Today, any productive process has to be rethought, function of eco-conception criteria, by integrating the environmental impact.
Which resources are used? Are they renewable? Are they recyclable?
What is the energetic cost of the production process? How will be the emission of greenhouse gas?
What will be the lifetime of the good or service? Which well-being can it ensure to its users?
What will be its reuse cost?
What will be the final wastes? What will be their lifetime? What are their potential usage?
This approach is an invitation to a global reflexion on human activities. It should lead professionals to rethink their activities and seek improvements by multiple innovations.
The construction trades are particularly concerned.
Buildings are very expensive investments, compulsory for companies, but they mobilise a very high amount of energy during several decades. Beyond aesthetic or comfort, they have to be looked inside their environment, as a key source of greenhouse gas emission (during their construction as much as during their usage), but also as a resource mobilisation (sand and stone quarries, and the wood for the doors and frames) and as an important producer of final wastes (rubble).
A very specific question remains, about eco-renovation.
Is it better to destroy an old building and then generate a double environmental cost (energetical cost of destruction, ultime wastes production, to be added to the whole construction cost), or renovate the building to adapt it to new usages and requirements?
Why the Moroccan traditional constructions have been abandoned and are today so much damaged?
Secondly, the finality of buildings may change. Indeed, the agricultural activities don’t need important storage volumes anymore, the harvests are sold more and more quickly, and the access to the market guarantees a great food security. However, proximity shops have multiplied. The buildings see their ground floor changing; yesterday dedicated to animals and harvests, today they shelter stores and garages.
At the end of the day, the new homes are constructed outside the historical centre, polarised by the road, obeying to new individual logics. In parallel, the ageing of the inhabitants of ancient houses forced them to leave their house that they cannot maintain anymore. The generation effect favoured a very fast phenomenon. In few years, some villages became empty, whereas new houses constituted a new modern district.
Why the Moroccan traditional constructions have been abandoned and are today so much damaged?
The buildings have to be thought as spaces dedicated to a specific usage. During the last 5 decades they have been through many mutations.
Firstly the demographical transition has modified the family composition, especially for the Moroccan couples. The rising life expectancy leads to the ageing of couples in ancient districts, whereas young generations ever more numerous must build their homes outside the historical centre. Moreover, some emigrants decide to build their secondary residences in their village of origin.
Distinguish the building lifecycle and the lifecycle of its materials.
Should we consider the ruin of historical architectures as cases of derelict houses or of material failures?
Traditional materials require a regular upkeep. Each year, after each rain, the owners intensify their little works on the most exposed roofs and walls. Thus, they ensure the buildings durability. Mosques and collective attics have been maintained that way by the communities during several centuries, and are still in usage today.
However, in absence of maintenance, the construction will present its first pathological signs after 6 or 7 years, and then first collapses after twenty years, before a total collapse after 30 years during of a torrential rain.
Indeed, traditional material as stone or ground can be conserved for centuries. Whereas the cement concrete is weakened by the iron framework, oxidised after a few decades. Then rust can break out the cement structures. The lifetime of cement concrete is estimated around 100 years for the better conceived structures.
Think about the building maintenance is the best way to guarantee their durability.
The well-being as goal for public buildings.
Inhabitants need new proximity buildings: health centres, socio-cultural centres, feminine centres, cooperatives, and so on. These buildings receiving a large public have to be conceived as comfortable as possible for their users. Indeed, beyond security and functionality, it matters to ensure a pleasant atmosphere. The main difficulty in rural areas is the excessive summer temperatures, limiting the usage of many public buildings between May and October.
The building should install the air conditioning, but this would correspond to a colossal energetic cost. The alternative is to ensure the biggest thermic inertia possible, by giving to the construction the greater heat resistance. For that, traditional materials have very strong advantages on the cement concrete. The question is then to rethink the relationship between contemporary usages and local materials.
In that context, architecture becomes a technical challenge, and each construction yard an experimentation place
Le chantier comme lieu d'apprentissage et d'innovation
Le défi climatique nécessite que tous les professionnels revoient leur mode d'approche de l'architecture. Au moment de la conception, ils doivent envisager à toutes les possibilités techniques selon le contexte local en optimisant le coût financier et environnemental de la construction.
Cependant, c'est surtout dans la mise en œuvre, au moment du chantier que tout se joue, car les spécificités locales s'imposent. L'entreprise doit alors surmonter un certain nombre de contraintes techniques indispensables à la pérennité du bâtiment. Tous les professionnels impliqués doivent ajuster le projet pour assurer une durabilité la plus longue possible
Ainsi, le chantier devient un lieu d'apprentissage pour les ouvriers, les chefs de chantier, les ingénieurs, les architectes. Tous renforcent leurs compétences professionnelles. La démultiplication des chantiers permet alors une circulation des savoirs et des savoir-faire entre tous les acteurs. C'est ainsi que peuvent se généraliser de nouvelles pratiques.
