suburban areas; in the south, new Muslim neighborhoods must cover a substantially equal surface, according to new morphological modalities, while the east is thought within the framework of a regional policy of large industrial and infrastructural equipment, relegating the commercial and real estate first decades to oblivion.
The fundamental contribution of the Ecochard team to reinforce the productive skeleton of the city, the industrial linear city stretching from Casablanca to Fédala, a parallel principle to the Three settlements on the shore, borrows his humans from Le Corbusier, themselves strongly inspired by the problems of Russian Nikolaj Miljutin. This industrial band, divided into “satellite cities”, is studied in its detailed arrangements, from factory subdivisions to drawing railways or feeder roads. Another Corbusian establishment, the farming units remain out of the field, while the city of radio-concentric exchanges, which exists since 1912, sees above all the realization of part of the business center of Sidi Belyout, discussed since 1930, in the form of a large radial road lined with large bars of offices and hotels.
In a general way, the ordering precepts of the Athens Charter are projected on the territory of the extended agglomeration, the traffic being restructured in connection with the highway leading from Anfa to Rabat, parallel to the ocean. It is laterally to the highway that the new Muslim neighborhoods are studied and, in part, built. For the first time since 1912, an attempt is made more to carry out operations-showcases like the Habbous, but to lay the foundations of housing policy for the greatest number.
The first major operation, conducted in 1953-1954 at the Central Quarries, combines the three levels according to which Ecochard intends to structure the Muslim home: a horizontal fabric of houses with courses, on which are located three collective buildings demonstrative of ATBAT-Africa and which is prolonged by the setting up of the sanitary frame (8 MX 8 m), minimal device allowing a regulation of the most economic subdivisions, and supposed to be able to accompany their densification.
Michel Ecochard will give his work on Casablanca a strong public impact, staging his fight against the forces of routine and bureaucracy, both during his stay on the spot, by a film and, after his eviction, by a book.
While France abandons a protectorate now untenable, and against which the Moroccan population of Casablanca is particularly insurgent, the policy of the team Ecochard will continue on the ground, and its main orientations will frame or “cash the development of the city for almost two decades, which will see the “weft” fill and become denser little by little.
In all, both in the built matter of Casablanca and in the disciplinary space of French urbanism, with its oscillations between aspirations to universality and inclinations to contextually and local specificities, the experiments carried out by successive urban planners the Protectorate is a first-class contribution. Against so many great final plans remained a dead letter, they will indeed cease to be reformulated and adapted, as they were, from the outset, forced to ensure a permanent and fragile arbitration between social classes and cultures national.
Casablanca: from the apartment building to the housing unit
As in the field of urbanism, three times may be distinguished during the period from 1912 to 1960. At the time of the constitution of the center of the new city, types of canonical dwellings develop in France, but who know here new perspectives. They are buildings with projections, corner buildings, buildings-1lots similar to their Parisian models, but where also reveal phenomena of cultural hybridization in the distribution and the decor, as well as in the modalities of the opening towards the ‘outside. The interest given to the intermediate spaces between interior and exterior is obvious. From the terrace to the large balcony through the pergola, a whole vocabulary is put in place. The loggias, the patios, the laundries with claustra, the | semi-private courses, describe in a very particular way the relation to the house which then has an internalized exterior, daily practiced, sometimes shared.
The 1930s were marked by the emergence of a domestic architecture where hygiene, salubrity, and comfort are interpreted in a specific way, both in the European city and in the new medina. The white buildings, with smooth facades, show the taste of architects for a clean aesthetic that allows however to maintain a certain monumentality. In the 1950s, theoretical and ideological discourse became more radical, especially those concerning an ideal art de vivre or the relationship between housing and solving social and inter-ethnic problems. The villas showcase their Californian or Scandinavian sources when Casablanca becomes embroiled in luxury and American household appliances, while the popular buildings show the efforts pursued in the field of social housing with the conceptual tools of Ciam or Atbat created by Le Corbusier. This experimental dimension of the city will be found in many operations. To the French or international doctrines to which the architects explicitly or implicitly associate themselves are the particular climatic data and the culture of the inhabitation which will be, at the beginning of the period, particularly well studied by the entourage of Lyautey, as testify it the innumerable books on traditional Moroccan architecture written then.
REFERENCES AND ADAPTATION, 1912-1930
Proud of the construction of each building that appears as modern, proud to see their city become a city of avant-garde, Casablancais follow the race to the most modern, the most comfortable because the housing crisis is rife, but also because the idea of participating in the creation of a new city is valued by many pioneering inhabitants. All types of buildings will be represented, from tall buildings with porticoes and downtown passageways to small apartment buildings in outlying areas reserved for the middle classes.
The idea of decision-makers supported by architects is to create a particular style, adapted to avoid pastiche and not to reproduce the “mistakes” made in other North African countries, The French administration sets up a particular policy vis-à-vis the natives. They will stay in their hometown while the new neighborhoods will develop independently. We know that Marshal Lyautey wanted to respect and value local traditions.
Architects, sponsors, and inhabitants
The first architects building in Casablanca immediately after the 1914-18 war, import their doctrinal position, their know-how and the styles of the metropolis well those, already transformed, of their place of formation, Algiers, Tunis, or even Italian architecture schools. Some, like Bousquet, Boyer, Balois, Cadet and Brion, Cormier, Gourdain, Hare, the most numerous, are d.p.l. and leave the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Others like the Pertuzio brothers were born in Algeria and were trained in Tunis. The Suraqui brothers born in Oran are members of the Professional Society of French Architects. Jabin, Arrivetx, and Cottet were born and trained in Algeria; the last is a laureate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Algiers. Manasi is Curton, French, no graduate of the Milan Academy while was trained in Berlin. The theories, currents, and doctrines to which they refer, are, with a few slight variations, those which are in progress in Paris. Eclecticism and freedom are claimed and the rationalist position is associated with it. According to the date of arrival of the architects, the effects of the theoretical debates are read on the facades and in the plans of the buildings. They strive, however, to integrate the Moroccan dimensions; they observe local conditions and imported references are transformed by contact with a different urban civilization. Architects seek to take advantage of the specificities of the country’s production at the same time as they remain attentive to demand. Entrepreneurs of Italian origin (Ferrara, Selva Brothers, Biagio, Battaglia, Pappalardo) or French (Baille, Gouvernet and Lorentz), arrive, via Tunisia or more often Algeria, with an experiment of lifestyles and climate of the Maghreb countries. The know-how of the Moroccan master craftsmen and Italian masons are quickly recognized and exploited. Teams set up, mixing formations and ethnic origins.
The sponsors are, as elsewhere, institutional investors, for example, the big insurance companies, and the State represented here by the Protectorate. But private investors, in a country where land speculation and demand for housing only increase over time, play a predominant role. The rich or enriched Europeans, the big bourgeois Jews of North Africa, will join the Moroccan aristocrats and will make build on the one hand villas they will occupy and on the other hand buildings of reports, often by associated French architects to Italian entrepreneurs like Liscia, Ferrara or Selva. Housing demand is, over the entire period studied, more important than supply. In the early years of the Protectorate, the shortage is great and, from the hotel to the barracks, the solutions found to this question do not satisfy anyone. When the first buildings are built the question of their unsuitability to different population groups is raised. The influx of immigrants will make the issue of single housing crucial. Casablanca, at the beginning of its development, is indeed a city of singles, the hotels are numerous there and the first buildings, in spite of their size often imposing, shelter rather small apartments. Many buildings in the city center will be transformed into hotels. The French newly arrived after the First World War, remain cautious at the beginning and settle first in the small apartments of the city center but order quickly, for those who get rich, comfortable villas in the beautiful neighborhoods which are divided. At the same time, settlers, members of the middle class, or inhabitants of the towns of the interior arrive with their families or bring it in after having made sure of their situation. Some seek to rent large apartments while others settle in a precarious habitat, quickly called slum.
If the French represent the majority of Europeans, the characteristic of the Casablanca of the years 1920-1960 is the mixture of populations of various origins (Spanish, Italian and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Swedish, British and American, especially after the Second World War), as well as the influences between populations, the uncomplicated borrowing of different lifestyles. The French themselves, in addition to differences of regional origin, belong to two major groups: those who come from the mother country and totally ignore the lifestyles of North Africa and those who come from Algeria or Tunisia, often Jewish. The architects trained in the French schools, the entrepreneurs, the customers, belonging to this group, are very dynamic and contribute to create habits of life, tastes for certain types of habitat that they communicate to the metropolis.
Socially defined neighborhoods
At the moment when the French landed in Casablanca, the city was restricted to the medina where the Muslims live and the mellah, the Moroccan Jews.
The new city is in fact forbidden to the majority of Muslims. The medina remains the place of life of the working classes who work there or join businesses in the eastern districts. The favored social groups have like the other groups the same ideal, to live a villa in the residential districts preference for Anfa. The trading bourgeoisie begins to settle in the new city that is developing. She prefers to live in the city of large apartments close to her business, rather than villas in them with remote residential neighborhoods. But some residential neighborhoods are very close to the city center. Rural people newly arrived in the city first practice small trades and live in shantytowns before finding a more decent home. The new medina, built from 1918, and the beginnings of management of cheap housing by employers, will allow some of these newcomers, or displaced residents of the old neighborhoods of the city. city, to stay.
If the low-income Jewish population originally inhabits the mellah, populated mainly by those who come from cities ruined by the very existence of Casablanca (the port having monopolized the activities of other city-ports), the limits go by the following be less sliced for the better-off who will settle in the center but with a preference for the residential area of boulevard d’Anfa and Place de Verdun, near the mellah, places of worship, schools and the cemetery.
If in the imagery, the rich French “big colonists” dominate, the reality is much more complex. The French live in the city center or residential neighborhoods with high-value sites, but a large number of middle-class members live in low-income neighborhoods, modeled on the stereotype of the Basco-Béarnaise hybrid house or, more suburban Parisian pavilion. Leander Vaillat, a prophet of regionalism, pinpoints in this respect the petty-bourgeois taste of the colonists: In the French countryside, these tiles (red, mechanical) would indignant me. Here they symbolize, in a touching manner, the colonist’s attachment to the even mediocre aspects of France as he left it … and implacably transposes on a neutral ground the appearances of the departmental style.
Italians offer their automotive expertise, dominate as entrepreneurs or construction workers and live in the center of the city. The Spaniards are the largest foreign population after the French, and a district is developing where the less ortunate of them gather, that of Maarif.
From the island-building to the neo-Moorish houses
Adaptation to the particular conditions of a country in transformation and mixing several civilizations is seen through the establishment of specific housing programs. Court buildings on large islets that made a shy appearance in Paris before 1914, either in the context of cheap housing or in rare speculative transactions, seem to be considered models here. We observe the transformation of known types by displacement and adaptation to local conditions. This building with large courtyard is spread over several streets, still, a nascent model of Paris HBM, is revisited here to create homes, often luxurious, on very large plots. The recovery at the turn of the century corner building, a monument of domestic architecture that has the advantage of structuring the city, to organize the places, is added to form a type of building that diffuse and whose external monumentality (domes, turrets, decorated pediments, belvedere) sometimes hides the mediocrity of small apartments organized in a rather traditional way. Large block-buildings often have several marked angles
In modest buildings, rent or report, the distributive principles of the beginning of the century in France are faithfully resumed but associated with local devices, adaptation to the climate but also to a country where the domesticity is numerous and is part of the art of to live even poor settlers. The services are well separated from private parties and reception. Some of these downtown buildings have only two levels above the shops with a roof terrace with balusters, waiting for an elevation.
The question of low-cost housing and employers began to arise and achievements emerge, such as the housing that the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer has built in the station area, east of Casablanca, for its employees, hierarchical habitat that goes from the house-double, sheltering two families, to the apartment building. Worker neighborhoods are developing, far from the center, that of La Foncière is an example.
The first colonial villas, built-in residential neighborhoods. west of the city, are very similar to those of the Côte-d’Azur which are obviously a pregnant model. However, the profusion of terraces, verandas and especially the attention given to the place of each one, to the dissociation of the service and the other parts of the house – the numerous local domesticity lives in the house – also appears to the eighteenth-century mansion house with its wings and courtyards, its well-appointed reception rooms and its differentiation of male and female spaces.
The project of a new city, reserved for Muslims of modest incomes, aimed at decongesting the unsanitary medina, located near the port, and to reduce the “slums”, will be entrusted by Marshal Lyautey to Albert Laprade who, in 1917, passes this responsibility to the architect Auguste Cadet then associated with Edmond Brion. It is a native city or, more exactly, the city built by the French architects for the natives, die, of their scruples and by adding what our hygiene can add to it.
The knowledge of the traditional Moroccan houses is at the base of the plan of the houses built in this district of the Habbous, which differ from their model only by elements of comfort increasing the salubrity: entrance in chicane to protect the intimacy, rooms around a courtyard, as the customer requires, but also “all in the taste” and ceiling of reinforced cement rather than wood. Albert Laprade took as a model the poor houses of Rabat and Salé. The 257 houses were drawn one by one and the different sizes are mixed to find the variety of the original model. Intended for Moroccans arriving slums, they were quickly invested by wealthier families, often by neighborhood traders who had the means to live and maintain them.
Whether they refer to Art Nouveau, neo-Renaissance or neo-classical style in the 1910s or to Decorative Art in the following decade, architects collaborate with craftsmen, mosaics, ironworkers, furniture makers, decorators, and so on. The overloading of some facades and the purification of some others echo the debates found in the main French magazines of the time. However, knowledge and local taste are known and reorganized. It is at the level of the decoration that the phenomena of hybridization are the most obvious. Thus the meeting of Moroccan decorative art and the movement of Decorative Art will produce original decorations where ornate elements (colored earthenware or balconies made of cedarwood), friezes or well-defined panels, embellished white and bare facades.
Albert Laprade, telling about the houses of the Habbous that the German sculpted capitals or painted bouquets of flowers on the shutters, gives one of the keys to the understanding of the taste of the moderns for this architecture (the m’allemin) put the little note of art, stung from time to time in this voluntarily modest, archi-simple, supremely “cubist” set, one could say, but realized with cubes where one felt the hand of the man, life.
The decoration of the façades of the first large buildings in the center differs, at first glance, from that of the Parisian buildings of the same period than by borrowing from the zellige tradition. They replace the flamed sandstone, used by modern architects in Parisian buildings a few years ago (Jules Lavirotte, Auguste Perret, Andre Arfvidson, Paul Guadet). They satisfy those looking to decorate the facades but also to put on the concrete. The zelliges, frescoed or decorating the pediments, are used by architects who want to take advantage of a local resource and know-how and wish the fruitful encounter between the decor adapted to the concrete and an aesthetic choice. They allow local variations of art nouveau style or decorative art using, as is traditional in Moroccan craftsmanship, geometric play, and letters.
About the hotel of the military command of Casablanca built by Albert Laprade, Georges Rémon gives at the same time the definition of a style and an attitude which characterizes the architecture of the beginning of the development of the city: Laprade, while refraining from reproducing the archaeological details in abundance, has nevertheless preserved, on the whole, the lines that prevail in the countries of the sun, and discreetly transposed the data specific to the Andalusian-Moroccan style. But if the essential rhythm of the building is of local inspiration, the general formula is modern: big nudes without ornaments, large loggias, large longitudinal bays wherein the shadow projected by the projections in the canopy, can read delicate delicacy.
A material, granito, will meet a success that will not be denied at any time. One can speculate, given its appearance after the arrival of Europeans in Casablanca, and because it is a rather particular technique, that Italian entrepreneurs have proposed their know-how and have adapted here the “Terrazzo Veneziano” forming the floor of Venetian palaces for several centuries or the “batuto genovese” (or napoletano). Most of the floors of apartment entrances, ramps, window sills and the floors of apartments and villas are covered and can thus be washed out.
The goal that most architects arriving in Casablanca have set themselves seems to be to build a modern architecture that takes into account the particular climatic conditions, benefiting from the latest comfort data, demanded by the customers, and using adaptation to the country, decorative styles, and local materials.
BETWEEN DECORATIVE ART AND FUNCTIONALISM BETWEEN DECORATIVE ART AND FUNCTIONALISM THE 1930-19441930-1944
This second period sees other architects enter the Casablanca scene (Desmet, Renaudin, Balois ..) while the references of some are transformed and the Viennese building of the 30s is reinterpreted. It differs from the first two decades by the abandonment of the neo-Moorish style in favor of a clean aesthetic and moderate modernity, where, most often, work on volume takes precedence over the decor. But the most important thing is not there. These buildings, whether they are traditional investment buildings or low-rent buildings, are at the forefront of the modern design, hygiene and comfort of the times: their basements are equipped with garages reserved for tenants, most have garbage incinerators; equipped bathrooms are installed even in smaller apartments, dryers, and laundries are considered essential and it seems impossible to avoid at least one elevator, often doubled by a service lift. In the new neighborhoods where the lanes are wide, ten-story buildings begin to appear.
As in France at the same time, in bourgeois housing in the city center or in nearby residential areas, two types compete with each other: the villa and the large, very modern apartment, signed by an architect, in a neighborhood valued by its central position or for its calm and its greenery), provided with the last elements of comfort (elevator, bathroom, kitchen and office, oil central heating). The omnipresence of domesticity (while in France at the same time, it tends to disappear) implies a particular distribution structure that resembles that of the luxury home of the beginning of the century: double entry into the dwelling, a second toilet Often located in a courtyard outside the apartment or opening on a service bridge, clear separation of service areas, private and public parties.
Marius Boyer will be the architect who, having understood the part he could draw from the experiments of Henri Sauvage, but also projects not realized in Paris, will work on the adaptation of the type of the building with terraces conditions Casablancaises. First of all, there is a strong demand from sponsors who know that they are going to meet a desire of the inhabitants and uses included in the Moroccan culture. The terrace or rooftop terrace supports both the domestic and the relational life of women. In Casablanca the climate is very humid, it is cool in winter; if the sun is welcome a good part of the year, we know how to defend it in summer. Eating on the terrace, sleeping there sometimes is readily practiced. Then, the plots on which the Casablanca building is set up are much larger than the Parisian plots, the richer and always voluntary sponsors when it comes to showing their modernity.
Small apartment buildings often have them-if all these elements of comfort (garages, incinerators, elevators). On the roof terrace accessible to all, often equipped with a common laundry room, an area is reserved for drying clothes of the various tenants. This does not prevent the presence of a particular laundry room at each apartment, often claustra. The cloisters have an equivalent in the local culture: Moucharabieh which adorns the windows of the traditional houses and allows to ventilate without questioning the intimacy, to see without being seen. The corridors, very present, do not seem to be criticized here.
Until then the single apartments were the result of chance, the remains of the adjustment to the plot, or parts separated from an apartment to be rented. At this period, they become a prestigious program, the Hare bachelor and duplex studios of Marius Boyer, the most stripped modern building, built-in 1933, are seen as the avant-garde of the time.
Housing public service employees and helping the French or European working class to find housing became an emergency in a crisis situation; H.B.M appear. It seems that the standards of surface and comfort are higher than in metropolis and the programs adapted to local standards. Thus the apartment building at low rents built-in 1935 by Marcel Desmet, Boulevard de la Gare, includes ten floors with studios and a large covered terrace on the top floor. a main staircase and a service staircase. It benefits from the same services as the rental properties mentioned above. The living room and dining room form a large room with a loggia opening onto the living room. The equipped kitchen opens on both a small courtyard with a service WC and on the dining room.
Full and empty facades
The facades are stripped, a new aesthetic plays on the horizontal, the drawing of the full and empty, without overload decorative. The “beautiful, quiet nudes” evoked by pre-war critics in Paris dominate there. It is, as a critic remarks, the evolution of an architecture which after being held to the type known as “box of rents” and to the pastries Louis XVI passed by a kind of neo-Arab style … for to come to a style that draws its beauty only from the perfect adaptation to the climate and to the local mæurs. The dominant decorative dimension for the facades of the preceding period gave way to the play of volumes, to rational reflection; the décor is based on interior distribution choices: bow-windows and balconies that enlarge the rooms, terraces that allow daily activities outside, corbelled loggias, structure the building and its facade. The style liner is wreaking havoc and oculi and bridges are not counted anymore. The materials used are usually local: gray vein marl of Oued Yquem, with the red vein of Oued Akreuch for entrances to buildings and luxury housing; mosaics, zelliges, glass paste, terrazzo for floors and walls, wrought iron for doors are used for most types of homes.
SPECULATION AND SEGREGATION
In carrying out the proposed routes, the introduction of a very extensive expropriation procedure will make it possible to carry out the new roads very quickly, both through the administrative acquisition of certain parcels and by means of urban consolidation. Land reclamation technique experienced in Germany for the piercing of the arcade boulevard linking the center to the railway station. Speculation, therefore, is judged by taking into account the collective interest that gives everyone equal opportunity to profit. Prost also has to face the rapacity of certain technicians and administrators of the Protectorate, to whom he opposes a daily and fierce resistance.
But the new element introduced by Prost is, without question, the definition of a set of zones, according to the practice inaugurated in Germany, then diffused to America, and that the Section of urban and rural hygiene of the Social Museum had long discussed. Four main zones are defined: the indigenous city, whose constructions are limited to two floors, the central area of housing and commerce, the industrial zones, reserved for unhealthy, inconvenient or dangerous establishments and the pleasure areas for the villas or private dwellings. The methodological scope of Prost’s work is evidenced by his ultimately unfulfilled wish to establish a specific urban planning manual in Morocco. Looking back at the development of Casablanca, on whose destiny he will continue to consult his 1923 until the beginning of the 19
30s, Henri Prost evoked the limits of land consolidation and the way it was done, because the application of this difficulty was insurmountable when the surfaces required by the road network of the main arteries absorbed almost entirely the private domain compensations elsewhere. The fact remains that the realization of the architectural orders and the good enough.
The average quality of the buildings has given the city exceptional continuity and diversity, notably the quality of the public spaces in the center, branching out into arcades and covered passages and the marking of the streets by public buildings.
Finally, the road plan realized in Casablanca is undoubtedly one of the first to fully take into account not only the infrastructural and industrial problems, which still remain, in metropolis, to the state of fantasy when Leon Jaussely develops his extension plan for Paris in 1919, but also the requirements of an extremely early auto mobilization throughout Morocco. Carved around the size of the cars, the main arteries make it possible to quickly connect the rather distant pleasure districts, the shopping center, and the factories, while the garages take their place among the first great monuments of the city.
