Villa Clymenée
December 13th, 2012


This project is a week-end house for a businessman and musician, located in the outskirts of the city of Marrakech. The site is surrounded by olive tree groves and orchards, and overlooks the Atlas Mountains whose snowcaps contrast with the semi-arid context of Marrakech. In fact, Marrakech is situation at the edge of the Sub-Saharan region of Morocco, and temperature in the summer can reach 50oC while mean annual precipitation is below 1”. Despite these constraints and limited water resources, most new houses in Marrakech use concrete, little insulation, rely on a conditioning and deplete the water table with excessive pumping. As a result, great damage has been inflicted upon the oasis that once surrounded Marrakech: only 15 % of the palm tree canopy remains today, compared to 1960.

We conceived this villa as a counter example to the current building practices in Marrakech. In fact, the project aims to demonstrate that traditional rammed earth construction and passive cooling/ heating systems can offer a great level of comfort while not harming the fragile semi-arid environment of Marrakech.

In order to achieve such sustainability targets, we organized the programs of the house so as to form a series of patios, from which cool air would be drawn, passed in coils underground, then sent to the rooms surrounding the patio. Hot air is excelled thanks to a solar chimney. Each patio has its own identity, but all patios possess a recycled-water feature and a three tiers landscape organization (palm, fruit trees, shrubs/vegetable). The conjunctive action of these two components generates a cool microclimate, which in turn partakes in the passive cooling system of the house. Besides the house .5m wide walls and brise-soleils further keep it cool.

The houses water and electricity are received from the grid, but water for the patio’s water features and the natural swimming pool comes from both a water reservoir and grey water recycling. The architecture of the house appear as blocks emerging from the ground, intertwined with lush patio gardens.


Team: ACP, Lead  (Aziza Chaouni, Johann Petersmann, Radia El Hili, Hannah Tabatabae) | Atelier Anonymous, Landscape Architecture