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Joudour Sahara

Cultural Centre 


The Joudour Sahara Cultural Center (JSCC) is a music school and ecotourism center in the town of M'hamid El Ghizlane promoting the safeguarding of oasian heritage at large.  JSCC is a combined effort between local NGO Joudour Sahaar, music experts, the Sahara Roots Foundation (landscape), Aziza Chaouni Projects (architecture), and the Playing for Change Foundation.

The effects of climate change in southern Morocco's M'hamid El-Ghizlane have created waves of urban migration, endangering the centuries-old tribal music culture in the area. The Joudour Sahara Cultural Center employs local musicians to transmit their knowledge to local youth as well as national and international visitors. The Center’s blend of vernacular and cutting-edge sustainable design technologies creates case-studies for locals and eco-tourists. These efforts contribute to local design knowledge and promote profitability and the Center’s self-sufficiency. Additional revenue streams include room rentals in the ecolodge (visiting teachers, students, and tourists), music facility revenue (concert tickets, recording room rental, instrument sale and repair) and crafts (sale of artisan creations, agricultural produce.)


The Joudour Sahara Cultural Center is largely self-sustaining, relying on water collection and storage strategies, and solar power. The only external connection is a seguia (vernacular water canal) which brings a seasonal supply of water from the nearby the Drâa river to the site’s new water reservoir. The reservoir is also supplied with water collected on the roofs of adjacent buildings, and feeds into a solar pump, hand-powered water pump, and drip-irrigation system. Buildings and L shaped walls are oriented to block the encroachment of sand dunes, and to protect users from intense wind gales. The rammed-earth walls with small windows reduce solar gain while allowing for cross-ventilation. Facilities such as composting toilets streamline waste output and minimize the environmental footprint.

Portraits of the students and teachers are by Thomas Duncan. 

Learn more about the musical heritage of the southern Drâa Valley here. 

Learn more about this collaborative design process here. 

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