When Prost leaves, the main part of the city’s road structure is defined, with very distinctive entities, whether reserved for the luxury residence, such as the villa district of Anfa, whose development begins. by the upper part of the hill, or business, as the center, or conceded to the Muslim population, as the “new medina” of the district of Habbos.
In reaction against the filthy agglomerations, the infamous derbs where the army of workers mobilized by the colonization is concentrated, the hypothesis of new and well-established native districts, allowing the transfer of the workers and destroying the slums, is formulated by Prost of 1914. In the neighborhood of the palace built by the Protector for the Sultan, and of which Forestier will draw the gardens in 1916, dozens of hectares will be ceded by an Israeli landowner, Mr. Bendahan, Habbous or property ligeux. Voluntarily closed to vehicular traffic, the neighborhood includes a market, a mosque, a hammam, fondouks, arranged according to a system of streets and squares lined with arched porticoes, hemmed with pergolas with wooden lattice, as in traditional cities Moroccan. This tasty meditation on the theme of Eastern life pursued by European artists, in the words of Léandre Vaillat, is the result of a patient work of analysis and survey of ancient architectures, undertaken by Albert Laprade, the first architect of the city, which will succeed Auguste Cadet. Later, Cadet, associated with Edmond Brion, will realize in the neighborhood of the Habbous the reserved area, a closed city where, since it is impossible to suppress the debauchery, he will at least be tempted to stem it and (to) prevent it from rot in the shallows.
But these few urban fragments, carefully designed and cleverly presented to the metropolitan public, will, whatever their qualities, be far from sufficient to shelter the working-class population in continuous growth. It will find its place in an unplanned district and called Bidonville because, as Pierre Mac Orlan says, this capital of the mouse is built-in oil drums and corrugated iron.
Economic housing “adapted” to culture
Michel Ecochard’s ideas on the design of a habitat-specific to each culture meet those of modern architects, such as Candilis, Woods, Bodiansky from the Atbat-Afrique study office or Gaston Jaubert. It is a question of trauver a type of dwelling respecting the traditional habits while allowing the progressive transformation of the way of life.
For Muslims, the goal is to create different types of habitats that allow on the one hand the resettlement of slum dwellers (who then completely surround the city center), on the other hand to offer them traditional houses on the ground floor. floor with the rooms opening onto a patio, finally to offer high-rise European design with the opening to the outside or traditional design with patio openings bunk. The Atbat-Afrique team (V. Bodiansky, G. Candissis, and S. Woods, architects, H. Piot, engineer) proposes, as part of his reflections on the economic habitat, an experimental city reserved for slum dwellers who follow these principles. One of the two-storeys closed-patio buildings and another facade with protruding walkways … is for the people who have remained most attached to Muslim ethics.
Jean Hentsch and André Studer are building, for the Moroccan land group, eleven four-storeys buildings (studs and tower), with pilings supporting patios where the water block is located. The patios are supposed to preserve to the habitat its cultural dimension: Maintenance for each dwelling of the “patio” in its traditional conception, that is to say in the open sky, closed to the foreign eyes, and remaining the center of the housing, on which give all the pieces23. However these apartments, from one to four rooms, are organized and built in a very modern way since they are through, the rooms are glazed and the “wet rooms” grouped together. The buildings are built of reinforced concrete with bricks, coated with plaster and granito floors. Michel Ecochard had very rightly planned that the superimposed patios will certainly be used as living rooms what we can observe today. This good idea of the reinterpreted patio does not take into account its communication function between neighbors: in its suspended patio, today’s woman is like a bird in a cage, notes André Adam.
The housing of the Israelites living in the old unhealthy medina will be studied by Michel Ecochard. But not all of them should be relocated to cheap housing because a noticeable change has occurred: The rise in the standard of living of a certain number of these inhabitants will make them relocate to neighborhoods close to the Mellah while the inhabitants of these latter districts will seek to emigrate to areas of residence further to the west. It will choose, to relocate the poor Israelites, the district of the lighthouse of El Hank, then desolate district, empuanti by the arrival of the sewers and where the winds carrying spray make life difficult, even if only the services will be installed The Israelites, including the very poor, will refuse to live in large numbers. This “adapted” habitat is modeled on the current H.L.M. stereotype, to which patios have been added. Michel Ecochard justifies it as follows: The habits of the Israelite population in Morocco are getting closer and closer to that of the Europeans. However, some traditions have remained alive. They respond to ancestral customs and rules of life peculiar to the African climate. The building also has an open double-height patio extending the living rooms. The accommodations are on one level with exterior traffic by passageways.
“European-type” housing poses less difficult questions to solve as metropolitan models of economic housing exist and are easily adaptable to climatic conditions. Moreover, the growth of this population is slower, and all the more so as the feeling of insecurity, linked to the Moroccans’ claim for independence, is increasing. The idea applied is, by referring to theories defended by Le Corbusier, to make buildings freely oriented, on a free ground too: We managed to implement simple volumes, oriented, releasing the ground and fixing between facades the distances compatible with a total sunshine, and to provoke by a judicious distribution of the volumes, a phenomenon of microclimate.
The specification by status
If in 1955, the decision-makers announce and write that they try to mix the types of habitat and give as example the Beaulieu district where one finds strip villas and small buildings from three to five floors, in a park, With the ground a commercial concentration, it is perhaps to try to palliate a segregation by quarter quite cynical.
The districts of Casablanca are not only structured by religious belief or country of origin, they are well defined by social class and economic level: Beausé day or Beaulieu for the European middle class, Maârif for the poor Spaniards, Anfa for the Europeans and the possessing Jews, the Polo for affluent Moroccans, the new medina for the modest Muslims, the districts of the center of the city for the tradesmen and the craftsmen, all origins confused, but always excluding the Moslem Moroccan traders who arrive from the districts which are reserved for them to work in their shops in the center.
On the other hand, a division by age and status has also appeared: youth housing, for young households, are added to single housing, as well as housing for civil servants, etc.
Functionality and adaptation to lifestyles
Faced with this punctilious specification, another trend is strong, more related to a reflection internal to the discipline and which, lowering the characteristics of the different cultures of the living, puts forward the universality of the needs of the man, and hence the internationalization of architecture. The same architects will paradoxically defend the two points of view, often dissociating temporalities: they propose an adapted architecture, but which should nevertheless lead gently to the inhabitants to adopt modern lifestyles, notably by the effect of example or ‘influence. The architecture advocated is, in fact, modeled on a model, certainly ideal, but especially from the rational and functionalist stream and not centered on architecture as a fact of culture. There would be basic needs shared by all that could serve as a basis for reflection.
Between archaism and modernity of the human species, they do not choose and sometimes refer to one or the other, just as they call on the one hand to culture, to make a habitat adapted to the uses the country and on the other hand to modern civilization, to make everyone live in the same type of space: for all needs in light, space, hygiene, rest, education and work.
While in metropolitan France the direct relationship with the client is rare, the order of luxurious villas, functional and adapted to the country, by customers both rich and open to modern architecture, is common in Casablanca in the 50s. The war did not as in the impoverished metropolis the country but revived the economy, or at least enriched some social groups, those who can then access the luxury housing. The privileged areas are in the west: Anfa, Upper Anfa, and Val d’Anfa, as well as all those who surround this area, close to the sea without having the drawbacks of the spray, but also to the south, as Le Polo and Les Crêtes.
Customers who want to build a luxurious villa at the end of the 40s have in front of them, thanks to the cinema, a range of adapted models. American cinema, and the American film capital, with a climate similar to that of Casablanca, the two cities being located on the same parallel, provides in the dream the haves. Los Angeles appears to many as a place of interesting experiences for the future of their city. The Americans themselves are your presence in the city. The base of Nouaceur, installed a few kilometers away, makes it possible to equip oneself with avant-garde household appliances, to listen to the broadcasts of the American radio and to read the decorating magazines that make the bourgeois dream. On the other hand, architects are particularly interested in the luxury homes of Neutra, Bruce Goff or Schindler as the programs requested by customers where oceanfront sites are often similar. Despite their sometimes provocative formal modernity, luxury villas still use their program in mansions or apartments, equipped with all the modern comforts of Parisian buildings in the beautiful neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century, despite the modern aesthetics of the 1950s. open reception, smoking room to the lingerie, the hall to the roof terrace, nothing is missing.
Elie Azagury reinterprets the patio of the traditional Moroccan house in a villa on the hill of Anfa with an exceptional view of the city. Critics note the evolution of the local device adapted to a different way of life, that of Europeans: The patio abandons its traditional character in Morocco to participate widely in the reception rooms and opens widely on the terrace overlooking the garden and the garden. city.
Large speculative operations, as well as small buildings commissioned by private owners, continue to offer the poorly housed residents of Casablanca, very comfortable apartments. In this category, the duplexes made a remarkable entrance. The Morandi Liberty building offers the Casablancers a solution, the seventeen storey tower building, which amazes them. The newspapers of the time testify to a question widely shared: can we live with pleasure so high, having so many neighbors? The pride of living in a city with the tallest building in Africa will not remove some people’s doubts about the quality of life in a tower.
Casablanca represents a set of different currents of modern and contemporary architecture. Here good ideas have been developed, others, which have sometimes proved otherwise catastrophic, have been adopted. Some elements of architectural modernity have been successes here. Coating, for example, does not age as quickly in this climate as in Europe; terraces, loggias, roof terraces, patios, piles are welcome because, while aerating and sanitizing the house, they are part of cultural practices spread quickly among foreigners. Some of these devices have always been parts of Moroccan culture, such as the rooftop terrace and the ancestor of the cloister, Moucharabieh. The successful alliance of the traditional little cottage, sparingly decorated white cube, and a modern vision of architecture is patent. The tall buildings of the early development of the city bear witness to a moment of architectural thought; they are also indispensable elements of the urban structure. The attention paid to the comfort of their apartments makes them, even today, pleasant to live in. An object of study that is valuable for the sake of understanding. Casablanca is an extension of urban planning and architecture, both French and international, insofar as it is well established in a multipolar field and not in the only metropolitan / Protectorate dialogue. On the other hand, the urban policies put in place, the mixed architectures have created a process of interaction between the old city and new city, the architecture of progress and architecture of the tradition which deserves to be better explored. Highlighting this complex story that allows us to assess the quality of these architectural achievements can also be useful in defining and understanding an exceptional heritage, at a time when public preservation strategies are extending to the architecture of the 20th century.
FRENCH ARCHITECTS WHO BUILT MODERN MOROCCO
Societe Generale Maroc, a building designed by Edmond Gourdain
Societe Generale Maroc, a building designed by Edmond Gourdain in Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Casablanca, Morocco, showing a combination of Hispano-Moorish and French Art Deco styles.
HISTORY – When he arrived in 1912 in Morocco, the resident general Hubert Lyautey already has plans for the new Moroccan cities: they will be in the withdrawal of the medinas, said “native” cities, will be real laboratories of experimentation and will be inspired all the same from the local culture.
And who better to manage this large site than Henri Prost? Recommended by the landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, he is appointed the head of the Department of architectural and urban planning services of the jurisdiction.
Born in Saint-Denis on 25th of February in 1874 in a northern suburb of Paris, He began his studies at the Special School of Architecture and was admitted in 1893 to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the Lambert studio. After having been a logistic three times, he obtained the first Grand Prix of Architecture in 1902 on the program “A National Printing Office.” Pensioner of the Academy of France in Rome, he stays at the Villa Medici in Italy. He chooses for his fourth-year regulatory dispatch the reconstitution of Hagia Sophia of Constantinople in Turkey.
Returning to France, he won in 1910, the first prize of the international competition for the extension plan of Antwerp. In 1911, his drawings of restoration of Hagia Sophia were exhibited at the Salon of French artists who awarded him his medal of honor.
The same year, he founded, with Agache, Auburtin, Bérard, Forestier, Hénard, Hébrard, Jaussely, Parenty and Redont the French Society of Planners (SFU).
In 1913, on the recommendation of G. Risler (Urban and Rural Hygiene section of the Social Museum), he was called by Marshal Lyautey to direct the architectural services of the Protectorate in Morocco. In this capacity, he draws up the master plans of Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Meknes, Marrakech and elaborates the project for the General Residence of Rabat
A French urban planner and architect, Prost was best known for his job in Turkey and Morocco and, where he designed several large urban plans for Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, Rabat, Meknes, and Istanbul, that includes transport system as well as boulevards with plazas, buildings, squares parks, and promenades.
Prost brought a group of urban planners, architects, and landscapers who will make large Moroccan cities a real lab experiment. Together, they’ll perfect the Art Deco style, a resolutely modern architecture, using the latest materials and an oriental touch, without sinking into pastiche.
A colonial medina in Habous
In 1923 New Medina was created, the Habous quarter, to be able to build a definite separation between the Moroccan quarters and the European and offer immigrants more space in Casablanca’s traditional structures.
Prost lived for ten years in Morocco, and later the city was glorified as a triumphant tale upon applying the principles of urbanism. In 1923, he left Morocco but will continue the work begun since the metropolis.
“l’Institut d’urbanisme” and the Special School of Architecture “l’Ecole spéciale d’architecture” with a course entitled “Art and technique of the construction of cities”.
In 1928, Prost was charged with establishing the master plan of the Paris region, which the law of May 14, 1932, made compulsory. The plan it presents in May 1934 shows agglomeration perimeters around cities, to limit the anarchic development of the individual habitat and limit the consequences in terms of degradation of sites and landscapes. The plan also puts in place a structure of rapid communication routes.
In 1932, Prost animated, with its founder Jean Royer, the first issue of the journal Urbanisme.
In 1933, he is responsible, with the engineer Marcel Rotival, to establish the development plan of the Algiers region.
Henri Prost was elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1933 and president of the Central Society of Architects in 1936.
Between 1936 and 1951, as part of the reforms initiated by Mustafa Kemal former president of Turkey to modernize Turkey, Prost was appointed urban planner of Istanbul and charged to establish the master plan. The aim is to adapt the ancient city, with its three sectors of the Golden Horn, Beyoglu and the Asian coast, to the conditions of modern life. It establishes recreation parks, protected areas around historical monuments, clears mosques for scenic effects, and advocates safeguarding habitat and traditional activities.
He passed away in Paris on July 16, 1959.
A building in Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Casablanca, Morocco built by Pierre Bousquet in 1918 showing a combination of Hispano-Moorish and French Art Deco styles
In 1947, Michel Ecochard succeeded Henri Prost and continued this project, which will give birth to modern Moroccan cities as we know them today.
Also an archeologist, Michel Ecochard studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1925 to 1931. He worked in Syria and Lebanon from 1931 to 1944. He was appointed Director of the Urban Planning Department of Morocco in 1946, a position he held until in 1953. It carries out the plan of development and extension of Casablanca, 1949-1952, as well as those of most other cities of Morocco.
In this role, Michel became the lead in big expansion programs, usually in Casablanca. Initially, Ecochard together with his team of planners and architects from France examined cityscape and the informal lodging in Morocco which is severely laid out on the territory. From there, they try to look for fast resolutions for the lodging scarcity in a nation were countryside areas were being left in favor of the major industrialized cities. In this setting, Ecochard created a decisive urban planning survey tool to be able to review the foregoing conditions and the cultural, social, and commercial setting.
Fez, Marrakech, Meknes or Casablanca were mainly built by French architects whose mission was to imagine the Moroccan city of today.
Marius Boyer, the master of art deco
Among the instigators of this architectural revolution is Marius Boyer. In Casablanca, the very austere Vox cinema and the discreet and yet meticulously decorated Hotel Volubilis, it is him. When talking about the colonial architecture of the white city, the name of Marius Boyer is inevitable. It is one of the architects who have most marked the modern city of Casablanca with his stroke of a pencil.
Marius Boyer graduate from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1904 and was one of the precursors of the art deco style. He landed in Casablanca around 1919 and joined forces with the architect Jean Balois from 1925 to 1929.
It did not prevent the architect from diversifying the composition of facades, to juggle between buildings overloaded with ornamentation and purely functionalist buildings. Some of his notable works: Hotel Volubilis (1920), Town Hall (1927-1936) now Wilaya, Hotel Anfa (1938, destroyed), Glaoui building (1922), Atlas Hotel (1922-1923), Building of the Comptoir des Mines (1923), Commercial Bank of Morocco (1930), Building Asayag or Assayag (1930-1932), Military Circle, Cinema Vox (1935, destroyed) at the time the largest cinema in Africa, Villa El Mokri
Jean Balois, the functionalist architect
Although he has long been in the shadow of his partner Marius Boyer, Jean Balois has nevertheless shone on the Moroccan architectural scene. Arrived in Morocco in 1919, this architect graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, initially practiced in the architectural services of the General Residence before opening his office architect in Rabat. He then collaborates with Boyer with whom he installs an office in Casablanca. His most outstanding works? The Jules Ferry school group and the Glaoui building in Casablanca, as well as a building on the corner of Mohammed V Avenue and Alexandria Street in the new city of Rabat.
Edmond Brion studied at the Paris School of Fine Arts in the Paulin studio and in 1911, he went to École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He built the Tasso building in 1931 and that of the Commercial Grain Corporation.
Its two major buildings are the Bendahan courtyard building in 1935, which borders the 16-November Square then called “Place Edmond-Doutté” and the Bank al-Maghrib. After 1935, the date of his separation from Cadet, Brion moved away from the neo-Moroccan and art-deco styles characterizing their common achievements. It asserts itself in a modern, luminous and stripped writing, of which the Bendahan building is an exemplary illustration. Built on a trapezoidal plot, the building offers, on a ground floor reserved for businesses, four levels of housing, including three with apartments of three to four rooms.
It also realizes the building of the Moroccan Company of distribution of water, gas, and electricity (1919-1920), that of Grand Bon Marché, Boulevard of the Station, and the building Baille in Bouskoura street, place Edmond-Doutté (1930). He is the author of the trade passage SUMICA and the building of Grand Socco Boulevard de la Gare (1929).
Arrived in Casablanca at the end of the First World War, Auguste joined Edmond Brion until the mid-30s, plays a decisive role in the realization of the new Medina Habous district, based on an initial project of Albert Laprade.
Some of his important works include Habous Quarter, Semi-Detached Villa in rue Rouget de Lisle, Villa Capt, Moulay Youssef Mosque, 1925 Ministry of Health “Ministère de la Santé” (Central Pharmacy) in rue des Ouled Ziane, Michaut building, streets of the Post Office, Poincaré and Clemenceau, Villa Gras in rue Voltaire, Alexandre Bouvier building and the Moroccan Metallurgical Society “la Société marocain métallurgique”, Building and passage of the Grand Socco, Villa Goulven in rue de Nieuwpoort, Villa Theil in rue Defly-Dieude
His masterpiece, specially Mahkama Pasha of Casablanca, bordering this new medina where the highlight of his career takes place.
Auguste and Edmond created what represents today one of the most atypical neighborhoods of the economic capital. Associated until the mid-30s, they planned the district Habous. A community mixing residences and businesses bringing its soul in the Moorish identity, but which conceals in its details a spirit of modernity. Together, they also design estate banks in Morocco, including Marrakech, Jamaâ El-Fna, El Jadida, and Oujda.
In 1956, he passed away in Casablanca.
Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, the defender of plant heritage
Forestier will make Marrakech and Rabat garden cities. In the 1920s, this French landscape architect is responsible for thinking the very spirit of the Moroccan capital. He then implements a series of parks following a “special plan of free spaces.” An action he undertakes to preserve and enhance the plant heritage of Rabat. In Marrakech, the network of parks is already existing, but the landscape architect is busy integrating it into the planning of new European neighborhoods.
Henri Tastemain, the architect of the reconstruction of Agadir
Tastemain is one of the last arrivals, and certainly one of the youngest French architects who arrived in Morocco towards the end of the jurisdiction. Graduated in 1950 from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he came with his wife in Morocco to found his firm. It is to him that we entrust the construction of the leading Moroccan faculties. Thus, he draws the buildings currently hosting the faculties of the science of Fez, Marrakech, Rabat, and Casablanca. Tastemain is also known to have been one of the architects of the reconstruction of Agadir, following the earthquake that struck the seaside town in 1960.
Henri Tastemain was born in Paris in 1922 and died in Paris on March 6th, 2012.
He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1940 in workshops Perret and Lods and graduated in 1950 (Guadet price). He collaborated with Paul Nelson in 1947. He worked as an urban planner in Morocco under the direction of Michel Ecochard and Jean Chemineau in 1948 and 1949. He moved to Rabat, in association with his wife Eliane Castelnau, in 1951. In 1959 and 1960, he is consulting architect of the French Cultural and Academic Mission in Morocco. In 1967, he received the 3rd prize at the Pessac monetary institution. Henri Tastemain teaches at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1969. In 1970, he is the chief architect of the ZAC of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen. In 1971, the company Matra named him architect consultant. In the years 1975-1980, he built several faculties of science in Morocco.
Pierre Jabin, the intellectual architect
Born in Blida, Algeria in 1894, Jabin moved to Morocco after the end of the First World War. First in Casablanca, where he opens his offices, then in Agadir, where he retires. It is to Pierre Jabin that we owe the art deco cinema Rialto, one of the first places dedicated to the seventh art that was born in Casablanca, in 1930. The French architect “used the pencil and the feather with the same ease,” as the quarterly magazine Notre Maroc wrote in 1950. Jabin took the opportunity to contribute to several national media to expose his vision of architecture, city, and urbanism.
In 1919 when the war was over, he settled in Morocco. He was active in Casablanca and was associated with François Pénicaud.
He is the author in Casablanca, among others, of the Villa Cohen (1931), the Moretti-Milone building (1934-1935), the Rialto cinema (1929), the brasserie Le Petit Poucet (1929) and the Liscia building and Lux cinema (1937).
Pierre Jabin died in Nantes in 1967.
Adrien Laforgue, the architect of the State
Born in 1871, Adrien Laforgue practiced in Rabat from 1912 until his death in 1952. In Casablanca, he is the author of the Central Post Office (La Poste) which was built at the same time as the current French consulate and took as a model, the Grand’Poste of Algiers, made a few years ago. He is also the man behind the Office Cherifien des Phosphates and the Rabat city station, which The opposite of the place still occupied by military encampments at the time. He died in 1952.
