This proposal integrates the socio-economic development of Place Lalla Yeddouna with the revitalization of the Fez River. This link heightens the presence of the Place in the medina and the role of the river as a catalyst of urban improvement.
Economic strategy: reinvigorating crafts
Through the adjacencies between the workshops, the hotels, and the crafts production complex, the project links the economic, touristic and residential sectors of the city.
Furthermore, stronger continuity between the crafts revival and other industries such as building restoration brings the folkloric crafts closer to new needs. When crafts cannot compete with mass produced factory items, new models are introduced, resulting in the emergence of new design ideas and modes of collaborative practice (like a leather furniture for instance instead of babouche). Through the integration of the crafts with new industries, young designers from Morocco and abroad produce added-value goods.
Geography strategy: a bend in the river
At Lalla Yeddouna, the Fez River bends bringing together the two sides of the medina, (the two cities that historically made up Fez), around the only soft river bed in the whole medina. The proposal celebrates this geographic moment in the plan of the city by amplifying the soft bed into a much needed green space in the city. Bin Lamidoun Bridge acts as the center of this space framed by two new bridges that cross over the river. In that way the project celebrates the efforts of the wilaya and the municipality to bring back the river and to create a new type of open space, the river promenade, along it.
Urban design strategy: three bridges
Parallel to this natural bend is the urban bend of the Place. While preserving its historic role and outline in the medina, the Place Lalla Yeddouna is reconceived as a place of convergence. Its entrances directly extend into the bridges and it mediates between different groups of users. The three bridges help improve the connection between the two sides of the river leading the crowds into the Place and interlacing with the river promenade. They also act as viewing and framing platforms that improve the legibility of the city. The arrival points of the bridges in the Place are flanked by programs that encourage mixing between the different users of the square. Programs such as internet cafes facilitate interaction between tourists, residents, and craftsmen.
Team: Takako Tajima, Aziza Chaouni, Carolyn Matsumoto, Zineb Alaoui, Bassima Jazouli, Youseef Halim, Amanda Chong, Melissa Cao (ACP) | Hashim Sarkis ALUD (Urban Design) | Atelier 3AM (Architect) | Transsolar (Mechanical and Climate Engineer) | Qarqabi (Structural Engineer) | Nenad Katic (3d Specialist)