Desert House

As the Moroccan government cannot answer all the demand for affordable housing, the public sector often subsidizes low income housing projects, especially in areas where shortages are most critical, such as in the southern desert regions of Morocco. The two young developers of this project were conscious that the viability of constructing in such arid climates depends on introducing sustainable design solutions. Thus, they wanted to investigate the possibility of developing a low income house which could be mostly self sufficient while providing for flexibility and a certain level of comfort.

We were asked to propose a houseprototype for a site located in a very dry, semi-arid zone in the South of Morocco in the city of Ouarzazate. We began by researching the typologies of vernacular architecture in arid regions and mapped the methods by which they create cool habitable space, generate natural ventilation and passive energy transfer. We then investigated modern techniques to maximize solar energy usage, through devices such as the solar compost toilet and the solar oven.

A hybridization of old and new sustainable techniques, and of affordable, yet highly insulating local building materials (earth and wool fabric), resulted in the first prototype. Two additional prototypes are currently being designed.


Team: Aziza Chaouni (ACP)