Albert Greslin, the architect with luxury tastes
Casablanca said thank you for having designed its municipal slaughterhouses, become one of the typical places of the underground culture of the economic capital. Greslin, who arrived in Morocco two years before the First World War, was passionate about big-budget projects, where he could create luxurious places where comfort is required. One remembers, in particular, the building of the Imcama, which cost not less than 8 million francs at the time of its construction in Casablanca. He is also responsible for several renowned villas on the outskirts of Casablanca and the church of Maarif, in the same city.
Edouard Delaporte, the concrete lover
Born in Paris in 1909, Delaporte began painting in 1929 when he was 20 years old. He went to school at the Paris’ Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and came to be an architect in 1937, recognized by the government. He was called to serve in World War II in 1939. When the war was over, Delaporte left France in 1946, and transferred to Rabat, Morocco. For a decade he built several villas, government buildings, and private homes. Upon Morocco’s independence in 1956, he returned to France and settled in Antibes. He transferred to a small town in the interior of Nice in Saint-Jeannet, in 1978 where he devoted himself to painting. He died at his home, Place sur le Four on 6th of July 1983.
It is to him that we owe Villa Delaporte to Casablanca, bearing his name. Nowadays an art gallery, this building is distinguished by the clarity of its spaces, its resolutely modern design, drawing its ornamentation in the Moroccan culture. The architect and painter Edouard Delaporte, who arrived in Rabat after the Second World War, also built several emblematic buildings in the city of Rabat using concrete as a material of choice. Among them, we remember including the gymnasium of the Foch stadium or the Ben Kemoun building in Rabat.
Delaporte arrived in 1913 in Casablanca. He signed with the Perret brothers Paris-Maroc stores which was inaugurated in 1914 became the Moroccan Galleries, demolished in the 1970s.
He is also the author of the Excelsior hotel, the Maret building and the small villas of the rue du Parc.
The Excelsior, decorated with a whitewashed colonial frontage and Spanish tile, was designed by Hippolyte-Joseph Delaporte, a French architect in 1916.
Albert Laprade (29 November 1883 – 9 May 1978) was a French architect, perhaps best known for the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris. Attached to the general residence of France in Rabat Morocco, where he is the deputy of Henri Prost, the urban planner of Lyautey. He participates in the construction of the indigenous city of Casablanca and has conducted extensive field studies of Moroccan urban architecture before he set out to design the neighborhood in 1917
Albert Laprade is the architect of the General Residence of Rabat and the lighthouse of El Hank also called Phare d’el Hank, as well as the French consulate in Casablanca built-in 1922.
In 1928, called the new architectural style that was developing in Morocco as a “synthesis of the Latin spirit and love for autochthonous art”. He saw the vision as combining “values of ambiance” with a “whole way of life”. Albert knows that architecture was alive, and “should express a sentiment.”
Born on March 7, 1914, Leonard Morandi is a Swiss architect and putative descent a great-grandson of Napoleon III. He arrived in Lyon in 1933 to learn about architecture, studied at the National School of Fine Arts of Lyon in 1936, where he continued his schooling under the leadership of Tony Garnier, Grand Prix of Rome in 1899, then with Pierre Bourdeix, his successor.
In later part of 1946, Léonard made a prospective trip to Morocco, as suggested by his father-in-law Henri Lumière, and started constructing condominiums. He settled permanently in Casablanca in 1947 and later was asked to work on a large building of houses and offices on behalf of three entrepreneurs from Lyon, Grenoble, and Marseille, the 17-story Liberty Building, the first skyscraper in North Africa.
Some of Leonard’s works include the 1950 Pélissard Offices in El Bakri Street, Villa du Dr. Blanc, the 1949 Villa Dar Lugda in Anfa Supérieur, the 1952 Villa Fleureau in avenue de Boulogne, and the 1954 Chapel in city Ohana in Bd Moulay Youssef.
Léonard Morandi built many luxurious buildings and villas in Morocco until 1956.
Born on 19th of February 1881 in Marseille, Paul Tournon was a French architect who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902. He heads several national palaces and French civil buildings and a part of the Academie des Beaux-Arts.
He is recognized for his reinforced concrete religious’ buildings like the Church of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Élisabethville (Yvelines). Tournon was famous for designing 15 religious buildings in reinforced concrete, including the Church of the Holy Spirit in Paris.
He built three churches in Morocco, that of the Sacred Heart in Casablanca (Cathédrale du Sacré-Cœur )- whose Marshal Lyautey wanted to make the cathedral of Morocco, St. Joseph of the Ocean in Rabat, and the small sanctuary of Ifrane, summer resort settlers from Morocco.
He died in Paris on 22nd of December 1964.
A Casablanca-born French architect in 1916, often referred to as the Moroccan Oscar Niemeyer. He studied at the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and graduated the year 1945 before starting a private practice in Morocco.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture was given as recognition to Jean-François Zevaco during the 1978-1980 cycle for the 1965 Courtyard Houses he built in Agadir. He devoted his career to establishing the very principle of modernity in Moroccan architecture. He’s the architect who designed several buildings that are now part of the daily lives of Moroccans. Witness the busy Zevaco villa, initially designed for the family Suissa, which bears his name, which for several years has been home to the bakeshop Chez Paul, specializing in catering.
In 1947, the architect Zevaco produced stunning villa on a corner lot in Casablanca’s affluent Anfa district. Nicknamed Villa Butterfly (Villa Papillon) due to its cantilevered balcony and canopy, this three-bedroom house displays an exciting mix of the Parisian bourgeois arrangement of domestic programs and innovative formal vocabulary reminiscent of Brazilian lyric Modernism.
Concrete was certainly Zevaco’s favorite material. New material at the time that he exploited all the sauces conferring an austere, imposing and strict to his buildings, but paradoxically organic. For example, the current Crédit Agricole facing the Rabat station, where fluid shapes soften the brutalism of the varnished concrete in architectural details such as Moucharabieh incorporated into the main facade. It is a building that has aged but remains timeless.
Jean-François Zevaco died in indifference in 2003, in his villa Casablanca, following a long illness. He did not have much in his last days and even managed to sell his furniture to survive.
Wolfgang Ewerth is an architect of German origin who practices in Casablanca from 1954 to 1975 where he realizes villas, including the famous villa of Doctor B. in the form of slab which has become a landmark for Casablancais who call it familiarly the “Camembert”, as well as that of Serge Varsano, the California aesthetic.
Originally from Pau (Pyrénées Atlantiques), Lendrat was initially a grocer at a shop in the Provost (Mohamed el Hansali) street in the old medina. Having bought the wreck of a boat stranded on the beach of Ain Diab, it gets rich, which leads him to buy the land of Roches-Noires, having learned of a military construction project there.
The project once abandoned, he seeks to sell his land in lots, to no avail. He then decided to build a new district, launched a brickyard to build houses and sells the sand from the beach to the company Schneider for the construction of the port. He will also embark on journalism before ending his days ruined in the 1930s
Pierre Bousquet is an urban planner, graduated from l’École d’urbanisme de Paris. He is present in Casablanca since 1914 and he practices there until 1952. Also the architect of many important buildings such as the Lyautey Lycée, the Civil Hospital, the Institute Pasteur, the Post Office, the Bourse, and the Martinet building. He built the Casablanca’s Central Market in 1917.
CASABLANCA’S CLIMATE AND ARCHITECTURE
The architecture under the Protectorate is often presented as an experimental laboratory where the builders from France have tested various and varied architectural solutions, to export them to the metropolis.
But this architecture is also part of a very particular environment, Morocco, a country with both Mediterranean and Atlantic climate, with a dry and hot season that precedes a cold and wet season.
In what way does the climate mark this architecture of its imprint and influence the solutions adopted by architects to shape their buildings?
We will first see that the architecture of the Protectorate is the heir to a long tradition of adaptation of buildings to climate, adaptation which, in a second time, results in particular arrangements of which it is possible to establish a short typology. But these climatic elements are also an unsuspected resource for architects and their works.
A “climate” architecture of ancient tradition
French architects are inspired, in their constructions, by solutions already experienced in traditional Moroccan architecture.
Indeed, in this one, the blind walls of the houses of the medina, their orientation and their building materials, the alleys that wind between them, the patios – called in Arabic “wast-ed-dar” – sometimes surrounded by colonnades, tiled and trimmed with green plants, the cloisters over the doors or at the top of the walls to circulate the air, the brise-soleil … are all visible signs that show the “climate” concerns of the architects of the historic city in the Middle Ages.
Historic buildings in Habous, Casablanca
But this architecture has been extensively studied by French architects landing in North Africa in the early 20th century, curious to learn more about local buildings: including Albert Laprade who carefully draw the details of the vernacular architecture of the medina, sketch that we find reproduced in The Arab House of Jean Gallotti. There is no doubt that the French architects knew how to retain these lessons and draw an interesting part of these construction processes, even if the European cities, “new cities”, contiguous to the medinas do not have much more to do with them and perhaps do not have the ecological dimension, terribly current today.
But we can go further still: the patio, the colonnades, this mixture between outside and inside refer to the Roman architecture, which developed on several Moroccan sites (Volubilis, Lixus, Banasa) in the first centuries of our era. Here again, we find this intimate entanglement of the interior and exterior, in this case of well-known sections of the Roman villa: the atrium, whose cover is pierced by an opening – “impluvium” – which lets the rainwater flow in a “compluvium”, a basin located in the center of the room. ; the peristyle, colonnade surrounding a garden (and sometimes a “piscina”) at the back of the villa, outdoor dining room or “summer triclinium.” It is true that Italy is a country where the temperatures can be quite lenient as well.
It is quite likely that the medieval architecture of the Moroccan medinas is partly to blame for this older antique architecture.
It is, therefore, to adapt to this climate that the French architects integrate into their buildings many developments quite impressive in a country where heat can be significant.
ELEMENTS OF COLONIAL BUILDINGS
When we walk to Casablanca (and other urban centers in Morocco) and wander through the streets of the new city by looking up, we can easily spot some of these developments, such as:
- The Belvedere – It could be defined as a 360 ° balcony, since, as its name indicates, its vocation is to allow those who stand in this small building or pavilion to enjoy a beautiful view of what surrounds them. It can take the form of a kiosk perched at the top or corner of a building.
- The terrace – The terrace is probably an extra space for the inhabitants of a building, where they can dry clothes of course, but also take the cool at dusk after a hot day. The buildings in terraces of Marius Germinal Boyer allow to clear such spaces and associate them (as on the Assayag building in Casablanca) to “bachelor.”
- The pergola – The pergola, made of horizontal beams, shaped like a roof, supported by columns, is a raised light structure that allows obtaining shade, that we grow around a climbing plant or that we put down over a wicker cane. The profile of this small building is quite recognizable, even from a distance.
- The hanging garden – The luxury brought to individual prestigious buildings of the time led the architects to build gardens suspended at the top of their buildings, for example, that of the building “Liberté”on the last floor, sheltered by a pergola.
- the balcony – The balcony allows you to enjoy the outdoors from your apartment, which is an extension projected outward: we find a substantial quantity and all forms in the new cities.
- The spinning balcony – The balcony can also be spinning: it runs horizontally all along the facade, often on the penultimate floor as on the Haussmanian buildings. It sometimes fits into a larger ensemble, such as a corbelled bow window.
- The loggia – The loggia, a word of Italian origin, is a variation on the theme of the balcony. In the loggia too, one is both a little inside and a small outside at a time. It corresponds to a recess in front of the building, protected by a parapet, sheltered from the sun and rain at the same time. It is sometimes embellished with columns. The loggia and the balcony often alternate on the facades, in a skillful filling game to which the architects devoted themselves.
- The gallery – The gallery is a variety of loggia which, like the spinning balcony, develops on the whole of a floor.
- The veranda – Extension of the building, the veranda plays on the ground floor a role similar to that of the balcony or loggia, protected and mixed space, combining versatile indoor and outdoor.
- The sunshade – The purpose of the sunshade is to limit the inconveniences associated with violent exposure to light rays falling on a bay or opening: smaller than an awning, it overcomes windows or cornices.
- The canopy – Like the sunshade for the window, the awning comes off the wall over a door to bring shade.
- The porch – The porch is still an intermediate space, outside but sheltered, between the building and the outside. Often with a small roof, it is supported by columns or pillars and is sometimes extended by a flight of steps.
- The portico – The porticoes or covered buildings that seem to support buildings at their base create a path for pedestrians and walkers away from heat, sun or rain.
- The external staircase – It often looks like a helix attached to a corner of the building.
- The cloister – The trellis is a perforated wall, often embedded in a bay, allowing either the circulation of air in the upper parts of the walls or to see without being seen when it plays the role of the window. Of course, the ajourance gives rise to a particular design, more or less vegetal or geometric, whose interest is also aesthetic.
Of course, all these elements can be combined: balcony or loggia?
These are the most visible elements, often on the front. But architects have worked for this purpose (adapting to the climate) also in the structure of buildings. So Marius Boyer also landscapes of cold air columns in its premises to cool parts. It does not leave courses closed inside, conducive to the installation of cold and humidity, but opens and directs these buildings to collect the best and hottest rays of the day conveniently.
However, this “climate” dimension, useful as it may be, does not have only one purpose: the contemporaries of these architectures had the fine game of putting forward another advantage obtained by the presence of these elements.
“Climate” elements at the service of the decorative
Sometimes, architects like to arrange scholarly and rhythmic balconies and loggias on the same facade. This is because they immediately identified all the aesthetic and decorative elements that they could draw from this constraint that pushes them to find solutions to the need for the freshness of the inhabitants.
So these climate elements are often the support of decoration, like the zelliges or the bas-reliefs, the balconies in wrought iron too, in any case until the years 1930, at the moment where the facades “purify” and stripped of their ornaments.
But later, on these same “functionalist” surfaces, the layout of the various components – windows, balconies, loggias … – becomes an aesthetic issue that is echoed in the literature of the time: Jean-Michel Cohen and Monique Eleb quote Henri Descamps, in French architecture in Morocco, introduction: “Moroccan creation” , pp. 911-912: “In the European house, the climate is manifested by a profusion of porches, canopies, balconies, and terraces, through the creation of porticoes along the shopping streets. This succession of arcades manages to give a certain cachet to Casablanca which, without it, would have a rather banal aspect of a big modern city. ”
It seems that adaptation to the Moroccan climate has been a real concern of French architects who worked in this part of the world and at that time.
When we walk in Moroccan cities, we also quickly realize that contemporary Moroccan architecture is a significant part of the architecture that preceded it: very often indeed, the facades of current or recent buildings digging loggias or rounding balconies.
If it is true that knowing an architecture can identify it quickly and correctly in the varied architectural landscape of a city and appreciate it better, this article may contribute to the recognition of this shared heritage that constitutes the colonial architecture of the Protectorate, and therefore its protection and conservation.
CASABLANCA: AN EXPERIMENTAL LABORATORY OF THE 2OTH CENTURY ARCHITECTURE
From 1920, in the very heart of the roaring twenties, the beginnings of art deco, pioneers and settlers will encourage Casablanca to become the locomotive and symbol of a future Morocco: modern, dynamic and open.
Thus, Casablanca, laboratory of urban planning and innovations where, decorative pluralism, latest trends, and use of new technologies, such as in 1917 that of reinforced concrete, will be tested and all these currents, will make the city what it represents today.
We find all styles: Arab-Andalusian revisited to the French, art nouveau, neo-classicism, art deco, neo-Moorish, functionalism, cubism, hygiene, building redans, and brutalism.
Curved lines, symbols of art nouveau, geometric shapes and art deco features, decorations and ornaments of cherubs, fruit baskets or lion heads, all elements and mixtures that, with harmony, with friezes of zellige, stucco and carvings of cedarwood, form in particular the interests of the numerous administrative buildings of the city center, or as also the Hotel Excelsior, give a particular tourist attraction, very representative of these times with the surprising visible creativities at Casablanca.
Casablanca, which was also the capital of modern architecture under the influence of the building “Levy Bendayon” of 1928 of the architect “Marius Boyer”, the building “Moretti-Milone” of 1934 by “Pierre Jabin” before give way to the ultra-modern style of villas with Californian accents and the first African skyscraper “freedom building” of “Leonard Morandi” 78 meters high, designed in the 1950s.
- Arab-Andalusian style– is noted for its decorative elements. This includes wrought iron gratings, Azulejo (painted ceramic) tiles, and lavish landscaping.
Examples of Arab-Andalusian buildings in Casablanca – Palace of Justice and the fountain visible on the Mohamed V square.
- Art Nouveau style: is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts. It was most popular between 1890 and 1910. A reaction to the academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers.
Examples of Art Nouveau buildings in Casablanca – the remains of the facade of the Lincoln hotel of 1917, part of which collapsed in 2009, the post office building of Avenue Mohamed V built-in 1918 by Adrien Laforgue, the first building of this district, Bank Al-Maghrib of Casablanca
- Art Deco style: called style moderne, movement in the decorative arts and architecture that originated in the 1920s and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s at the end of the world war. The distinguishing features of the style are simple, clean shapes, often with a “streamlined” look.
Examples of Art Deco buildings in Casablanca – The villa of arts, the old church of the Sacred Heart, The district itself which was at the time of the French protectorate the European district of the city with the administrative square, the Arab League Park, the wide boulevards
- Neo-Moorish style: also called Moorish Revival is one of the exotic revival architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Romanticist fascination with all things oriental. With the 1930s, the time is stripping, comfort and modernity are the keywords or architectural creation thus sweeping the neo-Moorish style and ornamental profusion. The new generation of architects who landed in Casablanca at the end of the 1920s had only one obsession: to put into practice the modern theories learned on the benches of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. From then on, the work on the volumes replaces the one on the decorations which give way to the balconies, to the bow-window saving space; the facades of the buildings, which are constantly gaining height, are bare. Luxury buildings, or those of current production, take into account the concern for comfort that animates the Casablanca bourgeoisie and all are equipped with elevators, garbage incinerators, garages, and bathroom apartments. Real works of art, luxury buildings in the city center will be named after their sponsor, thus making reference to monuments in this “new city”. But it is in the villas that the architects leave all their ingenuity where they experience the latest discoveries in terms of housing and comfort. Highly impressed by the profusion of constructions, international critics will all agree to describe Casablanca as the capital of modern architecture. Examples of Neo-Moorish buildings in Casablanca – the Bessoneau building of 1930 before its destruction in 2011, the building erected in 1925 the “Piot-templier” a work of Pierre Ancelle.
- Functionalist style– the modern Cubist movement recognized through constructivism in the USSR, then Bauhaus in Germany has been represented in Casablanca beginning the 1920s. The bare facades of these buildings will shape the modern impression of the city.
Cubist architecture thrived primarily in the 1910-1914 years, however, the buildings in the cubist style, or at least influenced by it, were constructed too after World War I. When the war was over, an architectural style called “rondo cubism” flourished in Prague. It was a blend of round shapes and cubist architecture.
SHOULD CASABLANCA’S COLONIAL HERITAGE BE PRESERVED?
The biggest city of Morocco, Casablanca is far from the remainder of the nation’s real urban areas that were established between the 17th – 15th C. The history of Casablanca is just as of late.
The city was among the five new arranged urban areas in the country after the foundation of the French dominion in 1912. The political choice went for the production of present-day urban centers in the nearby walled medieval urban communities of Morocco. A French urban planner and architect, Henri Prost, was named as the leader of another office accountable for the improvement of the new urban communities. In 1915, Prost displayed the principal improvement strategy for Casablanca. The architect’s work turned into a reference for planning the city’s development in France after World War I.
Casablanca turned into a center point for famous European architects. The city became free to have experimented without any confinements or stylish limitations. The city has the greatest fixation to date of compared Art Nouveau, Neo-Classic, Neo-Moorish, Art Deco, and present-day structures, and is viewed as a live reference in design history.
The specific history of Casablanca makes a debatable discussion if its colonial buildings and urban condition ought to be saved as a component of Moroccan legacy. The discussion was begun by a little gathering of Casablanca occupants, who in 1995 made an affiliation known as Casamémoire to support, protect and classify the downtown area’s structures on the national rundown of historical structures and spots. The classification shall shield these structures from theorist ravenousness in a metropolis where lands intended for development is rare.
But then, national authorities don’t think about the conservation of colonial buildings as a primary concern. Until this point in time, just 49 structures are recorded and numerous others are essentially destroyed for safety reasons (because of their faulty construction) or to pave an area of new improvements. The tale of the Lincoln Hotel, a deserted 1916 Neo-Moorish structure, is descriptive of this encompassing carelessness.
In the midst of this circumstance, Casamémoire composes educational tours, happenings, and indications where local people of Casablanca gather to explore their city. “Les journées du Patrimoine” (legacy days), a 3-day occasion of free guided visits, is presently a yearly custom. The affiliation has likewise distributed a guide highlighting Casablanca’s diverse design styles and historic layers.
An ever-increasing number of individuals from Casablanca are getting to be mindful of the nature of their structural setting; however, progressively political commitment is required. Another improvement plan that moved Casablanca’ prime central avenue toward a pedestrian-friendly one and presented a platform for streetcars has given structures on this road an upgraded look, the same number of proprietors got involved with a façade reclamation program recommended by the latest strategy. Aficionados for architectural buildings are in any case, hanging tight for progressively auxiliary choices and activities that will concede a superior future to these structures.
Morocco: Casablanca, a remarkable architectural heritage but threatened
famous café and hotel “Excelsior” in Casablanca, Art Nouveau houses, colonial buildings, and Art Deco buildings, the architectural heritage of old Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, makes it a museum in the open, but it is threatened by negligence and real estate speculation.
On Boulevard Mohamed V, one of the oldest of “Casa”, the construction site of the future tramway, which will unclog the first metropolis of the Maghreb, does not prevent art lovers from admiring the architectural diversity of dozens of buildings dating, for the most part, from the beginning of the 20th century.
“One of the peculiarities of Casablanca is that it was, throughout the first half of the twentieth century, an architectural and urban laboratory, “said heritage defender of this mythical city.
“We can find buildings of the Art Nouveau style, buildings like the building, Maroc-Soir, behind us, made by the French architect Marius Boyer and which is of neo-Moorish style”.
