The site of the Taragalt Ecolodge is located in southern Morocco, in the Saharan oasis of M’hamid Elghizlane. At the end of the lush Draa Valley and adjacent to hostile Saharan dunes, the area was a part of the old caravan trade route between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mediterranean shore. The project is multi-performative as it tackles the issues of desertification and social and economic development.
When it is completed, it will be operated by the local NGO, Zaila, which runs campaigns to sensitize local and tourist populations to environmental issues within the region. The project will create places for tourists to stay, a cultural center, an exhibition area, a restaurant, a craft center, and a palm tree museum. Architecture and planning are integrated with the landscape strategy, whose main goal is to prevent sand from advancing into the oasis. One example of this strategy is in the architecture of the individual lodge/rooms: it not only provides shelter from the heat but also acts as the berm that nurtures the growth of tamarix trees, which has the capacity to stabilize sand, and optimizes the catchement of rainfall.
The inhabitants of the local village will be empowered to utilize their skill and knowhow to create and operate various components of this local enterprise. Products will be developed in collaboration with Butterfly Works, who will bring together young designers with the local craftsmen.
The Taragalt Ecolodge is made possible by the Jeffrey Cook Memorial Fund and Oxfam International.
Team: Aziza Chaouni, Takako Tajima, Moushira El Amrawi (Bureau E.A.S.T.) | Halim Sbai | Liat Margolis | Zaila | Sahara Roots | SMIT | Butterfly Works