Hotel Merinides

In this invited competition, the client asked 5 firms to propose ideas for the transformation of the Merinides hotel into a boutique hotel. The client gave two options: either to destroy the building and propose a new hotel, or to adapt the existing hotel.

We chose to re-use the existing hotel, which was built in the late 1960’s by the architect Duhon and has become a landscape for the city. Half of the original hotel’s rooms faced the medina views, whereas the other half faced the Zalagh mountain chains. One of the main challenges was to fit the 50 required rooms within the exiting structure, with as little demolition as possible.

Also, adding new programs such as a gourmet restaurant and a spa was a hard task given the small footprint of the existing hotel. To do so, we added an new building in an L shape that wraps around the existing hotel, clearly differentiating betwen restored and new construction

The strategy was to provide rooms that spanned the whole width of the building while keeping the existing façade with its protruding boxes and wrap them with a mousharrabieh metal pattern. Additions were added along the northern façade and on top of the building. Those new volumes were also wrapped with a mousharrabieh metal skin, reminiscent of the traditional craft of the medina. Throughout the building we proposed a series of galleries, a program which is missing in the city of Fez.

The hill on top of which sits the building and which was previously unused was transformed into a series of terraces infused with outdoors programs and integrating water collecting and distributing systems.

The rooms and lobby funiture were designed in collaboration with Rick Owen and Tord Boontje Studio.


Team: Takako Tajima, Aziza Chaouni, Carolyn Matsumoto, Zineb Alaoui, Bassima Jazouli (Bureau E.A.S.T) | David Fletcher (Landscape Architecture) | Rick Owen (Lobby Furniture Consultant) | Tord Boontje (Light Fixtures Consultant) | Transsolar (Mechanical and Climate Engineer) | Ojdrovic Engineering Inc. (Structural Engineer) | Nenad Katic (3d Specialist)