Building for settlers in the 20s and 30s, then the local bourgeoisie, the international architects, mostly French, were inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau currents in vogue in Europe, adding traditional Moroccan ornaments, zelliges, stucco or cedar wood carvings, creating an original style.
“The peculiarity of this medina is that it was inhabited by Muslims and Christians, besides the Jews, of course, among the Christians, there were Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese, French … and also fishermen, artisans, masons, traders, “he explains.
Casablanca is called Dar el Baida (“White City”) by the Arabs, according to the name given to it by the Spaniards at the time of its construction at the beginning of the XIX century, on an older site.
But the architectural heritage of Casablanca is today threatened by destruction, abandonment and real estate speculation.
The apartments are often occupied by tenants who pay “derisory rents”, which range from 500 to 2,000 dirhams per month (45 to 180 euros), according to a member of Casamemoire. Neither the owners nor the tenants maintain the buildings that are degrading. You have to pay up to 50,000 euros to get the tenants away.
Preserving urban landscapes
The absence of a heritage preservation policy allows real estate developers and speculators to destroy old buildings and replace them with new, higher and more profitable buildings, or to add floors to old buildings at the expense of unity. architectural.
“Rebooting is done to the detriment of the heritage and the city,” said a member of Casamemoire, whose association wants Casablanca to be classified in UNESCO’s heritage “as soon as possible” to end the excesses, a task which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture.
But register with UNESCO “a recent heritage as is Casablanca, which dates back to the 20s, is more complicated than if it were an old city.”
“Moreover, as it is the economic capital, the Moroccan authorities may not want to adopt measures that could curb the economic dynamism and real estate activity” of the city, says the French architect.
One of the symbols of the threat to heritage is the Lincoln Hotel, an architectural jewel designed in 1916 by the French architect Hubert Bride a few meters from the central market.
Crumbling historic Lincoln Hotel in downtown Casablanca
The Arabesque Art Deco building was used by American spies during World War II.
Closed in 1989, the hotel fell into ruin twenty years later, arousing great excitement among the locals. According to news, the Lincoln, a 1917 Moorish-Deco attraction that had for quite some time been vacant and disintegrating, is being revamped as a five-star property.
“Casamémoire has identified some 4,000 old buildings to protect,” says a member of architect order in Casablanca, the young and energetic vice-president of this association.
“But for us, the problem is not so much to protect each building as to preserve a cityscape: there is no Eiffel Tower in Morocco, there are urban landscapes whose architectural harmony must be protected”, he nuance.
“We must act quickly, we warn against the dangers of speculation, there are buildings that are in a state of disrepair very advanced,” said another famous architect of Casablanca, recognizing however that local authorities are more in addition sensitive to this question.
“There are different seminars, different heritage roundtables, people from the urban agency, from the town hall attend (…) Now we ask for action, and we see very few, we do not see not enough yet, “he concludes.
CASABLANCA’S MUST-SEE ARCHITECTURAL SPOTS
A visitor can still get that explorer to feel when traveling in Casablanca. Commonly missed by voyagers regardless of being Morocco’s most crowded city, it’s a city of that will surprise curious wanderers, even those who get lost. Its verdant lanes are fixed with lavish colonial buildings, and its marketplace is loaded up with fortunes culled from old estates.
Art Nouveau houses, colonial buildings, and Art Deco buildings, the architectural heritage of old Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, makes it a museum in the open. It’s a haven for art and history lovers for admiring the architectural diversity of dozens of buildings dating, for the most part, from the beginning of the 20th century.
Appreciate Morocco’s Colonial Past
Jean-Louis Cohen, a prominent history specialist and co-author of the book Casablanca: Colonial Myths and Architectural Ventures stated that Casablanca was the most innovative of the considerable number of urban communities of France’s domain. It was spread out as indicated by an inventive arrangement, with lovely parks and stunning engineering, from late Art Nouveau and Art Deco to the present modern period.
Imperial Casablanca Hotel and Spa
Architect: Marius Boyer
Gradually, a large number of these once-dismissed sweets are being recovered and renovated. The milestone 1934 Shell building, on the central avenue Mohammed V, has been changed over into the lustrous Imperial Casablanca Hotel and Spa.
During the 1930s, the progression of Art Deco Style and the decorative profusion gave place to simplicity. At that moment, Shell, the renowned oil company, assigned Marius Boyer a world-famous architect to design what then became branded as the “Shell Building”. Architect of several buildings which includes the headquarters of the Wilaya, Boyer designs ad innovative project utilizing the techniques still uncommon even in Europe.
The modern and sleek building used as Shell’s head office since its construction in 1934, turned out as Casablanca’s main landmark. Throughout World War II, the building was seized by the American army ad headquarters to a lot of operations headed by Gen. Patton. Upon restoring peace, the building recognized by its Shell decors frequently welcomes HRH Queen of the Netherlands and her husband, unconsciously contributing to the fortune of this building, presented nowadays as a hotel by its new owners.
Currently, a 4 Star Boutique Hotel that is a World War II site and once served as General Patton’s headquarters, the Imperial opened in 2013, joining the fantastical Hôtel and Spa Le Doge, a six-year-old boutique property in a reestablished manor. Notable manors are being renewed as restaurants and exhibitions, and a reclamation of the old medina has started. Casamémoire, Morocco’s primary safeguarding association, which leads architectural visits, is initiating endeavors to have portions of Casablanca assigned as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bank Al-Maghrib building
Architect: Edmond Brion
Designed by Edmond Brion (1885-1973) and was completed in 1937, the Bank al-Maghrib located in on Blvd de Paris marks the limit between Casablanca’s civic government center and its Central Business District. As private-sector patrons of grand architecture, the banks welcomed the spirit of the official neo-Moroccan style, and of the times. Several of their buildings were totally modern, with no orientation to the classic Orientalist or European styles.
Banque al-Maghrib’s façade puts on carved stone replacing tiles, a classic technique in neo-Moorish style. Its monumental door weighs 5 tons when opened and the art deco interior’s grandness is designed with zellij patterns in modern rose and blue hues. Italian marquetry is utilized to form Amazigh patterns in the board room of the building which signifies the flourishing Casablanca at that time.
Architect: Léonard Morandi
Located on the Boulevard de la Liberté, the Liberte residential tower is the work of the Swiss architect, Léonard Morandi. Designed in 1949, it became the highest residential tower in Africa when built (1949-1951). The Liberty building stands 78 meters (256 ft) tall in Casablanca, the 17 storeys building is the symbol of resistance, freedom, and novelty.
First African building to exceed 16 floors at the time, the Liberty building was quickly renamed “17th floor” by the Casaouis.
Everything is done to keep the atmosphere of the 50s. From the decoration to the furniture, through the switch buttons, the visit of the building takes us back to the time when it was built.
Architect: Pierre Jabin
The brightly colored Art Deco theater cinema Rialto seen on rue Mohammed Quorri was built in the 1930s by Pierre Jabin and has an Art Deco red and white facades. The cinema, during that era, has played host to music legends like Josephine Baker and Edith Piaf. It was here that, in April 1943, Josephine Baker presented a recital to the American soldiers who came to Casablanca to help the allies.
It is said to be the most beautiful cinema in Casablanca with its typical 1930s art deco façade, its bright colors, the boldness of its skeleton and cupola in reinforced concrete, a hall with 1350 seats, a vast entrance hall, a sunroof, moldings, stained glass, and art deco lighting.
Hassan II Mosque
The city of Casablanca is home to the famous Hassan II Mosque, built by Michel Pinseau, a French architect. It is located on a promontory that looks directly to the Atlantic Ocean and can be seen through a giant glass floor with room for 25,000 faithful.
The staggering Hassan II Mosque is a standout amongst the most popular tourist spots in Casablanca. Built during the 90s, it honors the sixtieth birthday celebration of the nation’s previous king. One of the greatest mosques on the planet, the photogenic structure sits close by the coast. Even Non-Muslims can get inside at specific occasions of the day, enabling guests to respect the wonder both in and outside. It was constructed utilizing the best materials and the abilities of the absolute best craftsmen throughout the nation. Respect the dynamic tile work and carvings. In fact, it is a standout amongst the most alluring structures in the entire of Morocco and is frequently said to be a standout amongst the most amazing mosques in the whole world.
The Accomplishments behind Hassan II Mosque
One can’t in any way, edify such a significant landmark as The Hassan II Mosque without being entranced by the possibility of the flawlessness of structures. To reach this flawlessness, you will require, precision, reasonableness as well as the fertile the shock of indestructible cultures, the vastness of horizons, a taste for eternity, the experience obtained through hundreds of years and condensed in one moment, gathered on the charming spot where the work twinkles and emanates the modes and images of magnificence.
The Hassan II Mosque appears to come from the most personal understanding with the very nature of materials. The engineering they are typified into, the design drenching them vouch for the imaginative pressure which interweaves, at different scales, materials that were crushed to emanate all the light they can give.
Casablanca, presently known as the City of the Hassan II Mosque, accomplishes the profound established desire of imperial cities, in Morocco and elsewhere, to tell the Islam whose memory will live on forever in the human mind. This Islam is no longer today only the culture that passed on the compass, powder, irrigation methods, rational algebra, bright marbles. The Book of Songs, the Hanging Gardens or the legendary Quest of the Grail. It is first of all the religion which contributed to added to the liberation of man from his antique stupor. To declare these lights which anchor our history in our hopes, those that consolidate us in the solidify us in a hard time through a specific thought of the higher forgiveness.
The Hassan ll Mosque has its inherent qualities and those innate to its setting. Morocco, the land where Averroes, the missionary of tolerance and reason and where thousands of ingenious artists, kindled and educated by the Koran and by the Greeks’ geometry, artists all allured by polygonal developments, makers of the arabesques and so many other stylish qualities. They don’t interpret just the assets of a vast region, the long history, the sustained and enthusiastic exertion of several generations but express the high and popular determination as well. The mysterious and irresistible commitment to be present in the world, to mold history, to receive and give, to partake in a word the components that illustrate the stamped perseverance of the beings we are, dedicated to the creation and God, so limitlessly little in the endless space that is reminiscent of Him.
The Hassan II Mosque, launching from a rigorous faith, consecrates the renewal of Islamic arts, breaks with the visible world and multiplies the images of the immeasurable. Its dimensions are reminiscent of the infinite, of the sidereal distances that the strange sculptures of cathedrals strived to express. It embodies the peak of the sacred art of all times, sparkling on the edge of the immense water stretch.
It corresponds to the moment when the life of nations and history became more intense, united, and back one another to generate a significant action or a work of art. The Hassan II Mosque means to prove and suggest, through anti-phrases, and in relationship with a world where all decisive conflicts are mainly part of the invisible border, the origin of the desire to last in the challenge of the unshakable faith faced to the strained shapes of the wave, recurring and renewing forever. In this privileged situation, the action and the work of the creator of the Mosque seem to be intimately linked. This was tangible on that day of 11th Rabi Thani of the year 1414 of the Hegira corresponding to August 30th, 1993 in Casablanca when The Hassan II Mosque was solemnly dedicated by the Sovereign of Morocco.
The choice of the date is not fortuitous. It corresponds to the eve of the anniversary of the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that Muslims celebrate in worship shrines by the reading out of psalms invoking the glory of the Creator of Worlds and that of His Messenger.
The site of The Hassan Il Mosque is unique. It is expressive of today’s Morocco. Cities of various ages had already confirmed the continental bent of the Islamic civilization. And today, it looks to the sea that is shared with the neighbors of the north. of the south and of beyond the Atlantic. The structure built at the western tip of the Islamic world, fronting the sunset, the fog and the waves of the open sea is at the uttermost edge of a world that is born in the Orient and whose farthest west is Morocco. The Extreme Maghreb (al-Maghrib al-Aqsa in Arabic) generic name of Morocco, for which the land roads and sea roads stick out from the nights and seas that unite forever.
One would willingly say that this construction, whose foundation is soaked in the water and whose head is craning towards the sky represents the bright hope mounting from the Mediterranean Orient, from Athens and Ispahan, to be offered to the whole world. Hence its dimensions and especially its crystal clear a message whose significance is free from any ambiguity. The roots of its pillars, ceaselessly beaten by the waves of the Ocean have required the construction of an eight hundred meters long pier that did not give up to the unfurling tides until the end of works.
The Mosque, being a shrine of prayer and devotion, recalls, after 14 centuries, Oqba Ibn Nati, the man who spread the Islamic faith, who bridled his horse only when the latter reared and dipped its nostrils in the Atlantic waters. Oqba then dismounted and shouted, “Lord, had not it been for the ocean, I would have continued on Your path to preach Your unlimited word.” Islam, the word of peace, has at last acquired this sign of the exchanges of the spirit that is proper to it, according to Christopher Columbus.
The magisterial echo! The far-reaching echo heard throughout Casablanca and heard at a 30 km distance in the ocean! The day and night echo spread by a laser ray emitted by the minaret arrowhead, which indicates the qibla. The symbol of a unique mosque, all those that preceded it are part of a time that is indeed inspiring, but that does not provide a similar model.
The use of modern technology naturally imposed itself in this architecture rich in renewed forces as the only way to master a 9-hectare building, a place which, after 7 years of sustained work, was to yield a prayer hall that can welcome more than 25 thousand devotees; a hall supported by 78 pillars were granite, marble, and onyx harmoniously interlace and cross their gleams. A huge hall capped with ceilings all wrapped with emerald green tiles. The green, the natural color in the land of Islam symbolizes goodness and spiritual abundance.
The technological feats were carried very far to help the building industry better and the Moroccan handicraft in a centuries-old experience, knowingly renewed. Handicraft alone has superbly revived because of the most modern ingenuity. The one and the other proving sometimes failing before the scope or the requirements dictated by originality. A lot of innovations were made that the world’s tallest crane was specially manufactured to achieve the heightening of the minaret that is topped by a skylight and by a Jamour made of shining copper — culminating at 200m. The concrete was made four times more resistant than necessary, not to consolidate the euro tunnel under the English channel but to erect a genuinely unique minaret.
The minaret of the Hassan II Mosque
The form and structure of the MAGHREB MINARETS were inspired initially from the square-shape northern tower of the Grand Mosque of Damascus (beginning of the VIIIth century).
This form, coming from the east was affirmed in the minaret of Kairouan (first half of the Village century), surmounted with two towers and a ribbed lantern and considered since then as the western prototype of minarets in North Africa.
This type of minarets will be reproduced in Andalusia, with The Grand Mosque of Cordoba. It will be adopted by the Giralda of Sevilla (566H/1171) and the Hassan Mosque of Rabat (593H/1196).
The minaret of Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca recalls by many aspects the height that reaches two hundred meters, and that makes of it a unique wonder. It is undoubtedly remigration, the square shape whose ratio is of 1 to 8 between the basement and the summit. But it was fleeing towards the infinite and of course on account of its neatness which is in itself a way to pay tribute to contemporary civilization.
The carved ornament covering the facades recall, by the composition of its interlaces, the Merinid achievements and by its chrome, with green as the predominant color, the Alaouite minarets.
The major innovation lies in the use of Stitches of Roudani travertine on a 100,000 M2 surface this decorative material has replaced here the bricks used in the construction of the Civilian minaret and even the cut stone of the minaret of the Hassan Mosque in Rabat.
Thus, it is undeniable the originality lies in its exceptional thrust towards the sky in its marble finery and the integration of varied elements.
The prayer hall
One the Sun-Bathed Shores of the Atlantic, the esplanade of the Hassan II Mosque can accommodate eighty thousand faithful. The prayer hall, located in the core if the building, can, however, host twenty-five thousand. This hall, triangular plan, has three naves perpendicular to the qibla wall. Its depth is greater than is width like the mosques of Kairouan and Cordoba like the Almohad shrines in Rabat (towards 1195) the Almohad-Merinid mosque of Taza(1292) and the Merinid mosque of Fez Jdid (towards 1276).
The orientation of this type of naves follows a layout called “basilical”. So was the layout of the Grand Mosque of Kairouan deemed as the pattern on which the mosques built in North Africa were conceived, with the exception however of the oldest mosques of Fez: the Qarawiyyine and the Andalous Mosque.
Hassan II Mosque’s center nave is larger (forty meters) and higher (thirty-eight and sixty-five meters) than the side aisles (twenty and ten meters large, twenty-seven meter high).
It is undulated by a succession of varied domes where are suspended glass chandeliers shipped from Murano and has a roof which, once open, change the part of the prayer hall in a magnificent sun-bathed courtyard.
This form and courtyard are inspired by a pattern of Kairouan. However, on account of its special location and of its dimensions it breaks off with the layout of the Kairouan Mosque.
On each side, two mezzanines reserved for women are suspended. They are built at over two meters from the level of the soil of the side aisles.
Besides the movables roof (three thousand and four hundred square meters), the prayer hall is lit by a series glass gates of the northern wall, a large triptych marble partition with openwork and a center window bordered by 2 smalle side windows on the wall of the facade. These panels draw, when seen from outside, geometrical openwork based on rectilinear interlaces. They are inscribed within multiple-lobed arches whose voussoir is historiated with a brilliant sculpted floral ornamentation.
The use of marble bars to decorate the gates and the use of fake voussoirs interchangeably sculpted or smoothen, makes one think of the Andalusian Omeyyad art (The Grand Mosque of Cordoba). The imposing dimensions of the pillars (thirteen meters high), the variety of their form (a square with engaged columns, cruciform hemming a series of pillars) and the multitude of domes widen the scope of the work.
The whole space is surfaced with polychromatic geometric shapes zellij, with etched plaster whose ornamentation is derived from flora, geometry, and epigraphy, with marble and finally with pained, carved, assembled and turned wood.
In this ornamentation, there is no surfeit. And the resort to simplicity, achieves, at the monumental scale, that special grace of a new archetype in the arts of Islam.
Contribution of the Moroccan handicraft to the edification of the Hassan II Mosque
After The Edification of the HASSAN II MOSQUE, Casablanca is from this time blessed, exactly like Marrakesh and Fez, the city of culture and art. Beyond the architecture and technique, the economic metropolis of Morocco owes this new status to the unmatched role played by handicraft in the ornamentation of the impressive surfaces of this beautiful monument.
- RENAISSANCE OF TRADITIONAL ARTS
The Moroccan handicraft which covered the mosque’s unmatched minaret with so beautiful designs, as well as the whole internal and external spaces including the mihrâb which is oriented towards Makka and at the same time open onto the Atlantic Ocean, has achieved here, more than ever before, the renaissance of traditional arts. Here, ancient arts are brought up to the highest perfection.
The sculptures on wood, marble or plaster, the smart layout of the zellij, the engraving of copper or brass, the carving, and painting of timber bestow on this prestigious monument an unprecedented dimension which is the honor of the Islam of the 21st century.
The Moroccan handicraft which was born in a melting-pot wisely elaborated throughout ages, and which made a synthesis of the Libyco-Berber, Mediterranean, Eastern, African and Andalusian contributions, has generated, thanks to the Hassan II Mosque, a new dynamic, while deriving the essence of its aesthetic from Islamic art.
Indeed, modern Morocco, out of concern for balance, has not privileged the industrialization fashion to the detriment of these other cultural and socio-economic activities handicraft is part of. If geography locates this country in the farthest Muslim West, art and culture insert it in the happy medium of things as wished and ordered by Islam, the religion of the “golden medium.
To be sure of this, let’s listen to The King of Morocco warning us about the pitfall of over-industrialization: “We have achieved an industrial revolution, but we continue protecting handicraft, this school of humbleness and this other symbol of the originality of Morocco. The handicraft family works in silence and is characterized by its pure heritage, its uprightness and its attachment to its sacred values which are only equaled by the faith of the elderly”. In this respect, Morocco’s cultural and artistic heritage is dependent upon any action requiring the intervention of learned artisans whose know-how and skill are a significant factor and valuable element in this dialogue between cultures which is characterizing the present era. This know-how, which is constantly renewed without however deviating from the gains of tradition makes of the handicraft a national value opens to all possibilities of innovation and creativity required by the end of the current century. Handicraft, which is one of the fundamental aspects of the Arab-Islamic culture of this country had it on itself to be open to the fertile contributions of the outside world while marking them with its indelible stamp. This tolerance that is one of the characteristics of secure and free peoples asserted its perennial character. It was also thanks to its spirit of independence and freedom, of research, innovation, and audacity in creation that Moroccan handicraft was initiated to the rank of Aesthetic, and at the same time launched its promoters and foremen to the status of artists and creators.
We can say that these new masters (m’aallmin, sing. m’aallem) have re-interpreted while mastering it, the whole set of ornamentation elements bequeathed by the art of the Muslim West and this in a bid to revive them while preserving their secular splendor. Thus the geometric, the floral and the epigraphic which have been used in unusual spaces, where one would have been inclined to think they would lose all their essence, have on the contrary generated such a dynamism and such a sense of preadaptation that today in Morocco, we can rightfully speak of a genuine renaissance of traditional arts.
A renaissance similar, while taking everything into consideration, to that of the Christian art which re-created its images and icons, with the only difference that here, as it is excluded to reproduce human figures, Islamic spirituality enabled a larger overture of minds to aesthetic expressions whose abstraction brings up this art to the highest degree of perfection.
The Moroccan handicraft which made the external refinery of the Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca has ornamented it from within with its most beautiful jewels to make of it a work of art with all the brilliance of its diamond and all the purity of its substance. The direct ancestors of these arts are the Kairouanian and Andalusian mosques of the IXth century and the Almoravid and Almohad mosques of the XIth and XIIth centuries.
Some materials introduced in Andalusia and Ifriqiyd were borrowed from Mesopotamian, Byzantine, Sassanid or Hellenistic arts. The arts of sculpted wood and plaster which had since the IXth century a brilliant course of life in the Maghreb were probably borrowed from Mesopotamia, while the mosaic which yielded the famous zellij is undoubtedly a legacy of Antic Greece. The same goes for the architectural elements such as the horseshoe arch that was used during the first Omeyyad period in Andalusia and Aghlabide Tunisia, or the other antic decorations and shapes that were introduced to our region through Egypt. Let’s mention, among other things, the Cufic calligraphy, this angular and hieratic writing which owes its elements to the flora and which widely uses geometric shapes. In this case, the presence of Koranic verses in the buildings asserts the primarily Islamic character of this form of ornamentation.
