Recording and Documentation of Earthen Architectural Heritage of Morocco
M’Hamid, the most remote in the Draa Valley, Southern Morocco, features one of the best preserved examples of ksour, vernacular earthen settlements surrounded by high defensive walls and reinforced by corner towers. Built on a fishbone pattern, ksour enclose tightly knit courtyard houses as well as community buildings and spaces such as mosques, souqs and gates. Outside are the palm tree groves, often punctuated by marabouts, shrines marking the burial place of a Muslim holy man or hermit.
Ouled Driss is the largest and most populous village in the oasis. Its entrance gates are the most important in the oasis, due to their design, size and detailed decoration. There is a wide space between the two gates that functions as a square where the souq used to be held in the past. The size of this space indicates the ksar’s most important commercial role.
About the project
Since 2017 ArCHIAM has been collaborating with Terrachidia, a Spanish cultural organization active in the preservation and dissemination of M’Hamid’s rich cultural heritage, by contributing to their workshops Restoration, Recording and Documentation of Earthen Architectural Heritage through training in documentation methods for vernacular earthen settlements and talks in heritage development principles and approaches, and participatory design strategies and methods. In the Ouled Driss settlement the documentation campaign has resulted in the recording of the main gate and street frontage, three internal streets and a gate, the souq and one dwelling, through the production of measured plan, section and elevation sketches.
Field sketches have been later developed into visualisations, 2D rendered drawings and 3D digital models which were exhibited at the Liverpool School of Architecture on 3rd July 2017 as part of the Preserving Heritage, Empowering Communities event.