Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

The CasArts by Christian Portzamparc is the winning proposal of the international architectural competition where the challenge was to breathe life into the vast institutional square and give a contemporary twist to its classical composition. This winning project gives the impression of being composed of several detached houses, like a medina in the city. Instead of an autonomous architectural object, heroic and unambiguous, this fluid ensemble defies symmetry without opposing it, inviting visitors to enter the shadow of another interior universe through several slim, appealing gaps and entrances leading to a vast and lofty cross-cutting public gallery composed of curved red staffs.

Outside, the gaps in the pure whiteness of the architecture draw visitors into the shady interior, the twilight of the passage and its entry point, where one comes to sit in cafés refreshed by natural ventilation. A moucharaby terracotta and resin shear wall floats along the square’s buildings. At the center, one of the houses forms a large entrance, an exceptional entry point and a shelter from the sun. It is also an outdoor theater: when the doors open, the stage appears and the public in the square becomes the audience. CasArts is a transformable urban scenographic device. The facade is already a stage.

The 1,800-seat main hall is designed to host musical concerts, theater plays and various other large-scale performances. It has the same curved piles as those bordering the grand entrance gallery, which here support fan-shaped balconies. It reinterprets the horse shoe opera shape, while respecting the qualities of frontal vision, and seats a larger number of spectators.

When built, CasArts will be the biggest theater venue in Africa.

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

Casablanca, Christian Portzamparc, theater, architectural competition, first prize, natural ventilation, passive systems, CasArts

 

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