The most classical floral decorations, even if foreign and remote contributions mark them, have been assimilated, brewed, melted and re-created through ages to become a genuine Moroccan herbarium. Artisans, from generation to generation, have enriched continuously and renewed this collection of floral ornamentations that they deploy before the eyes of the faithful. Specifically, Islamic art was born on account of the materials chosen (wood, plaster, marble, zellij, copper) and of the decoration sets adopted (the geometric, the floral, the epigraphic) and that became classical. In Morocco, this Islamic art culminated in the grand synthesis embodied in the Hassan II Mosque and its minaret which is erected like a gigantic marble finger lightening what was once called the Sea of Darkness, testifying before its waves the faith in divine oneness, a witness of the truth of these Koranic verses:
The cleverness and skill of Merinid, Saadian, and Alaouite artists in the use of these shapes and materials are worth mentioning. Their dynastic palettes were so enriched through generations that they came to use all the colors from the Almohad white to the black, going through all the other chromatic shades.
It is also worthwhile to recall that the Saadians used to import their Carrara marble from Italy, where it was figured in Pisa before being sent to Morocco and bartered for sugar. This marble of immaculate whiteness was used to ornament the two sides of the nook of the mihrab of the Hassan II Mosque.
In his travel notes dated July 1581, Montaigne states that “the mountains neighboring Pisa produce exquisite marbles for which this city has a great number of famous workers. At that time, they were working for the King of Fez in Barbary who was intending to build a theater with fifty marble columns”.
Montaigne would be amazed today to learn that the Moroccan craftsmen have used, to cover the floor of the naves and the external façades, the columns supporting the peristyle, the galleries, the archways, to decorate the gates and the minaret of the Hassan Il Mosque, a local marble extracted in the quarries of the south of the country and sculpted by the “Grandes Marbreries d’Agadir”.
To end this short survey of the history of Islamic art in Moroccan land, let’s say that with the advent of the Alaouite dynasty, this precious floral collection has been entertained, restored, synthesize, enriched and oriented towards new paths. We will only mention as an instance the sculpted plaster and assembled carved and painted wood. After they had been pushed into the background, they regained their due place in several palaces and monuments and especially in the Mohammed V Mausoleum of Rabat and The Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca which is the most eloquent paradigms.
Mahkama Pasha of Casablanca
Architect: Auguste Cadet
The court was built in 1929 by Auguste Cadet, for Muslims, after he had finished building the Habous district. The Mahkama building, located in Quartier des Habous in Rue Ahmed El Figuigui is open for visitors, is an excellent city palace which took from 1941to 1952, of over a decade to be completed.
It’s very much unique. Constructed on a slope, it looks like it towers over the Habous neighborhood. A person can get access to it by means of very large gate portals. It is articulated around a large courtyard and two patios.
Inside, the traditional arts of ornamentation have been taken over: carved cedar ceilings, stuccoed arches, Zeliges frescoes, water features, Andalusian style garden, Sophisticated architecture, Hispano style -Mauresque, that we will take the time to contemplate in detail.
Architect: BOUSQUET, Pierre
Many consider Marché Central as Casablanca’s center, the open-air marketplace in the center of the Art Deco quarter. In this place, antique vendors crowd with food shops.
In 1914, it was decided to move the municipal market then located on the former Place de France (United Nations Square). The new location is the one occupied for two months by the French-Moroccan Exhibition of 1915 wanted by Marshal Lyautey to promote the country’s economic potential.
Casablanca’s main market and get a taste of local culture. The low and bare building takes the traditional style of the markets of southern Morocco. On a quadrilateral with a continuous front, it is punctuated with shops under the arcades along Boulevard Mohammed V.
Marche Central is a charming market with vibrant colored stalls that sell local Moroccan crafts along with a myriad of fresh produce, fish, and shellfish caught daily on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Morocco along with other daily items. Inside, the central covered body is surmounted by a large rotunda which houses the fish merchants. The inner street that surrounds it is lined with shops. Freshness and ventilation are provided by traditional Zellijs fountains and narrow, closed openings of cement Moucharabieh.
Marche Central has an exotic spice market and is a popular place where Casablancans dine locally outdoors. Eight accesses allow you to cross it in all directions. The main entrance has been recently highlighted by carved framing and green and yellow Zellijs panels.
Notre Dame de Lourdes
Architect: Achille Dangleterre
Highlighting a high roof, white facade, a lengthened form, and a rare shaped frontage, Casablanca’s Notre Dame de Lourdes was built in 1954 by Achille Dangleterre and engineer Gaston Zimmer and is the second church of Casablanca. It is a great example of European modern structure, and the colorful stained glass is an outstanding contrast to the light walls.
The massive building of Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church in Casablanca, Morocco, holds an imposing white concrete facade and a basic white cross is the mere indication of its purpose. The primary attraction for those visiting is the stunning stained glass windows, the work of a famous French artist, Gabriel Loire. They are cut on a red and blue colored background, similar to a classic Moroccan carpet, and represent various images of the Virgin Mary.
The real spectacular stained glass windows of the cathedral are what take the attention of everyone. The open, airy interior is lightening up by the vibrant beams of light that filter through these stained glass windows which fills up both side walls – giving a window surface area of over 800 sq.m (8600 sq. ft.)
Port of Casablanca
Standing for more than a hundred years, the port of Casablanca located 80 km southwest of Rabat is an infrastructure that has always played an important role in foreign trade and contributed to the development of the White City.
Casablanca’s port developed and in 1916, engineer Perret built the docks. By the time the Lafarge company cement work started producing in the vicinity known as Roches Noires, the poor working-class quarter named Carrières Centrales developed along with it.
Royal Palace of Casablanca
The Royal Palace of Casablanca serves as the King’s official city residence. A grand complex, visitors can, unfortunately, only admire the outer gate and walls. The ornate gate gives you a glimpse of the grandeur that lies beyond. Colorful, opulent and displaying fine details, it’s still worth stopping to see the entrance to the palace even though you can’t go inside.
Architect: Adrien Laforgue
Casablanca’s primary postal office situated on Place Mohammed V, the Grande Poste was built by Architect Adrien Laforgue in 1918 during the French colonial period.
The entrance’s colorful tile work welcomes visitors to the still functioning neo-Moorish central post office, inspired by the central post office in Algiers. The medallions on the building’s exterior serve as a reminder of Casablanca’s essence in advancements of airmail. Whereas the outside is impressive, check out its interiors and you can see the original Art Deco design.
Wilaya clock tower
Architect: Marius Boyer
Still another stylish structure located at the edge of Place Mohammed V designed by Marius Boyer and was finished in 1927. The beautiful Wilaya is a government headquarters, built between 1927 and 1936. Formerly Hotel de Ville or City Hall, Wilaya’s most imposing element is the original Art Deco clock tower.
Walk-in and the architecture takes an Arab-Andalusian vibe wherein, from under the arches, local admin officials’ offices oversee a fountain and central patio. Adding also a streamlined interior, massive stair, exterior touch of Venetian style and a modern clock tower, and you have a structure that is a testament to Casablanca’s inventive architectural heritage.
Wilaya is set surrounding 3 garden courts. Paintings by Majorelle (1859-1926) displayed in its marble staircases. Staterooms on its grand upper floor cover the mayor’s office (at the time) and the Hall of Honor, somewhere the mayor conducts civil marriages.
The Sacre-Coeur Cathedral (Casablanca Cathedral)
former Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Architect: Paul Tournon
Built-in 1930 is an architectural masterpiece designed by French architect Paul Tournon, the Sacre-Coeur Cathedral located in Blvd Rachidi is Neo-Gothic in style with Moroccan Muslim and Art Deco influences. The two towers flanking west front is similar to square minarets, and the tiny windows that pierce the cathedral’s upper portion would be at home in any mosque. The outer buttresses alongside the roof have sharp right angles in place of the usual curves.
It’s among Casablanca’s architectural masterpieces. The cathedral was an important landmark in Casablanca during French Catholic rule. After the independence of Morocco in 1956, the Cathedral ceased its religious function and was abandoned. It has since been used as a school, a cultural center and now it hosts exhibitions and fairs.
Palais de Justice
Architect: Joseph Marrast
The nearby Palais de Justice (Court House/ Tribunal de Premiere Instance), built by Joseph Marrast, was completed in 1925, has an enormous facade on the square, with a Moroccan flag on top and grand central portal that leads to two columned galleries on the main ground.
Its huge main entrance, with its stucco and tile detailing, was inspired by the Persian iwan, a vaulted hall that opens into the central court of the medersa (school) of a mosque. Palais de Justice is surrounded by palm trees and elaborate style courtyards.
Architect: Marius Boyer
Located at 22 Rue Abdel Krim Diouri, Hotel Volubilis is one of the beautiful examples of Casablanca’s Art Deco legacy with its recessed balcony, burnished-gold detailing and art nouveau signage. The modest-sized Hotel Volubilis is among Marius Boyer’s first projects when he arrived in Morocco a year earlier.
It is contemporary with Edmond Gourdain’s neighboring hotel “Transatlantique.” It recognizes the writing of Mr. Boyer in the advances framing the arch of the semicircular loggia with four bays on two floors. Above, on the third floor, a pergola of wood granted to green tile roofs, sketches an image of traditional architecture, while the whole decoration of the facade is similar to the Art Nouveau.
The name of the hotel in relief is inscribed in the central arch on a background of the mosaic of blue sandstone, and a carved stone frieze underlines the windows on both sides of the pergola.
The hotel “renovated” four years ago was raised two floors, and decor of fake stones cover the ground floor.
In 1922, when several large hotels were built in the center, Marius Boyer built the Atlas Hotel, Khouribga Boulevard, with 180 rooms, of neoclassical architecture, transformed into apartments.
Architect: Hippolyte-Joseph Delaporte
In the city center, not far from the medina, the famous Excelsior is an old building that has become one of the most popular cafés by the “bobos” of Casablanca, a very mixed city of more than five million inhabitants, hardly recognizable for the nostalgic of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
It was the finest hotel in Casablanca when it opened in 1916 and was the first of the milestones built outside the Casablanca Medina.
The architecture of the Excelsior is sober but subtle: the facade of this café, built by the French architect Hippolyte-Joseph Delaporte in 1916 with the company Coignet, by order of the Grand Vizier Haj Omar Tazi, among a series of buildings currently representing the chronology of the building Casablanca.
The hotel is painted with lime and decorated with green Andalusian zelliges dating back almost a century, with its white marble steps and lobby whose wood-lined ceiling is reflected in a mosaic floor. With its facade that evokes the old buildings of Algeria and Tunisia, its brewery has made him the place of choice merchants and merchants who arrived in the city in the early twentieth century, looking for a business. The reinforced concrete building is covered with semicircular arches (inner curve of a vault), lines of green tiles and azulejos tiles, in addition to concrete guardrails with arched windows, adorned with eight-pointed stars.
The Excelsior was built in front of the main portal of the medina of Casablanca, an old city where “several religions and nationalities” coexisted.
Today, the Excelsior hotel is still one of the favorite destinations of foreigners calling in the megalopolis and despite an early abandonment at the entrance, the place is still cherished by its regulars of yesteryear.
El Glaoui building
Designed by Marius Boyer in 1922, the Glaoui building is located in Rue El-Amraoui Brahim on Mohammed V boulevard
San Buenaventura Church of Casablanca
From the late eighteenth century until 1907, the largest foreign community in Casablanca consists of Spaniards. It is the sector of port activity that was favored by these enterprising Spanish, who undertook the repair of boats, the handling and the export of cereals through various companies such as Compania Los Cinco Gremios Mayores de Madrid, Casa Espanola de Dar Beyda (Cadiz), etc.
Aware of the importance of this community and the dynamic role it played in the local economy, Sultan Moulay Hassan 1 st decided to graciously grant the King of Spain the land of the rue de Tangier, in the old medina: it is there that, in 1891, will be raised the church, San Buenaventura of the Franciscans.
With the Ettedgui Synagogue and the Ould el Hamra Mosque, the San Buenaventura Church is the third pillar of what is known as the “monotheistic triangle”: note that this building is the only Christian church we have identified in the old medina of Casablanca (intra muros).
Quaint church with a tiled rooftop, an airy domed sanctuary & arabesque stained-glass windows.
Al Qods Mosque
Architect: Eugène Lendrat
In the neighborhood of Roches Noires in Casablanca and near the garden Al-Qods stands not the only Gothic Mosque in the world. At first glance, the construction hardly looks like a mosque, its Gothic architecture, its Latin cross plan, its tower surmounted by a stone spire and surrounded by four pinnacles make believe that it is a church, besides it was until the early 1980s, before being transformed into a place of worship for Muslims, today it is called the Al-Quds Mosque.
This Gothic church was built in the late 1920s by Eugène Lendrat, in memory of his mother named Marguerite. It is a replica of the Church Saint-Martin de Pau, built-in 1868 by the architect Boeswillwald.
In the early 1920s and with the aim of making it the economic capital of Morocco, the city of Casablanca saw the beginning of its development and its transformation into an industrial city. At that time, a large European community came to settle in the district of Roches Noires, the old district industrial Casablanca.
The increase in the Christian population of the neighborhood created the need for a place of worship, so that Eugene Lendrat, the main developer of the Roches Noires district at the time, decided to build a church at his own time, fresh and on one of his lands. Lendrat took as a model for his project the church of Saint-Martin de Pau, his hometown. St. Margaret’s Church was inaugurated in December 1929 in memory of the mother of its founder.
Indeed, Lendrat hails from this city. The plan is a Latin cross, with a bell tower at the entrance to the nave, on the Westside. The Tower, on three levels, is topped by a stone arrow whose base is surrounded by four octagonal spires and four gargoyles at dog head (now mutilated). On three sides of the Tower, at the top of the first floor, was a clock. The porch arch broken gives access to the main entrance: the Portal including the Archway are extended by small columns with acanthus leaves tent, reveals, in the tympanum, a representation of what was to be a Christ the King.
After the death of Eugène Lendrat in 1931, a problem of transfer of ownership of the church is needed and remains unresolved for several decades. In the early 1970s and following the departure of a large part of the European population who lived in Casablanca, the Sainte Marguerite church was emptied and coveted to serve other purposes. In 1981, the church was finally ceded to Ain-Sebaa commune, which turned it into the Al-Quds mosque.
The transformation of the Sainte Marguerite church into a mosque has left many questions, the study of its history allowed to answer some without revealing everything. At present, the appearance of the monument has changed slightly, its vocation also, this did not prevent him from remaining a witness of the protectorate period in Morocco.
Carmel Saint Joseph School
Carmel Saint Joseph School, founded for the French in 1937 by the Carmelite Sisters, is located in a residential area called “l’oasis” surrounded by palmiers and green spaces.
It is located in one of the oldest districts of Casablanca: the Oasis which is the extension of Maarif extension, located between Hay Hassani and Maarif. It holds its name thanks to the presence of beautiful palm trees that give it all the charm of a very quiet residential area.
Operation: At the time, the school had a primary cycle and a second cycle with a boarding school which was closed as well as the secondary school before the departure of the Carmelite nuns.
In 1979, the sisters of the Holy Hearts took over. At the handover, the school had 750 mixed students, almost all of them are Moroccan.
St. John’s Church
St. John’s was the first Protestant church established in Casablanca. It was built in 1906. It is the oldest church building in use in Casablanca and one of the historical buildings in the city. It is built on land owned by the British Crown.
Throughout the Second World War, many people from the American Service personnel based in Casablanca attends to St. John. Maj. Gen. George Patton, who regularly attends at St. John’s, gave the pulpit in honor of the people who passed away in this area during WWII. When General Patton died, his family gave the carved frontage for the communion table St. John’s. A lot of devotees turn up to see these historical items.
St. John’s Anglican Church is a thriving English-speaking church in the heart of downtown Casablanca. Built-in 1906, it is the oldest operating church building in Casablanca and one of the few official places of Christian worship in the city. Although regular attendees hail from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, a third of the congregation now comes from sub-Saharan Africa. Services are conducted in English, but between services, the church grounds are filled with conversation in a wide variety of tongues.
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church of the Dormition also called The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is located at Eglise Russe, 13 rue de Blida in Casablanca. Built by the first wave of Russian immigrants and their families in 1958 was fighting the demolition of a church in economical capital of Morocco – Casablanca. It is one of the only two Russian Orthodox churches in Morocco
Temple Beth El Synagogue
Address: 67, Rue Jaber ben Hayane.
Visit Temple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. Beth-El is considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements are what attracts tourists to this synagogue.
Beth El or “Beit El”, also called the Algerian Temple, is also the venue where the Jewish community celebrates their religious events.
With its stained-glass windows, giant chandeliers and its unique architecture, made of white and gilded plaster, the synagogue is among the city’s best tourist attractions. The temple was completely refurbished in 1997.
The entrance of the famous restaurant Cafe La SQALA
To really understand Casablanca, you have to know the medina, the spot where the seed of the city fell long ago. Marrakech gate is the best entrance, with its impressive clock tower. There are no dependable maps but, with a little twist and turn, you may find your way to an ancient Portuguese fortress that dates back into the old city.
Marked by great iron cannons pointing out to sea, the bastion is known as La Sqala. It’s a restaurant now, offering exceptional cuisine from all corners of Morocco and known for its salads and fish tagines.
The entrance of the Café Maure de La Sqala, a restaurant built in the gardens within the old city wall in Casablanca, in front of the port and at the edge of the old medina.
Casablanca is one of those exceptional gems, a spot with unending intertwined layers. There has been a colossal push by His Majesty King Mohammed VI to make it a genuine culture destination. Indeed, the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, set in the multiuse Norman Foster–structured Anfa Place, is another indication of the city’s rising profile and its quickly improving lodging choices.
Right down the Corniche from the Four Seasons is Cabestan Ocean View, a 1927 standby seafood restaurant that is a most loved of both American Madison Cox, who lives in Tangier, and Paris-based entertainer Gad Elmaleh, who experienced childhood in Casablanca. Locals here, for the most part, recommend heading off to this sort of reliable spot. Artbook distributer Malika Slaoui, for instance, suggests Sqala Café Maure, offering tagines and grillades in a revamped stronghold, and the old-school French spot Le Rouget de l’Isle.
Architect: Wolfgang Ewerth
Nestled on the hill of Anfa Superior Casablanca, the beautiful building, which belongs to Prince Moulay Ismaïl, opens its doors until June 7, the time of a collision mounted in three days and which is finally only a pretext to discover the iconic villa Casablanca. A real architectural experimental space, this villa was designed by German architect Wolfgang Ewerth in 1962. ”
Made in the tradition of Muslim architecture, space is adorned with stucco and carved wood. Upstairs, we change the atmosphere and architectural language. With large openings that overlook the ocean or the garden, the different rooms are communicating. The architect was particularly unleashed on the two bathrooms (one in yellow and the other in pink). Designed in the American style and in blue, the kitchen is hidden.
Established in Casablanca between 1954 and 1975, Wolfgang Ewerth signed this circular jewel at a time when the city of Casablanca had become an avant-garde laboratory in architecture.
Architect: Marius Boyer
The original Hotel Anfa, wherein the 1943 Casablanca conference among De Gaulle, Roosevelt, and Churchill presided is now an apartment compound. In 1938, the “Anfa Hotel”, style liner, is built on the hill of Anfa. This last establishment is the witness of a big page of History. It is in its walls that takes place, in January 1943, the famous conference called Anfa, bringing together Roosevelt, Churchill and de Gaulle. It was in this mythic place that the fate of the Second World War was sealed since it was at that moment that important strategic decisions were made that enabled the Allies to win the war. The reasons for the unfortunate and untimely destruction of the hotel in the 1970s remain mysterious. This historic site could very well have been transformed into a museum. However, Morocco, at the time freshly independent, was not aware of the interest of this heritage and the enormous benefits it would have to preserve it.
Residence and Statue of Louis Hubert Gonsalves Lyautey
Architect: Adrien Laforgue
The bronze equestrian statue was created by Francois Cogné in 1938 and stands in front of the then Residence of General Lyautey and now Consulate of France in 1, rue Prince Moulay Abdallah. The horse is fine and racy, his neck shows the tension of the muscles. His four feet are on the ground; at orders, the flange is released. Svelte and unarmed, Marshal Lyautey salutes the starry staff received in 1921.
A French Army general and colonial administrator, Louis Hubert Gonsalve Lyautey was born in 1854. He was Morocco’s first French Resident-General to serve from 1912 to 1925. He served for a moment as Minister of War in 1917 then became a Marshal of France in 1921. Gen. Lyautey is thought to have been a fitting colonial administrator who sought to balance blunt military force and advocated a vision of a better future for Morocco under the French colonial administration.
Villa Sami Suissa
Architect: ZEVACO, Jean-François
The villa, often cited in international architecture journals, (Villa Papillon) due to cantilevered balcony and canopy, this three-bedroom house displays an interesting mix of the Parisian bourgeois arrangement of domestic programs and innovative formal vocabulary reminiscent of Brazilian lyric Modernism. This villa, designed in 1947 by the architect Jean-François Zevaco is located in the axis of a triangular plot, on the edge of the residential district of Anfa, overlooking the city, is quickly nicknamed “the pagoda” and “villa butterfly”.
The quality of locksmiths, sash guillotine lounges, monumental French windows, and grilles, is due to Ateliers Vincent Timsit. The hall, with its black marble floor, serves the reception rooms with sliding glass partitions. In its center, like a sculpture, the first flight of stairs leading upstairs is framed by glass railings held by bronze pieces.
The plan of the house somewhat rigid, since functions are clearly delineated: all common spaces are placed on the first floor private spaces on the second floor, and servant quarters the basement. Surprisingly both this partitioning and the domestic nature of the house did not impede its transformation into the multipurpose public program.
The reconversion of the villa into an elegant restaurant-tea room (Patisserie Paul) resulted in the addition of two glazed spaces under the balconies, and the leveling of the garden initially sloping gently towards a pool in a semicircle.
Australian architect Andy Martin transformed the house in 2004 into a gastronomic emporium, including a bakery, a pâtisserie, tea lounge, restaurant, a bar, event space, and an exhibition hall. The clear partitions of the initial villa facilitated the inclusion and juxtaposition of these eclectic programs: the café is on the first floor, services in the servant quarters and the extended basement and the restaurant on the second floor. Additional spaces were added to fit the remaining programs: two 100 square meters wings were placed on either side of the main body of the house to accommodate the patisserie on one side and the cocktail bar on other. The additions are built using slate walls reclaimed by the architect from demolished parts of the original villa, was constructed from this material, which is native to the coast of Casablanca.
