Image Source: Hui Xu, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13
Location: Tangier, Morocco
Research: UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2012/13
A series of employment-led interventions with varied programmes are strategically inserted to strong catalytic effect.
The interventions focus around the Tanger Morora station and the adjacent industrial zone in the east of Tangier which sits between several non-regulated settlements. The area centres around a flood-afflicted valley with steep surrounding topography. The proposed platforms address the need to create occupiable flat terrain to support new programmes at scales larger than the domestic.
With improved road and rail connections within Morocco and to Europe the station will become of increasing logistical importance for the transfer of goods. The area is also set to undergo considerable growth of the existing industrial activity as a result of its connection to the new Free Zones and Tanger Med port. The non-regulated settlements provide much of the work force for the industrial area and continue to undergo explosive growth.
The interventions are at a variety of scales and double as new infrastructure, movement and community nodes providing a phased programme of radiating services to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The proposed superstructures are robust enough to allow significant future adaptation, change, and mutation by occupants.
The intervention focuses around the Tanger Morora station and the adjacent industrial zone in the east of Tangier which sits between several Non-Regulated Housing (NRH) settlements. The area centres around a flood-afflicted valley with steep surrounding topography. Proposed large scale ‘platforms’ address the need to create occupiable flat terrain to support new programmes at scales larger than the domestic.
Parallel platforms that respond to the variant hillsides pivot around a large new proposed general market vertically connected to the rail tracks and floodplain below. The edges of each platform create a framework for progressive inhabitation. A capillary system of trading places stretches out from the primary market linking both sides of the valley to this major new ‘terrestrial port’.
Image Source: Christopher Haines, UCL BPro MArch UD RC12 2013/14
The Non-Regulated Housing (NRH) settlements provide much of the workforce for Tangier’s industrial area and continues to undergo explosive growth. This project’s intervention focuses around the eastern region of Tangier where the existing industrial zone sits between several rapidly expanding NRH settlements. The site contains steep topography and a flood afflicted valley.
The proposed platforms address the need to create occupiable flat terrain to support new programmes at a large scale. Spatially the platforms exploit the characteristically vigorous Tangier topography: floor and roof plates collide with hillsides, directly engaging the topography, and provide critical public space, landscape, and civic uses. Provided with a robust superstructure, the platforms are designed to accommodate extensive change and variability in their user occupation over time.
Historically the growth of the NRH settlements has been rapid and without the integration of landscape or urban elements beyond the base housing unit, including utilities or movement infrastructure.
The proposal looks to rethink the framework in which these self-build settlements occupy the elevated terrains within Tangier. Inserted high streets circle existing hilltops like urban balconies, differentiating the summit from the inclined terrain and injecting services, employment and multi-residential units into the existing homogeneity of single houses. Steep new pedestrian spines link the new high streets with the valley-based transport infrastructure below. Located in the voids between settlements, these spines occupy different faces of the vigorous slopes. As well as seeding new housing platforms they knit together adjacent communities and connect services up to the proposed ‘ring streets’ which serve as utilities mains. On the pinnacle of each hill, landscape corridors that thread through the region become ecological parkland for residents farming pigeons and migratory birds crossing from Europe to Africa.