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Royal Palace Conservation

On the eve of the Arab Spring, the king decided to open one his oldest palaces for the st time to the public, and share its arts collections. The chosen palace was asked to transform two of its buildings into an ancient weapons museum. Meknes has been called the Versailles of Morocco, but its grand scheme for a royal palace was never completed. In the 11th century, the Almohad dynasty came to the area along with Islam and gave to Meknes its name. They established a military post and built a citadel. Building upon the citadel, a royal palace was erected during the rule of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who reigned for 55 years (1672-1727). The Sultan turned Meknes into an impressive walled city with Spanish-Moorish features as he blended the Islamic and European styles. Today, the Royal Palace of Meknes is not often used and has fallen into disarray after a thoughtless rehabilitation in the 1980’s, which has damaged its structure and architectural ornaments. The architectural jewels of the Royal Palace are, without doubt, its two cupolas erected in 1650. These cupolas crown one royal meeting room and one throne room. The king Mohammed the VI attends once a year the agricultural fair in Meknes and uses the two cupola rooms during his visit. One of our main tasks was to rehabilitate the two cupolas. Our approach was to remove the concrete additions made in the 1980’s and restore the cupolas using traditional building techniques which include clay bricks and a wood structure.

 

Team: Aziza Chaouni, Abdou Handa, Johann Petersmann, Mounir El Yacoubi (ACP) | Bennani Khalid (Structural Engineer) | NPR (Geotechnical Engineer and Lab) | Design Andalous (Building Consultant)