The large garden of the house allowed also for a fluid integration of the new program. The entire grounds were indeed re-landscaped while responding to the geometry of the house: all exterior seating, pergolas, and planting follow the radius of the villa’s curved facade. The original circular shape of the pool is kept, yet it is transformed into a kiosk and below it, a multipurpose event space and exhibition hall are placed underground.
Several elements in this villa allowed for its commodification for leisure purposes. The location a corner of two major arteries, which at the time was referred to as “fit for a gas station rather than a house”4 coupled with an extroverted façade has permitted an easy switch from the realm of the private to that of the public. The care that Andy Martin took to respect the original vocabulary of the house, such as the use of monochromatic, neutral tones and of original materials, has preserved the identity of the Villa Suissa.
Architect: Marius Boyer
At the end of the 1920s, Boyer inaugurated here a radically new register among the productions of his contemporaries.
The construction of this building in 1928 by architect Marius Boyer, inaugurates the modern movement that will characterize the 30s. Perceived as a strong trend of the modern architecture Casablanca, it takes the concept of the building
By removing the continuous front of the alignment and the inner courtyard, it offers facades with “Bauhaus” accents dug above the canopy of the ground floor, creating four courses open on the tracks.
By successive residents to the heart of the island, they allow lighting all the rooms of the 45 apartments distributed by a circular staircase. This one benefits from the natural light through the service stairs whose facades, at the back of the course, are constituted, on 7 floors, of metallic panels ventilated by horizontal slats.
The only access is Ferhat Hachad street through monumental steps paneled in marble.
Encircling one of the open courtyards, two towers, connected to the 5th and 6th floor by a bridge with impeccable execution, dominate the crossroads of Ferhat Hachad Street, Avenue Lalla Yacout.
This mastered set is certainly one of the most spectacular downtowns.
Architect: Marius Boyer
The Asayag Building was the embodiment of present-day urban living. Marius Boyer, the ehe architect, got rid of the damp interior yards slash light wells that encapsulated thick urban squares. His Asayag apt. building ascended as three towers. The stairway at the focal point of each is intended to be lit and ventilated normally. Sadly, the mechanical device important to work these detailed arrangements of glass louvers has not been kept up. Shabby it might be, the Asayag Building must at present be a fantastic spot to live. The penthouses at the highest point of the towers start on the eighth floor and ascend in porches two extra floors. Condos in this and different alliances were planned with another customer base in view, the youthful upwardly-versatile single individual or a childless couple. They were not intended for families. They had open staggering designs and extended in size from studios to multi-story penthouses. In that capacity, inhabitants may have autos, the Asayag, and other enormous lofts obstruct in the focal neighborhoods had underground stopping in the storm cellar.
The Attijariwafa Building (originally the Banque Commerciale du Maroc) was built by Marius Boyer in 1930.
Church of Christ the King
Villa des Arts
Constructed in 1934, Villa Des Arts, is a historical building and among Casablanca’s leading structures of Art Deco Architecture. Villa Des Arts is part of the ONA Foundation built to support the arts. It offers rotating exhibitions and has a permanent collection.
The “Villa des Arts” is situated inside a lavish Art Deco mansion from the 1930s. Admire the building’s exteriors before stepping inside to appreciate the works of modern art.
Villa Des Arts are among the standout private institutions of its kind in the whole of the Muslim world. It’s built as one of Casablanca’s biggest museums, and the first private one in Morocco. Located between peaceful Arab League Park and the Mäarif quarter, the sublime building is home to several exhibitions featuring works of contemporary Moroccan artists. In recent years, it has developed the space into a full-blown museum of modern art. The museum highlights an astounding 800 works of art in permanent exhibitions, along with temporary exhibits per year by both local and international and contemporary artists. The Villa Des Arts is also a part of the ONA Foundation, one of Morocco’s primary cultural foundations. The Foundation’s primary aim is to promote creativity and culture within the country. A sample of pure art deco style it was expertly refurbished in 2006. All year round it presents a mix of concerts, exhibits, and cultural events to Casablanca residents and to visitors alike.
L’hôtel Central (Central Hotel)
The Central Hotel, a building turned into a hotel in 1912, is located in front of the Porte de la Marine, the only door that opens onto the sea. This location reminds us that Casablanca is a city facing the sea and to Europe. From inside the hotel, with its balconies and bay windows, you can see the ocean. The Mediterranean style of its architecture is witness to the development of trade with the Spaniards. Currently, this hotel has kept its function and remains one of the most interesting buildings of the old medina.
Architect: Hubert Bride
Built-in 1917 by French architect Hubert Bride, this is one of Casablanca’s architectural Art Deco gems that is in ruins yet has a charming façade worth visiting. Occupied by homeless people, there were several attempts to restore and rehabilitate the Lincoln Hotel or the Bessonneau building. Finally, a much-awaited makeover will soon be realized as French group REALITIES International will be the company to oversee its restoration after winning the last call for expression of interest, launched by the Urban Agency of Casablanca. The legendary Casablanca hotel where only part of the original facade remains standing came to symbolize the Art Deco era that shaped several buildings in the heart of Morocco’s economic capital. Five Star Hotel Coming Soon: On the surface of 9,500 square meters of the Lincoln Hotel, REALITIES will develop 2,000 square meters of shops and offices. The remaining 7,500 square meters will offer 124 five-star hotel rooms, as well as a restaurant, swimming pool, all with a rooftop. The preservation of the hotel’s facade entails a lot of hard work and takes a good amount of money to restore, but must be a priority and REALITIES accepted the challenge. According to reports, an estimated amount of 150 million dirhams or roughly 14M euros is the budget for the entire renovation which is set to completed by 2022.
Built-in 1909, this 3-star hotel located in the vicinity of Notre Dame de Lourdes and merely 5-minute drive of Place Mohammed V and Hassan II Mosque. Hotel Guynemer, named after the First World War French air ace has 29 guest rooms and charming Art Deco façade and interior, featuring a Moroccan architecture.
Built-in 1922 and named after a shipping company, Transatlantique, this is one of Casablanca’s architectural gems designed by Edmond Gourdain. He belongs to the first wave of architects of the colonial period. Also at the origin of the hotel Transatlantique, he realizes twenty buildings in Casablanca until the 1950s.
Aérographe de Tit Mellil (Terminal of Tit-Mellil)
Nothing better than this monument illustrates the creative freedom shown by post-war architects. Built-in 1953 by Jean François Zevaco, the air terminal, with its raw concrete structure associated with its white walls, breaks with the architectural tradition of public buildings built until then.
Architect: Pierre Jabin
Overlooking the United Nations Square with its eleven floors, the building built by Pierre Jabin, inaugurated in 1934 the construction in height in the city center. The luxury of the building lies less in its facade marked by the large vertical and horizontal lines of its bow windows than in the quality of its equipment, or the number of its elevators.
This building was long alone to dominate the place of the top of its eleven floors. It foreshadowed the high-rise buildings planned for the 1930s at the entrance to the so-called “Business District”, but one of the main roads, the current Avenue des FAR, has only been opened. in 1952. It is on this date and in a clean environment, that the building will take all its value.
Above the ground floor housing shops and three access halls, three registers develop on the height of the facade corresponding to different typologies of apartments.
The horizontal bands that mark the balconies stretch as one climbs the floors to become a continuous gallery at the coronation.
The entrance hall of Avenue Houphouët-Boigny combines marbles and mirrors to create a very cinematic atmosphere.
Moretti and Milone, associate cousins, are among the entrepreneurs of Italian origin who will form generations of maalems to which we owe the exemplary execution of buildings Casablanca.
Architect: Edmond Gourdain
In 1923, Societe Generale purchased the building of 84, boulevard Mohammed-V. The structure was among the modern city’s first buildings. Similar to many of its contemporaries, its design adapts the neo-Moorish style which was famous in Tunisia and Algeria back in the 1920s. The construction blends in classic tastes as well as features of traditional Islamic architecture formerly utilized primarily in interior design.
These elements include arched windows, interlacing, and cornices borrowed from classical Islamic arts, as well as green glazed tiles that characterize places of administrative, economic and religious nature.
Societe Generale transferred from Rue des Consuls’ Casablanca branch, where it had used from the time it first came to Morocco in 1913 and transferred on to its new home on Boulevard Mohammed V. The company, therefore, acquired a remarkable building built by Edmond Gourdain, the architect who also designed Transatlantique hotel.
As it desires to support in the preservation of Art Deco architectural heritage of the historic city center, Societe Generale Maroc rebuilt the Bank’s past head offices while preserving the facade of the building.
The building stands on four floors and has a surface area of 3,126 square meters. Keeping in mind the progressive state of oxidation of its metal beams, which implied that it’s impossible to restore the floors, Societe Generale has opted for the only known solution, which is to fully rebuilt the structure while it implements inventive solutions that enable the façade of the building to be preserved, being part of the architectural heritage of Casablanca.
It accommodated the headquarters of Societe Generale Maroc before the bank moved out again in 1979 to Boulevard Abdelmoumen.
Casablanca Chamber of Commerce and Industries
A splendid example of how the French people are preserving the Moorish atmosphere by adhering the Moorish lines in all modern things. The Casablanca Chamber of Commerce building along Boulevard Mohamed V located in the city center, with its arcades under which shops and restaurants abound for almost 2 km.
Developed by a former U.S. attaché in Morocco, Kathy Kriger, Rick’s Café Casablanca is a famous restaurant that was constructed in 1930 and is set inside a conventional impressive Moroccan mansion with a Riad or central courtyard. The lot’s layout allows for 3 facades: a port-oriented facade that gazes at the Atlantic; a unique front street entrance with heavyweight wood doors that present that of the movie; and tight dead-end access which was the main entrance in the past and today serves as the entrance service.
Due to the structure’s age and nearness to the ocean, the mansion was fully renovated and restored by Bill Willis, a U.S. architect/designer envisioned the architectural and decorative features which enriched the existing balustrades and arches to evoke the Hollywood movie “Casablanca.” Elaborate antique brass floor and table lamps with metal shades laced with beads radiate sensational mood light, and a specially designed brass lamp with beaded shade created by Bill Willis rests per table. Etched and engraved wooden tables, screens, and chairs from Syria add decorative touches suggestive of the movie’s furniture.
Added to the faithful rendering of the decoration in Casablanca, Rick’s Café today is filled with woodwork and tile that very well represent Morocco’s craft industry. The fireplace is made of engraved marble or painted tadelakt with complex zellige tile patterns highlighting the risers of the center stairs. Tadelakt in soft hues cover walls tall over the dining place, and the grounds are fixed in handmade terracotta tile.
It was the largest cinema to be built in North Africa.
The VOX was opened on December 12, 1935, at a time when the transformation is happening to existing theaters. New theaters were created which became a great move for the development of cinema exploration. Casablanca followed the movement, especially since it corresponded to the need for artistic renewal, a normal reflection of the development.
During the summer season, the Vox Cinema only screened unpublished films and made very satisfactory weekly offerings. The public, attracted by a judicious advertisement, never sulks the beautiful films, and it is wrong to underestimate sometimes its degree of artistic comprehension. It is also wrong to believe that a film dubbed, by definition, cannot fill a room.
The largest in cinema to be built in Casablanca, the largest in Morocco and one of the largest in North Africa. The designers of its building and its architect, Mr. Boyer, to whom the city already owned the very good municipal services, sought to make of it abroad, the welcoming center of the desirable importance. From the start, what strikes you is the new design of the easy accesses: an entrance hall which contains the glass cases, the controls, in the middle of which the public moves easily and without smoothly. On the left in this hall, the entrance of a massive lift that transports every three minutes thirty-five people to the highest and cheapest places. A staircase that soon divides from the hall to the upper floors. The hall is majestic with a 7-meter panel and a bay window that goes up to the first floor adds to the perspective curves. There are 2000 comfortable armchairs in the room, large padded, covered with a material of easy maintenance Three stages: an orchestra descends very gently to the orchestra pit, large enough for thirty musicians; a mezzanine whose first two rows are clubs; Finally, a higher floor, a huge balcony, with a daring slope, has been specially designed so that the less affluent population can benefit at reduced prices of a perfect comfort, as well as the happiest of this world.
The decorator thought precisely that one draws much more interesting effects from the light alone than from any ornament: it is thus that all the lighting is indirect, the brightness of lamps or chandeliers does not come to hurt the eye. and the effect of the brightness gradually light up and change colors on each side of the scene is a wonderful decorative element. Each floor corresponds to a home. For the 2000 spectators, it was necessary to make vast clearances: the hearths are immense, admirably illuminated and airy. They overlook loggias on each side of the building. In short, the necessary relaxation is the intermission of the show here is real and effective Finally, innovation in Morocco: the open sky realized through the dome opening in two parts in the middle. It is thanks to this that the show became possible in Casablanca in summer: it is cooler at VOX by the warmest parties than in any perfectly airy place. The building also has a very nice power station, installed by Hamelle Establishments with three National motors.
The conclusion that the visitor draws from a walk in all the services of this beautiful Casablanca room is that the efforts made for its construction were in every respect crowned with success. The concern for the comfort of the spectators is seen at every step. The question of hygiene, so important in North Africa, has not less caught the attention of the architect: he designed large mosaic surfaces, easily washable with large water, and everything at VOX is perfectly airy and lighted
The VOX also gives great stage performances, music-hall, theater, attractions, orchestra, etc., and this thanks to the admirably understood arrangements of the vast and well-equipped stage. Without going to the ease that would offer a turntable, the most complicated maneuvers are possible thanks to the dimensions of the stage.
Finally, there are certainly few theaters in the province that possess the equipment in ramps, harrows, projectors of all categories and all powers so complete. Since May 1936, the VoX has continued to increase the success it finds among the population of Casablanca. It was, however, closed in 1979 with Bruce Lee in “The Big Boss” and was demolished.
Al Khaouarizmy High School
Created in 1917, Al Khaouarizmy High School provides scientific and technical training related to various sectors of activity: mechanical manufacturing, refrigeration, and air conditioning, foundry, carpentry, electronics, electricity, industrial chemistry, computer science, building, mathematical sciences, experimental sciences, etc. As a result, it has been the primary source of water for many businesses, public and semi-public administrations.
Known at this time under the current name of INDUS, or the Industrial and Commercial School of Casablanca, Al Khaouarizmy High School gave the solid foundation of technical training to many Moroccan and foreign laureates. Subsequently, in 1992 the high school was the first initiator of the classes BTS building, electrical engineering, production, molding, surface treatment and the only institution of Education to ensure dual training in partnership with the various federations and industry associations. This formula immediately benefited from the positive appreciation of the leading professionals and economic operators.
Currently, the high school continues in the sense of this intelligent and practical contribution. Its general infrastructure includes several pavilions, workshops and specialized rooms: foundry, mechanics, electricity, electronics, a regional pedagogical museum, a library, a conference room.
The high school successfully combines technical contribution and socio-cultural activities. In this regard, its participation in cultural events (fair, exhibition, CDI, international events) has always been awarded. Rich of these fruitful achievements, the high school Al Khaouarizmy remains a reference in technical education in Morocco.
The Arab League Park of Casablanca
Close to the administrative square which is at present the Mohammed V square which will be the home of the new institutions such as city hall, court, post office) 30 hectares were taken to construct a huge park, which breathes air for the new city. The park of the Arab League, formerly known as Lyautey Park, is among the first major urban planning projects of Casablanca city, under the leadership of Henri Prost which was at that time, the “Special Service of Architecture and City Plans” Director.
As per General Lyautey’s request, JC Nicolas Forestier, a landscape architect, came to Morocco in 1913, to present the concept of urban development in specific areas that were created in the United States and Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.
In his mission report, he recommends on the one hand that the plan of the city indicates reserves of land for the future parks, and on the other hand that these lands are networked by roads planted. It also establishes a list of plants to be introduced perfectly adapted to urban planning in Morocco.
Lyautey Park was created very quickly in 1917, despite an unfavorable context, according to the design of Albert Laprade, the architect in charge of the development of the parks and gardens of the city in the Prost team. Applying Forestier’s recommendations, the park is organized around a large promenade marked by an alignment of palm trees and highlighted by paths lined with ficus trees. It connects the city center to Circular Boulevard (Zerktouni Boulevard).
Rather classic by its design (axis of symmetry and perspectives) and its furniture (pergolas, historical relics), the modernity of the place resides in the sports facilities provided (among others: athletics stadium, physical education building, petanque club ). Laprade is openly inspired by the hygienist ideas in vogue among European town planners, according to which modern cities must welcome within them equipment that is conducive to sporting activities that are beneficial to the health of the population.
The ‘Grand ‘Palais’ was constructed in 1952 thru popular global architects. It has since catered to a large number of thriving events for a long time. At present, it is classified as a colonial landmark.
The large arched exhibit hall stands seventeen meters tall, spreads at 91m in width and 200 meters long and is a first in the world by its dimension. The rustic features and clean lines are very much a representation of the 1950s.
Raymond Lucaud sketches stressed the unrivaled historic importance of Grand Palais’ architectural dome design.
At present, the OFEC carries out over forty show and events every year which includes professional market fairs and exhibits to help the many fundamental foreign and local industries. It is facilitating a wide scope of occasions including specific, open shows, national/local occasions, global and local shows. It attempts to be the finest administration to guarantee the service meets the quality and necessities by clients.
Architects Robert Maddalena and Raumond Lucaud were tasked to execute the Grand Palais project which at the time of 1953 was the biggest single-length curve on the planet with total working days: 365 days
Everything was completed by SELVA, a local organization with a manpower of around 300 laborers and administrators.
A few European administrators: two architects, an engineer, contractor and foreman
The Casablanca Int’l. Fair or FIC was established in 1937 with a principal amount of 4M francs, initially utilizing the Casablanca Port’s facilities.
With the extension of the Port in 1952, the FIC was moved to its current area and was overseen by the establishing organization as a byproduct of the yearly association of the exhibit called as the ‘Casablanca Int’l. Fair’ ‘which has stopped to be held from 1989 following the establishment of the Great Hassan II Mosque.
1970: Formation of the Committee of Casablanca Fairs
The Comite des Foires de Casablanca by the pronouncement of January 26, 1970, ‘directed by the Casablanca prefecture governor was made for the association, the executives and liquidation of any Local, Regional and International Fair carried out in the city.
The opening of OFEC Dahir of November 19, 1977
The production of The Office of Fairs & Expositions of Casablanca or OFEC raised the focal panel of Casablanca fairs in office,
1987 was recognized by the selection of the Dir. Gen. of the OFEC from one viewpoint and by sorting out various occasions and market shows influencing all the influential areas of the nation.
The office has expanded its undertakings from ten market exhibits in 1987, all sorted out by the OFEC and spoke to the divisions previously referenced, to twenty-seven trade fairs prior to 2000, seventeen of the companies were controlled by privately owned businesses.
In 2000, the Dahir raising the OFEC was modified by Law No. 72-99, distributed in BO at March 16, 2000, the law has expanded the extent of the association by permitting other open bodies, privately owned businesses, and professional organizations to work in the area of exhibits and fairs.
OFEC turned into the originator of the association of specific exhibitions to advance the country’s economy and the foundation of ances amongst Moroccan business people and their overseas partners, adding to the advancement of the economy, the picture of Morocco on the planet.
Historical influences of Morocco
Morocco has been populated since the Paleolithic times and the man left his traces in all subsequent stages of prehistory.
The Phoenicians and Carthaginians will be the first to settle on the coast and to put Morocco in history. However, it was under the Roman Empire that the country was penetrated to the depths and its “tribal republics” Latinized and reorganized to form a new Roman province: Mauritania Tingitana. The Romans will entrust the administration of this territory to Berber princes rallied, and will thus discharge the specific problems posed by a population particularly jealous of its identity.
Historians have not yet been able to determine the date of the arrival of these tribes in North Africa. The ethnic diversity of the Berbers makes research even more difficult. Nevertheless, the strange linguistic and cultural unit that brings Algerian Kabylia closer to the Rif and Sub Moroccan. Today, more than a third of the inhabitants are fluent in one or another of the various Berber dialects. Moroccan history, the very formation of the state, will often be the work of the descendants of the great Berber Islamized tribes. The ancient Berber culture and the administrative and urban legacies of Rome will enrich, we will see, Moroccan Islam, which will demonstrate its capacity for synthesis.
At the end of VIII century, one hundred years after the founding of Kairouan in Ifrigiya, two events will profoundly mark the entire history of Moroccan art.
The first, in 786, is the beginning of the construction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba by ‘Abd er Rhamanler, the second, in 789, is the foundation of Madinat Fas by Idris I.
Umayyad prince fleeing Damascus, his capital, ‘Abd er Rhaman settles in Andalusia. He crossed the entire Muslim empire to settle at its extreme western limit. He brings and develops a refined culture and prodigious knowledge. They will make Morocco the most eastern land in the Maghreb.
But the brilliance of this civilization on the borders of the then medieval Christian world would have been brief if every Moroccan dynasty, during four centuries, had brought to it, across the Straits, new blood. The Almoravids from the desert, the Almohads of the Atlas, the nomadic Merinids of the Sahara, so many waves from Morocco to revitalize the Andalusian culture. The ebb brought to Morocco the progress of science and the arts as well as a refined lifestyle.
This permanent osmosis has shaped Moroccan art during centuries until the time of the Saadian sheriffs. The last wave returned from Spain with the last Nasrid king Abou’Abdillah (Boabdil), defeated, put an end to this extraordinary exchange of influences, at a time when the Ottoman expansion was going to isolate Morocco from the rest of the Muslim world, and thus help to achieve its cultural unity.
The old white neighborhoods: A tale of the name
“Krikwar” in Darb Al Sultan
In the middle of the last century, Krikwar, or Krikwan, the neighborhood belonging to the redemption laborers of Mers Sultan, was a peasant area, where sheep, goats and cattle were common.
This area was known for the fertility of its land and the presence of large groundwater that the French centenarians established large farms.
Madame Krikouar (later named after the neighborhood) was one of the most famous French centenarians who lived in the area, known for her love of the region and her love of mixing with Moroccan families, according to the old residents of the neighborhood.