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Oasis and architecture, a consubstantial relationship
An oasis is a human infrastructure, build by man. The land is irrigated, fertilised, protected against erosion. The vegetal species are strictly selected. Historically, there is a real complementarity between the oasis and the habitations. The Oasiens are in same time farmers and constructors. The stones and ground extracted from the fields are used as foundations and supporting walls.
In the same way, the palm trees wood and the laurel branches serve to carpentry and ceilings. Thus, the oldest palm trees (too high and unproductive) are cut and reused for the construction.
Today, for the future construction sites, we wish to recreate this historical and ecological link, by establishing a partnership between an Oasien agricultural cooperative and a construction firm.
Collective attics: the resilience symbol for Moroccan agricultural economies
The collective attics demonstrate the capacity of the rural Moroccan societies to resist to climate change. These buildings have allowed generations of farmers to store their harvest, and overcome dry years by storing fruits of the best years.
These are models for bioclimatic architecture, providing a constant temperature and above all a permanent ventilation of the seeds. These were being conserved several years without loosing their ability to be planted.
Lastly, these architectures attest of the intelligence of societies where new architectural forms have been created with local constraints, using, depending on the site, stones or ground, in a singular and optimal implementation.
They are the product of communities thinking about the durable management of their goods. Today, they are the witnesses of a constructive genius, who shall be considered like an inspiration source on adaptation capacity and resilience towards change.
Interest of memory places to rebuild a public space.
Beyond material and architectural heritages, the intangible heritage of friendliness.
The historical places constitute an interface where can be developed spaces of well-being and sociability. The inhabitants keep a memory of those places, and a symbolic attachment with them. A ruined place is not necessarely forgotten.
Thus, the collective attics without agricultural utility, have been left untouched, and are still visited by people coming from big towns or from abroad. They represent an ancient time based on an ideal of collective management.
In the same way, the fortified door of the village (ksours) cross the ages as a meeting place and a passage place. Today, it’s important to revitalise nearby squares, dedicated to the collective activities. Also, specific sites like sources, are still considered as highly attractive. Often, they were welcoming, and still today they welcome festive moments such as the maarouf, a collective feminine meal. They are also used for chants and collective dances.
The public area is not only a space open to everybody. Before all, it is a space available for anybody. There is an important need of constructions designed for the elders, for women and children of the district who have a reduced mobility, and who need to find near from their homes a place of conviviality.
Sitographie & bibliographie
Quelques exemples d’écoconstruction à travers un monde émergent :
Hassan Fathy est un pionnier en Egypte. Son travail est aujourd’hui considéré comme un élément du patrimoine mondial.
Hassan Fathy, Construire avec le peuple: Histoire d'un village d'Egypte : Gourna, Sète, Actes Sud/Bibliothèque arabe, 4 juin 1999, 5e éd. (ISBN 978-2742708079)
Francis Kéré a multiplié les architectures bioclimatiques à vocation sociale au Burkina Faso, Kenya et Tanzanie.
Whang Shu est le premier architecte chinois salué par le Pritzkerprice pour son travail proche de l’environnement.
Studio Mumbai propose une relecture des procédés constructifs en Inde.
Pour une histoire des architectures oasiennes marocaines
JACQUES-MEUNIÉ Djin, Greniers-citadelles au Maroc. Paris : Arts et Métiers graphiques , Publications de l'Institut des hautes études marocaines, LII, 1951.
JACQUES-MEUNIÉ Djin, Architectures et habitats du Dadès. Maroc pré-saharien. Préface de H. Terrasse. Paris, C. Klinsieck, 1962.
NAJI Salima, Le Ksar d’Assa. Sauvegarde d’un port du Maroc saharien. Rabat, DTGSN, 2013.
NAJI Salima, Greniers collectifs de l’Atlas (Patrimoines berbères). Aix-en-Provence, Casablanca, Edisud, La Croisée des Chemins, 2006.
NAJI Salima, Art et architectures berbères (Maroc présaharien), Aix-en-Provence, Casablanca, Edisud, La Croisée des Chemins, 2001.
TERRASSE Henri, Kasbas berbères. De l'atlas et des oasis. Les grandes architectures du Sud marocain, Aix en Provence, Actes Sud Beaux Arts, 2010.