In 1947, Madame Krikouar undertook to build an elementary school in the region, called Crete, which had the greatest credit in saving the sons of redemption, the sultan’s path of illiteracy.
“Bossper” in the old town
Frio Prosper, a French engineer from Marseille who arrived in Morocco in the early 1930s, visited a few neighborhoods than in Casablanca. He knew that there were no special places for prostitutes and prostitutes, and he built a number of dwellings.
A few years later, he will become one of the richest people in Casablanca. In white, there is not only one neighborhood called Bousbeir, but two, the first in the old city and the second near Caesarea excavator Darb al-Sultan.
Some believe that the trail of a Jew in Darb al-Sultan is a Jewish neighborhood, such as the navigator in the old city of Casablanca and a number of Moroccan cities that have known a large Jewish presence.
The name belongs to the family of Pierre Auguste Martini, the great real estate revival whose name was associated with the neighborhoods of Al-Habbas near the Royal Palace, while Odell is the name of his son, who also worked in the real estate world in white.
Odile Martini is known for his fight against colonialism and his standing with the Moroccans against the French during the protection period. Pierre Auguste Martini and Odile Martini loved Morocco and Casablanca in particular and decided to bury us at the Christian cemetery near the Anqq district on the city’s promenade.
The “Gran” Trail
In the center of the old city, near Bousbeer, there is the “Gran” trail. Despite the strange name, some of the old inhabitants of the neighborhood remember the presence of a large “Daya” swamp.
Despite the many building that filled the «Daya», but the name remained close to the famous path in the center of the old city.
The poor trail
There are two interpretations behind the designation of the neighborhood as the poor. First, Al-Bayda witnessed a mass exodus from the Doukkala and Chaouia areas. The second explanation is that the neighborhood was called the trail of the poor because those who lived there were poor, as was the majority of the inhabitants of Bayda during that period.
During the 1920s, a French family chose to move away from the city center to build a casino. They chose this coastal area. Boundaries of the fifties of the last century.
Years later, this neighborhood will become one of the finest neighborhoods of the economic capital, and even has its own church, French schools, and even a lighthouse.
During the colonial period, the district had two high-class schools, Claude Bernard and the station which later became Imam Malik.
In 1929 the sugar refinery saw the light in Casablanca under the name «Cosima» by the company of Saint Louis Marseille. Around the factory, workers from Chaouia and Doukkala began to build houses, turning the neighborhood into «Cosima».
In 1967, the Moroccan state will become the owner of 50% of the capital of the French company to become the name «Cosimar».
Karian Skouila in Sidi Moumen Province, Casablanca, was named after a Jewish school in the area.
Skwila means “school” in Spanish, a private school for Jews, before turning it into the headquarters of a private company. The Skouila roundabout was originally one of the destinations for a number of Moroccans living in the rural world who have been ravaged by years of drought.
The new Moroccan families joined other Moroccan families who lived alongside some Spanish families that were active in agriculture, cattle and animal husbandry.
The name belongs to the family «Gulf», which had vast land used for agriculture and livestock before the neighborhood turned into a shanty role and then «Gothia» months in the world.
His fame has exceeded all horizons, not because of his greatness or for the quality of what he offers, but because he is haunted by the biggest computer companies in the world. Behind the huts made of tin and wood lay a commercial market for millions, and pirates described them more than a report of information geniuses. The French channel TV5 prepared a documentary about the market and called its employees “Darb Gulf Engineers”, although most of the young practitioners who are unemployed, including engineers with high degrees, chose the profession of hackers and encryption and provide services to their customers cheaply.
Linking the city with its righteous guardians
Sid Aboulayouth or Sidi Omar Ben Haroun El Mediouni, whose mausoleum is located in the heart of the economic capital of Casablanca, lived as a shepherd of sheep and goats.
Sidi Belyout is one of the oldest devine economic capital along with Sidi Allal Karouani, which is only a few meters away.
Sidi Omar Ben Haroun El Mediouni was also known for his taming of the lions and accompanying them. His original name is Abu Hafs Omar ibn Harun and he is indebted to him. Bouazza bin Abdulrahman, the tribe of Zemmour.
Sidi Mohamed Mers Sultan
He was an aide to Sultan Moulay Hassan I, who was in charge of overseeing the military barracks of Casablanca, but he soon ascended in the position and sold his property and went to the city of Fez to receive religious sciences in the mosque of the villagers, and his teachers marked the big issue, and then returned to the white, where he mocked his wealth To serve the poor and orphans, he knew his ability to cure psychological anxiety, even in his most intractable situations.
There is a grave in the neighborhood of hospitals near the university hospital Ibn Rushd.
Sidi Allal Karouani
The mausoleum of Sidi Allal Kairouani is located in the scaffold in front of the port of Bayda. If Sidi Abderrahmane Ben Jilali, whose mausoleum is located on a rock in Ain El-Dhoulib Beach, is of Iraqi origin, Sidi Allal Kairouani is of Tunisian origin from the city of Kairouan.
The arrival of Sidi Allal Kairouani dates back to the 14th century.
The French researcher Bertimi that the guardian Allal Kairouani married a woman living with a nose called «Lalla white» died before him and built a shrine was dyed white and named the city on this shrine.
In charge of building his current mausoleum in the scaffolding Sultan Moulay Abdellah.
Sidi Abdel Rahman
On a large rock on the shore of Ain El-Wolab in Casablanca, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a green dome is surrounded by some residential and commercial shops, known to the Casablanca and the inhabitants of the economic capital, the mausoleum of Sidi Abderrahman «Mall Almagmar».
According to the author of the Awliya in Morocco, researcher Mohamed Janboubi, Sidi Abderrahmane hails from the Iraqi capital Baghdad and lived in the sixth century AH. He is also said to be one of the contemporaries of the first Sheikh of Sufism in Morocco, including Abu Chouaib Saria, Moulay Abdellah Amgar and Abdeljalil Ben Wehlan. And others.
Before settling where his grave is today, Sidi Abderrahmane was frequently traveling between several places from the coast between A السبعn Sebaâ and Aينn el-Wolb ،, which was a connected forest, multi-tree and full of animals, traveling barefoot, hanging behind a pigtail behind his back. The hair of his head according to the book «Rituals and secrets of the shrines of Casablanca» by Dr. Mustafa Akhmis.
Conclude with Georges Marçais:
“This singular adventure, the geographical situation, the character of its population and its religiosity should assign to Morocco an exceptional place in the Moslem world, make it the refuge of an archaic Islam and give it powerful originality, which does not exclude possibilities for the future.
The concept of HabitationThe first thing you have to own is a house and it is also the last thing you have to sell because it is the tomb of this world. Moroccan proverb.
If the Moroccan house turns towards the street walls similar to ramparts, it is on the other hand largely opened on a patio with galleries or on a lovingly maintained garden.
Ther way of life imposes on Moroccans a home closed to the outside world, favoring isolation and intimacy. The house, therefore, has primarily a fence function. However, a place of recollection as well as escape, it offers to its occupants an enchanting setting.
It is as difficult to recognize the architectural transformations of history as to trace their evolution. All the old houses updated are built in a similar way and we find the type in the outbuildings of the current great palaces.
The typical house is organized around woust ed dar (middle of the house), square courtyard paved with zelliges or marble, which generally includes a basin of water also in marble. An orange tree or a lemon tree often brings a note of greenery to the whole.
On the three or four sides of the courtyard, the rooms are built on two or sometimes three levels. The pillars support the advanced ceilings to constitute a row of galleries open on the patio from which they are separated by a turned wooden balustrade (derbouz). The rooms are wide and without much depth. They are lit and ventilated by a double door and rare low windows. The ground floor usually includes the family living room, one or two bedrooms, the bath, and the kitchens. It is precisely here that around a water conduit is an area used for ritual ceremonies, such as the sacrifice of the sheep on the day of Aid el Kebir (Idu’l adha). The first floor is reserved for the master of the house. There is the main bedroom and sometimes the library. Through a staircase at the entrance, you reach a large lounge reserved for dinners and receptions. This arrangement underscores the Moroccan’s desire to subtract modestly from his family space in social life.
It is in the 14th-century mérinide that the type of the Moroccan house is fixed in its essential features.
The Andalusian origin of the model partially explains the similarity between the Fassie house and the Algerian and Tunisian house.
Love and Censorship
Six days before Casablanca started production, Jack Warner received a letter from the Production Code Administration, the moral overseer that the industry had set up in an act of self- happy censorship. Joe Breen had read Part I of the script and was to report that-except for a few lines of dialogue-the script met the Code requirements.
Naturally, all the unacceptable lines had sexual implications:
Page 5: “Of course, a beautiful young girl for M’sieur Renault, the Prefect of Police.”
Page 6: “The girl will be released in the morning.
The Production Code reflected Roman Catholic morality overlaid by conservative Protestantism. It had been written in 1930 by a Jesuit priest and the Catholic publisher of a movie trade paper. And it began to be enforced in 1934 after Catholic bishops formed the Legion of Decency and threatened to bar American Catholics from seeing all movies. For good measure, it was enforced by a Catholic, although the power in the Code Administration belonged to Will Hays, an elder in the Presbyterian church.
Joseph Ignatius Breen objected to two other lines in the incomplete Casablanca script. A woman who has no money says, “It used to take a Villa at Cannes, or the very least, a string of pearls – Now all I ask is an exit visa.” And after Renault watches Rick send Yvonne home, he says, “How extravagant you are-throwing away women like that. Some day they may be rationed.
In 1942, movies had no free-speech protection,* so the industry felt vulnerable to censorship from dozens of cities and states. Locked in a mutually advantageous embrace (the Code defined public purity while partially shielding the industry from more excessive local censors) the industry and the Code usually accommodated each other. The beautiful young girl remained in the final movie-with no indication of how long she would be held. The woman who was willing to trade her body for an exit visa was eliminated. And, instead of saying that women might be rationed, Claude Rains said they might be scarce.
The Production Code served and served up the mainstream morality and conservative political attitudes of America’s small towns and small cities. The American court system must not be shown as unjust. Religion and the flag were to be treated with respect. The Code insisted that “The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld,” with the corollary that “Impure love must not be presented as attractive and beautiful. Sexual perversions, white slavery, and lustful kissing ‘ were not to be shown.
Adultery was to be punished. There was to be no nudity. Obscenity and profanity were forbidden. Obscenity and profanity included such words as nerts, nuts, cripes, fanny, Gawd, hell, and hold your hat.
The studios could-and did-finagle and maneuver. After meeting between Breen and Wallis, a number of lines that referred to Renault’s womanizing were removed from the script, but Claude Rains’s performance left no doubt that Renault traded exit visas for sex. Warner Bros. followed Breen’s suggestion and made sure that no bed was visible in Rick’s apartment. Audiences were allowed to decide what, if anything, happened during the dissolve that followed Rick’s passionate kiss. (Breen insisted on a dissolve rather than the fade-out in the script since a fade-out signals the passage of time. Of such circumventions was the Code built.)
The marriage of Ilsa and Victor Laszlo was important to the plot, and the studio left in Ilsa’s offending line that she had been married “Even when I knew you in Paris.” The fact that when she met Rick Ilsa thought her husband was dead may have been a good enough excuse.
The studio also refused to take out a line that was not at all important to the plot. Breen felt that when Rick lashes out at Ilsa by telling her that he has heard a lot of stories that “went along with the sound of a tinny piano in the parlor downstairs,” it was a “quite definite reference to a bawdy house.” No movie was allowed to show or refer to a brothel. A few years earlier, in the Bette Davis- Humphrey Bogart movie Marked Woman, Warners had had to turn call girls controlled by gangsters into “hostesses.” But each side knew which battles were worth winning, and Breen did not further attack Casablanca’s oblique reference to a house of ill repute. Although the Code was obsessive about language, the Code’s guardians often let the subtle slip by. When Casablanca was finished, it earned the Production Code Certificate of Approval 8457. The movie’s summation page in the Production Code files lists “Much Drinking,” a little gambling, two killings, and no illicit sex.
One reason that the studios accommodated themselves so easily to the Code – and, during the war, to the often conflicting demands of the Office of War Information – is that they were constantly censoring themselves. The writers were censored by the expectations of the audience and by the expectations of the studio. No anti-Roosevelt picture would have gotten beyond a first draft at Warner Bros., while L. B. Mayer would have turned down scripts that showed the President favorably. Since America in 1942 was a more homogenous and repressed country, the censors also had the two potent weapons of shame and good manners.
Today, the basic censorship is that of the box office. It is not that modern moviemakers have no awareness of ideology, and a few, including Oliver Stone, ride their hobby horses into whatever thickets they wish. But for those who choose to be socially or politically correct, such correctness is often simply another way to sell tickets, since certain incorrect stands-deferential black mammies fussing
golden-haired white children, for example-won’t sell. With movies protected by the Constitution, anything that promises to make a buck, no matter how derivative or tasteless, will be filmed by some producer, while scripts that seem difficult to sell to audiences, no matter how brilliant or tasteful, will rarely find buyers. The studio factories, cushioned by the ability to sell movies to theaters they owned, sometimes found over easier to mix a little art into their commerce.
How was Casablanca affected by the Production Code? The writers and director were forced to be subtle, to use language, pauses, and camera angles as sexual metaphors. The scene when Rick and Ilsa first see each other again and talk of Paris in front of Laszlo and Renault-“I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray; you wore blue”-is pulsing with sexual tension. Today, any movie that didn’t show Rick and Ilsa sweatily grappling with each other’s naked bodies in Rick’s apartment above the café would be considered old-fashioned. But graphic sex wipes out ambiguity, and the ambiguity in Casablanca-the uncertainty about events and motives – is one of the things that still entices us.
Casablanca was censored by the Production Code, the Office of War Information, and the studio itself. At the same time that Warner Bros. was arguing with Breen, the studio’s head of foreign publicity, Carl Schaefer, was suggesting changes that would make the movie easier to sell abroad. To avoid offending any friendly country, Schaefer suggested that two pickpockets and Peter Lorre’s Ugarte-be Italian. Since the character played by Sydney Greenstreet appeared to be Spanish- he was still named Martinez as he had been in the play-he must have a distinguished appearance. The South American entertainer played by Corinna Mura “could flatter Latin America if given dignity and if her artistry is top-notch.” And Wallis must be very careful with the allusions to the Mohammedan religion in several early scenes.
“We didn’t want to offend anybody,” says Schaefer, laughing at his memo fifty years later. “We wanted to be able to show pictures anyplace. I’m surprised Wallis took Schaefer’s suggestions seriously. The pickpocket and the murderer were turned into Italians. So was the head of the black market in Casablanca, Sydney Greenstreet, who became Signor Ferrari. And all references to Mohammedanism were cut out. Wallis had a second reason for eliminating what he called the Allah, Allah business. As he wrote Curtiz, “It does seem to be a little on the operetta, Desert Song style and I would much prefer to keep these opening scenes realistic.”
During the few weeks just before and after Casablanca began shooting, Wallis made dozens of such decisions. “Hal was a great producer,” says his story editor, Irene Lee. “I worked for two years for Sam Goldwyn, and they were two of the unhappiest years of my life. I had been told what marvelous taste Goldwyn had, but I sat in a projection room with him for hours and never heard him say a creative word. Hal knew every aspect of pictures and, whe he was at Warner Bros., he okayed every single thing-every costume, every script, every set.
With the larger problem of an unfinished script looming over his head, Wallis shaped Casablanca in a hundred small ways. He kept insisting on “sketchy, interesting lighting. During Rick’s drunken reverie that led into the flashback, Wallis wrote Curtiz, “The general lighting in the Café should be turned out when we dissolve into the room from the Ext. Sign and the Café should be almost in darkness with the exception of a couple of lamps on the bar [and] two or three lights on tables.
Wallis wanted Humphrey Bogart to wear as few hats as possible. Bogart definitely to be hatless throughout the flashback except at the train station. He preferred the way Claude Rains looked in the photograph labeled Moustache B and Paul Henreid with a white streak in his hair. He did not want Sydney Greenstreet to wear the Moroccan shoes and semi-native outfit outlined on the wardrobe plot. At all times Greenstreet must wear a white single-breasted suit and, possibly, a cummerbund. The young couple from Bulgaria, played by Helmut Dantine and Joy Page, must look as if they escaped “with just the clothes on their backs.
The clothes for Casablanca were designed by Orry-Kelly who was the major costume designer at Warner Bros. from 1932 to 1943. Born in Australia, Orry-Kelly openly and flamboyantly homosexual and famous for his tantrums. His personal style didn’t bother Bette Davis. She said that when Orry-Kelly left the studio in 1944 after the fight with Warner she felt as though she had lost her right arm. “His contribution to my career was an enormous one, she wrote. “He never featured his clothes to such a degree that the performance was overshadowed.”
Wallis threw out the costume Orry-Kelly had created for Bergman’s entrance into Rick’s Café. On page 25 of Everybody Comes to Rick’s, Lois Meredith enters the café wearing “a magnificent white gown, and a full-length cape of the same fabric. Her jewels are fabulous.” The Epsteins had incorporated the same costume into their script. But if Helmut Dantine and Joy Page have escaped with just the clothes on their back so have Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman. The “evening formal attire” listed in the wardrobe plot and tossed out by Wallis was changed into a simple white two-piece dress.
Wallis had tried to keep David O. Selznick from looking at Ingrid Bergman’s costume tests. Selznick was always obsessive about his actresses and would be sure to write one of his famous long memos. But Selznick managed to see the tests two days after the movie started
production and was appalled. “In order for her to look smart, she doesn’t have to be dressed up like a candy box,” he wrote in his memo. Most of the hats were hideous, he complained. She “shouldn’t ear white shoes because they make her feet look simply titanic. The evening dress with the striped skirt and sheer blouse was hideous too, Selznick said and made Bergman look big in the rear.
Most of the costumes that dismayed Selznick had already been thrown out by Wallis. And Bergman assured Selznick that she would be wearing low-heeled blue shoes in the only on scenes where her feet would be seen.
Paul Henreid always ridiculed the idea of Victor Laszlo, a “fugitive leader of the resistance,” running around the world “in an immaculately clean white suit,” but Wallis did tone the costumes down, while still allowing for the flourishes and designing skills that always highlighted the stars. He eliminated the tuxedo that Henreid was scheduled to wear in Rick’s Café and settled for a “very well-tailored” tropical suit.
Verisimilitude was more important than truth anyway. The most powerful political metaphor in Casablanca-Victor Laszlo leading the patrons of Rick’s Café in the French national anthem and drowning out the German officers who are singing “Watch on the Rhine”-was deliberately phony. The Nazi anthem was the “Horst Wessel” song. But the copyright to “Horst Wessel” was controlled by a German publisher. If Warner Bros. used the song, the studio would be able to show Casablanca in countries at war with Germany, but copyright restrictions would make it impossible to show the film in neutral countries, which included most of South America.
Lee Katz wrote Wallis on May 27 that the music department had found that it was against the principles of the Nazi Party to sing “Watch on the Rhine.” “Horst Wessel” and “Deutschland Über Alles” were the only two songs approved by the Nazis.
Wallis left that decision in Curtiz’s hands. “If we want to be technically correct, we should not use this,” he wrote Curtiz as soon as he received Katz’s memo. “I doubt if many people know that this song is not in favor with the Nazi Party but, if you feel that we should be accurate, I would suggest that we use ‘Deutschland Über Alles.” Curtiz, as always, chose the dramatic over the correct.
Movies, then as now, were a blend of implausible stories and background details that were as accurate as of the studios’ research libraries.
What New York City is to the United States, Casablanca is to Morocco: a crowded, noisy, wealthy, commercial center on the Atlantic coast. The North African metropolis is surprisingly unappreciated, both at home and abroad, for its unique abundance of Art Deco architecture. 4 Once a sleepy, out-of-the-way fishing village, Casablanca blossomed under the French Protectorate and because of a boom town with a first-class port. Along with its wide, paten-lined boulevards, luxurious Art Deco apartment and office buildings reminiscent of the Trocadero district in Paris sprang up. 4 Today, Casablanca city officials are anxious to establish an Art Deco historic district. Efforts are underway to rekindle a public appreciation of the city’s dazzling collection of building facades, front doors, balconies, and balustrade staircases from the increasingly popular 1920s and 1930s.
HOME FOR MORE THAN SIXTY YEARS OF THE LEGENDARY COUNTESS de Bretcuil, the Hispano-Moorish Villa Taylor is in the middle of Marrakesh yet hidden from public view. It lies today behind massive, guarded gates in an enormous garden of palm, fir, and olive trees. A superb example of lavish, massive, pre–World War II Moroccan architecture and interior design—the house was built in the 1920s —the villa’s huge main rooms contain museum-quality hand-painted ceilings, doors, and shutters. “Scholars come here all the time to study the craftsmanship,” says the countess. 4 With many cozy, secluded small rooms in towers up hidden staircases, perfect for totes-a-totes or liaisons amour uses, the villa is best known for the splendor and richness of its Moroccan-tiled living room, where visitors step back in time. Tigerskin rugs, deep sofas piled with pillows covered in Moroccan fabrics, big leather ottomans, a shortwave radio picking up jazz beamed in from Paris, tables crowded with family photographs in silver frames and vases of pink and red roses from the garden: le grand salon is a marvelous continuation of French Protectorate luxe lifestyle in Morocco. Here, for years, the countess has entertained scores of friends beneath a towering, sumptuous green-and-yellow Marrakesh-style wood ceiling. Painted with swags, floral and geometric motifs, it is made—as is all paneling in Morocco—from rot-proof and worm proof Atlas Mountain cedar, which doesn’t need to be treated or varnished. the wall shed. True to tradition, the lower part of the wall, the upper portion with a frieze of very finely carved plaster of Paris windows or chems. An ancient bell system still serves a purpose in the rambling three-story villa. When the signal under the word “Madame” flashes, it usually signifies that it is time to take the countess her breakfast tray. Bells labeled “Chambre Rouge,” “Chambre Jaune,” and “Chambre Bleu” summon the staff to eight guest rooms, each with a different Moroccan motif, a sunken marble bathtub, well-worn rugs, and a fireplace. “Loge” is the wood-paneled card room. And “Secret” (for “Secretaire”) is the library, where Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt sat down for further talks after the Casablanca Conference in January of 1943. “Churchill was so moved by the sight of the snow-capped Atlas from the villa roof, he persuaded the president to allow himself to be taken out of his wheelchair and carried up,” the countess recalls. “It was dusk. The mountains were blood red and the muezzins had begun to call the faithful to prayer. It was one of the deepest moments in the two friends’ lives.” Today, the Countess de Breteuil climbs the same three stair-cases up to her roof several times a day, alone. From morning until evening, she has never grown tired of her view. “C’est ma promenade,” she says, and smiles.
A Moroccan Folly
U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Frederick Vreeland, and his wife, artist Vanessa Somers, once lived in Rome. But they vacationed in Marrakesh, where they have built, are still building, and insist they will always be building Villa Cafrevan in the Palmeraie, or palm oasis. Inside and out, it is a blend of Indian, Moroccan, Italian, and 1001 Nights architecture whose unconventionality has amazed all of Marrakesh for years. The rambling, adobe funhouse, designed by French solar architect Dominic Michelis, is multileveled and contains endless grand salons, Petit’s salons, nooks, crannies, grottoes, stair-cases, landings, hideaways, and balconies. There are eight theme bed-rooms—Jungle, Bonsai, Nursery, and Tantra among them—and twelve baths. Surrounded by acres of palms, umbrella pines from Italy, litchi trees from China, and mango trees from Florida, the villa’s first non-Moroccan surprise is a columned entryway. It is a replica of Borromini’s famed trompe l’oeil loggia in the Palazzo Spada in Rome. “Vanessa and I don’t take ourselves seriously. We love things that fool the eye, that has humor, that shows a bit of eccentricity,” Vreeland explains. The villa’s exterior definitely lives up to its two owners’ whimsical, eclectic demands. There are Moghul-style cupolas, chimneys, and windows copied from the fabled city of Fatehpur Sikri in India; purposely half-ruined adobe walls with the white checker-board design are reminiscent of Moroccan kasbahs; heavy white canvas caidalstyle curtains hang in doorways. A protégé of Professor Odoardo Anselmi, head of the Vatican School of Mosaics, Somers de-signed the villa’s swimming pool and personally laid thousands of Murano glass and Carrara marble mosaics at the bottom. Shimmer-frig beneath the surface is an Italy-Moroccan landscape reminiscent of the work of Claude Lorrain.
A Former Harem
An American from Missississippi, designer Bill Willis moved to Morocco from Europe, where he worked in the 1960s. Among the first foreigners to settle deep in the Marrakesh medina, Willis bought and restored Dar Noujoun, House of the Stars, on the Rue Sebaatourigel. The harem of a royal palace, it is next to an Arab cemetery where the stern warning Interdit Aux Non-Muslemans (“For-bidden to Non-Moslems”) is painted forbiddingly on a crumbling wall. Known for his skill in adapting traditional high-style Hispano-Moorish architecture to Western tastes, the multitalented expatriate triggered a revival. Over the last twenty years, he has designed new and restored old properties throughout Marrakesh for a roster of clients that includes the Paul Gettys, Alain Delon, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, and Marie-Helene de Rothschild. He also serves as a design consultant to members of the royal family of Morocco. Entered through a nondescript alley and up an inside stair with risers of glazed blue, black, and yellow tiles, Willis’s own retreat is well known to hundreds of visitors to Morocco. Round-the-clock invitations to lunch, dinner, or cocktails allow friends and friends of friends to see one of the most superb restorations of a residence in Morocco. First-time viewers are immediately struck by the house’s fanciful Moroccan tile fireplaces and shiny tadelakt walls, both Willis trademarks. Originally used in hammams, or baths, tadelakt is a Moroccan wall treatment that combines plaster, sand, and natural coloring, polished to a high sheen with smooth stones and hand soap. Tadelakt walls in oxblood, rust, gray, tan, and yellow are especially popular in Marrakesh. But Willis’s acclaimed courage with color extends to the aubergine, turquoise, mustard, crimson, navy blue, and green trim that outlines several doors along an entrance hall. The hall leads to a living room lit by candles at night, scented with sandalwood, and filled with Moroccan and European antiques. “When I first saw the room, which is twenty by twenty feet, I was amazed to realize it was square, not long and narrow like most Moroccan rooms. It was enough to make me buy the house,” Willis recalls. In the dining room, exposed layers of very thin bricks are alternate shades of mustard, burgundy, and beige. A dining table at Western height reveals Willis’s refusal to sit cross-legged on the floor Moroccan-style. “I did it for years, but I’m back to my old American ways,” he admits. “Tradition is fine, but it is the comfort that counts.”
Unlike many nations, Morocco has kept alive its centuries-old arts and crafts. In fact, the country’s current craft renaissance began under King Hassan II, who reigned from 1961 to 1999, and who promoted a worldwide focus on Moroccan design. A visit to the much-lauded Tishka Hotel, designed by Tunis-born architect Charles Boccara and opened in 1986, reveals some of the finest examples of Moroccan artistic skills. The interior is designed by American Bill Willis who lives in Marrakesh, and whose clients are located around the globe. Ceiling and wall decoration, furniture, fireplaces, hardware, dinnerware, light fixtures, lanterns, fabrics-everything in the Tishka’s public rooms and guest rooms have come from the multi-talented and widely acclaimed designer, who also skillfully directed their manufacture in Morocco.
“BALEK, BALEK!” “MAKE WAY, MAKE WAY!” Cries are heard as mule trains weave through souks, or markets, in every small village and large town in Morocco. They are all things to all people. A labyrinth of small shops, a souk is a boutique, flea market, recycling center, supermarket, department store, open-air reception with receiving line, circus, sideshow, and mob scene all at the same time. Shaded by loose reed mat “ceilings” that slash the air with dusty shadows and bright bars of scorching sunlight, the serpentine alleys and dead ends of a souk are lined with shops, each with its own specialty: rugs, copperware, furniture, kitchenware, silk tassels, herbal medicines, slippers, and antique windows and doors. Burlap bags overflow with cardamom, cumin, and coriander. There are mounds of mint, pickled olives, and dates. Wooden crates spill over with citrus. Fresh loaves of bread arc stacked up like poker chips. Clothing racks dip low from the weight of men’s djellabas and bur-nooses and women’s caftans. The souk in Fez is the oldest, most medieval, most replete with traditional Moroccan handicrafts. With the largest selection of fine rugs, antique Berber jewelry, and pots from the Sahara, the souk in Marrakesh is the most frenzied and most touristy. The Marrakesh souk also offers a good deal more than shopping. Here each evening, entertainers turn the Place Djemaa El Fna into one of the greatest shows on earth. Sorcerers, comedians, story-tellers, wrestlers, boxers, snake charmers, and acrobats join forces to produce a ten-ring circus, one that has been going on daily for centuries. “In the beginning,” it is said, “there was the Djemaa El Fna.”
The first-time visitor to Morocco may be dazzled by the colorful and courageous combinations of tiles, plasterwork, and painted surfaces on walls, doors, shutters, ceilings, and floors in private houses and hotels as well as in the arches and on pathways leading into buildings. But Moroccans have traditionally relied on the decoration of walls, ceilings, and floors to “furnish” a house. A proverb explains why Moroccans have always made the courtyards, reception rooms, and living areas of their homes rich in ornate details. They are adherents of the belief that “the first thing one should own is home; and it is the last thing one should sell, for a home is one’s tomb this side of heaven.” This combines with the belief of Abu `Ivan, a 14th-century homeowner: “That which is beautiful is not dear at any cost, and that which pleases man cannot be too expensive.”
Moroccans are master of painted wood and gypsum, or plaster of Paris, surfaces. Following the Prophet’s command not to depict humans, they paint trees, elaborate and stylized flower bouquets, ingeniously varied motifs of sinuous vines, leaf-shaped arabesques, and inanimate objects. Ornate, colorful, abstract Islamic designs with strong mathematical symmetry are rendered b, artists who seek to transport viewers into a state of uplifted thought. Berber painters too are adept at painting on wood. Rich in symbolism and conveying ancient mystical messages, Berber painted surfaces are abstract; and because Berbers are less likely to adhere to the strictures of Islamic design, their painted surfaces are a great deal more personal and often combine unexpected colors. Firm believers that a wooden piece is not finished until it is covered with decorations, Moroccan homeowners and designers keep the country’s Zawwaca, or painters on wood, in heavy demand. Each job is different. Like their ancestors, Moroccan Zawwaga today spend weeks, even months, working on wooden cupolas, al-coves, doors, and ceilings in private houses and new hotels. Like all skilled craftsmen and artisans in Morocco, painters work under a Maallem, or master craftsman. Some stand up while painting; others sit cross-legged. They hold their brushes, which are made out of hair from donkey tails, vertically, their wrists supported by their left hands to allow fingers to be completely supple. Colors are applied first; the outlines that emphasize contours come later. To the distress of purists, the natural, vibrant egg-yolk-based colors of the past reminiscent of the brilliance seen in medieval manuscripts have given way to the strident colors of modern-day chemical paints. Workers in gypsum or plaster of Paris are equally respected in Morocco for their technical and artistic skills. After a specialist has drawn endlessly repeated motifs of squares, circles, triangles, stylized stars, almonds, flowers, even scallop shells, plasterwork artists, or Ghabbar, carve reliefs in four or five layers, both on the surface of a wall and in hollowed-out details that vary in depth. Plaster of Paris in Morocco is either left its natural eggshell color or polychromed in vibrant primary colors.
Decorative as well as structural and architectural, Moroccan handmade tiles arc among the most colorful in the world. De-rived from Byzantine and Roman mosaics, zelliges, or wall tiles, arc Morocco’s great specialty, both in the skill with which they are made and because of the expertise with which they are laid. Traditionally, they have been used for inside decoration in wall panels, staircases, archways, and columns. Today, foreign designers order zelliges to be made in their own colors and shapes and use them in tables, fireplaces, picture frames, even chairs. Moroccan tile production has long been centered in Fez. Adhering to the centuries-old process, local clay is thrown into basins carved in the ground and is then mixed with water. After a twenty-four-hour stabilizing period, an ajjan, or mixer, kneads the clay. He eliminates any stones, bits of wood, or other foreign dements. Next, a Fakkkhar, or work-man, molds the clay into rectangular slabs that arc dried in the sun, coated with different colored glazes, and fired. The ovens are heated with wood, grasses, and crushed olive pits, and the temperature inside will reach eight hundred degrees. The unique aspect of making zelliges begins next. A designer traces the outline of the pieces to be cut out of the tile slab. He makes his design with an Ud el Khizran, or bamboo stick dipped in ink. Andre Paccard displays more than 350 different shapes and sizes in his book Traditional Islamic Craft in Moroccan Architecture. Some are so small, 150 can fit on a matchbook cover.
The final and most delicate step is the actual cutting out of the zelliges from the slab. This is the work of a Taksir, or tile cutter, who uses a hammer that has been sharpened on both sides. Filed smooth and sorted according to shape, size, and color, the zelliges are then taken to the job site and laid into patterns by a Maallem. Traditional patterns, with such evocative names as hen’s feet, di-vided tears, little tambourine, and heifer’s eyes, are most common. But contemporary adaptations of traditional Islamic designs are beginning to be introduced. Regard-less, the patterns must always conform to the Islamic geometric grid. The result is that Moroccan tile designs cannot be judged by the originality of the design but by the combinations of colors and the flair with which the Maallem has depicted crescents, triangles, stars, lozenges and squares.
A Contemporary Renovation
Moroccans and foreigners alike are rediscovering Tangier’s centuries-old international appeal. Ideally located for weekend excursions across the Mediterranean to nearby Spain, the city offers a unique Moroccan-European life-style. Former king, Hassan II renovated a palace in Tangier. So too has a princess from the Middle East. Add to the list Mina and Salah Balafrej from Rabat. Expatriate American designer Stewart Church helped the couple reinterpret an existing modern house on Sharf Hill, overlooking the harbor. With Church’s renovation, it has become one of Morocco’s most dramatic contemporary private residences. Of special significance are the ‘houses’ windows, doors, and latticework. Here it is clear that con-temporary homeowners are beginning to embellish their houses’ exteriors. Knowing that Moroccans in the 19th century were fond of bright colors, the Church convinced the Balafrejs to look back in time and be equally bold. The house’s formal Moroccan reception room with its striking red Tadelakt walls is a tour de force of neo-Islamic design. Other rooms contain Moroccan and European furniture arrangements—new and old—which combine to make the Balafrej house one of the freshest and sophisticated mixes of traditional Moroccan and Western design in the country.
A bit of Old England
In the late 1940’s, David Herbert, son of the fifteenth earl of Pembroke, moved permanently from Wilton, his ancestral home in England, to Tangier. The doyen of the city’s international foreign colony, he remembers the 1950s and 1960s, when Tangier was a mecca for hedonists anxious to experience the go-for-broke pleasures of North Africa; and he appreciates that times have changed. Tangier is now a quiet haven for cosmopolites grateful to live comfortably and privately—in Morocco yet within sight of Europe. Caroubia, Herbert’s rambling two-story Provençal-style pink house—with shutters painted a startling Matisse turquoise—was the retreat of the 19th-century mystic Sidi Amar. It is set in La Montaigne, a popular residential area where the king and several foreign princes and princesses have palaces. One passes through arched Moroccan doorways into what is otherwise a very European household. Like other Tangier houses owned by European expatriates who surrounded themselves with the familiar, Caroubia makes few concessions to its Moroccan location. Indeed, Herbert’s cozy, chintz-filled rooms are full of mainly English furniture as well as paintings by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Augustus John, Cecil Bea-ton, Claudio Bravo, and Rex Whistler. The 18th- and 19th-century English chairs, sofas, bureaus, picture and mirror frames are gilded, lacquered, and often carved. “Directoire, regency, rococo, and chinoiserie—I love them all. It’s hard to choose,” says Herbert. The surprise is the palette. Walls of egg-yolk yellow, lime green, and Rajastan pink all testify to Herbert’s exuberant style. “White is so boring,” he confides.
Beneath Morocco’s cloudless blue skies are bone-white towns and multicolored fishing ports. The same landscape can be a tapestry of bright wildflowers in spring and a monotonous carpet of stubble in summer. Stalls in the souks spill over with multihued fruits and vegetables. Woven baskets mix colors that clash brilliantly. Tiles offer a kaleidoscope of color. Tradition-steeped artisans in Morocco continue to demonstrate an innate color sense as compelling today as it was to Matisse in the early 20th century. Palace throne rooms, Berber houses in the Atlas, bolts of cloth in Chaouen, sugar cones wrapped in paper, women’s veils and caftans, men’s leather slippers—there is color everywhere in Morocco. It is in tiles, in fabrics, and on walls, shutters, and doors. Subtle and soft, bold and bright, color is part of Morocco’s magic.
Certain landmark buildings in the world do not need street addresses; everyone knows where and what they are. La Mamounia is one of them. Say the name and travelers’ eyes instantly light up. They know it is a hotel in Marrakesh, an acclaimed hotel with an astonishing history, a Moorish-style hotel with Art Deco features, a hotel with phenomenal gardens. For those fortunate enough to check into La Mamounia, it is a step back into Moroccan history. The story begins in the 18th century when an extraordinary park outside the kasbah in Marrakesh—one of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities—was given as a wedding present to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his parents Sultan Sidi Muhammad and Lalla Fatima. Named after the prince, Arset el Mamoun was famous for its beauty and for the frequent festivities that were held there to entertain royal guests.
It became clear in the 1920s that Marrakesh needed a glamorous hotel to host European travelers. The park was the obvious site. Under the direction of European architects, La Mamounia was built by French, Italian and Moroccan craftsmen to showcase the finest Moroccan and Art Deco design and furniture. Its doors opened in 1923, and guests have included film stars, royalty, and heads of state. Regularly renovated over the last half-century, La Mamounia has mercifully maintained its historic integrity. Burled wood and marquetry panels appear throughout the dimly lit lobby. Stepping from the hotel’s mirrored dark-wood and glass elevators, guests open doors to rooms that are reminiscent of a pasha’s palace. A night in the Churchill Suite evokes a more Anglo-Saxon atmosphere. In homage to Sir Winston, who was a frequent guest, an easel displays a replica of one of his many paintings of the hotel’s famous gardens. Sprawled across 20 acres, cared for by 34 full-time gardeners and designed in formal Moroccan style, La Mamounia’s semitropical gardens intoxicate strollers with blossoming orange and lemon trees, thousands of rose bushes, and masses of bright mimosa. Nightingales and turtledoves nest in the palm trees that line the pathways between herbaceous gardens planted with stock, snap-dragons, and hollyhocks. Over the top of the bougainvillea-covered walls, the distant, snowcapped mountains of the High Atlas provide an impressive backdrop to this North African Shangri-la.
bright blue. Antique Moroccan doors inside the house reemphasize the Levys’ insistence on historic local authenticity. With herringbone floors of terra-cotta, burnt umber, and olive-colored baby bricks, the living room has coffee tables made from native thuya wood from Essaouira. Off-white muslin is used both for curtains and to cover modem sofas. The “Berber country” look continues in an adjacent guest-house. Entered through dazzling blue doors, bedrooms full of antique handpainted furniture are off an all-white courtyard the floor of which is covered with bright yellow-and-blue tiles. “The house is exactly what we wanted. It is barefoot, Moroccan country,” the Levys are happy to “The way we live in Marrakesh is a happy Casablanca and Paris.”
A North African Paradise
The Villa Oasis. The name is perfect, ring the bell, wait the hot sun for the elderly retainer to swing open the gate, step inside out of the sight and sound of honking traffic, chattering pedestrians, and yelling vendors. Instantly, the cacophony of teeming Marrakesh is gone, replaced by serenity, a peace, and astonishing beauty. You are inside the walls of the world-famous Moroccan hideaway of Paris couturier Yves Saint Laurent and his business partner Pierre Berge. Born and brought up in Algiers, Saint Laurent’s life-long passion for Islamic culture burst into architectural and horticultural bloom when he and Berge bought the former villa and garden of French artist Jacques Majorelle. Madly in love with Marrakesh and all things Moroccan, Majorelle arrived in the country in 1917 and remained until his death in 1962. Soon afterward, Saint Laurent and Berge with the help of Marrakesh designer Bill Willis and Parisian designer Jacques Granges set about restoring the 1924 villa into a Marrakesh bolt hole of magnificent design, which includes Islamic-inspired pieces by Saint Laurent and Willis. Furniture, fabrics, paintings, rugs, ceilings, doorways everything in the villa is a statement to an arrestingly exotic taste set off by dazzling surroundings.
It is the adjacent Majorelle Garden, however, that most people exclaim over. Open to the public, it is a one-acre North African botanical paradise that has been restored and expanded by Saint Laurent with breathtaking daring. The garden’s bougainvillea-covered adobe walls, Moorish-and Art Deco-inspired buildings, and raised flowerbeds of nasturtiums are painted a strong hard blue, known as “bleu Majorelle.” Large terracotta pots, painted pale yellow, green and blue and spilling over with flamingo-colored geraniums, are strategically placed along crisscrossing paths of beaten red earth and tile steps that are colored hot blue and chili green. Carp and goldfish streak through pools full of water lilies and papyruses. Dappled sunlight comes and goes through the luxuriant swaying foliage of towering and often rare bamboo, palm trees, agaves, and cacti.
The Modern Casablanca Morocco
The city of Casablanca was given its much-deserved spotlight in the film similar to the city’s name featuring Hollywood star Humphrey Bogart. The place’s actual establishment was in 1906 and had a populace of roughly 20,000 individuals. At present, the city prides its populace of more than 4 million and, as the main reflection of the Kingdom of Morocco, it takes after a Southern European city more than whatever remains of the urban areas in the nation itself. Casablanca is presumably the most liberal and dynamic of the greater part of Morocco’s urban areas and it is normal to see young ladies clad in branded products and men brandishing suit, ties, and satchels.
Otherwise called Dar el Baida or just Casa, the city of Casablanca is the capital city of Morocco. It is the primary passageway and exit for most travel guests to the nation, whether coming from Europe or the United States of America. With a lot of spots to settle on any budget plan inside and around the city, guests will discover it a great vacation spot that includes some shopping, food adventures, a lot of nightlife and a considerable measure of unwinding.
The modern Casablanca is the country’s center in all means except ceremonial. The booming city is the nation’s biggest, with a populace running to 4 million, the dominant part of whom are just first or second era occupants. Casa, as the city is famously called, is the new city, having developed from a little town with less than a thousand populations just 150 years back. The pilgrims are coming even up to present, drawn by the desire for finding a vacation, lodging, and a superior life than what provincial Morocco can offer. Some successfully make their fortune and the better standard of living on Casa’s boulevards and in it’s in vogue bars and foodie hangouts give the impression of a city in southern Europe.
For explorers, modern and cosmopolitan Casa never disappoint. The veil is hardly observed here, and the blending of men and ladies is the most open of anyplace in the country. With its little medina without any of the unusual environment of the nation’s better-known old urban communities and a shortage of sights bar the fabulous Hassan II Mosque, numerous explorers go through Casa with just a short peek or even avoid the city totally. The individuals, who stay, in any case, discover the city develops on them, offering a decent selection of fine eateries, a couple of spots to relax and appreciate a drink, and a buzz of a city stepping forward.
Tourists from N. America or Europe will not likely to encounter any problem in the city. Aside from the fact that Casablanca, being the main population center and heart of trade, most of the area is less than fifty years old and might simply be confused with LA or Madrid. In Morocco, food is very much like European taste, with pizzas and hamburgers as frequent as tajines and couscous. In other parts of the city like Maarif and Gironde districts, getting a glimpse of a man in a djellaba or a donkey pulling a cart of vegetables are uncommon. If even the trappings of Moroccan culture such as these are too much for you, any hotel bar or restaurant is going to be just like home for a few hours.
The easygoing explorer, generally limited to the downtown area, won’t be presented to quite a bit of this inner conflict. Traveler and business leader Mohamed Dekkak of Morocco stated that Casablanca’s downtown area is encountering a mini-boom, with new inns going up, old ones being revamped, and a perpetually growing food scene. There’s most likely Casablanca does not have the appeal of some different urban areas and districts, yet taken for what it is, this present-day city could be viewed as a genuine impression of today’s Morocco.