Can you tell us a bit more about yourselves?
We are three architects, each running our own office and collaborating on some important competitions and commissions.
Born in 1978 in Casablanca, Saad El Kabbaj studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture of Rabat, Morocco, where he graduated in 2003. During his studies, he gained some experience abroad (Greece, Tunisia and Egypt). He opened his office in Casablanca in 2005 and works mainly on residential projects.
Born in 1978 in Fes, Driss Kettani spent his childhood in Côte d’Ivoire before moving to Morocco in 1996 and studying at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture of Rabat, Morocco, where he graduated in 2003. After some collaborations, he opened his office in Casablanca in 2005, working on housing, office projects and design.
Born in 1979 in Casablanca, Mohamed Amine Siana graduated from the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture of Rabat, Morocco, in 2004. He has collaborated with different architects since 2000 and had gained experience abroad before opening his own office in Casablanca in 2005. He works on many different kinds of projects, including interior, housing, health and design. In parallel to their own projects, the three architects have collaborated on some important commissions. Thus, they won the competition of the Polydisciplinar Faculty of Taroudant in 2006 which was completed in 2010, won the second prize for the competition for the Casablanca Grand Stadium with Portuguese partners Risco and LDS in 2011, and are currently working on other educational projects such as the Lycée Lyautey restructuring in Casablanca.
Kabbaj, Kettani and Siana also completed the Guelmim School of Technology in 2011 which is shortlisted for the 2016 Aga Khan Award of Architecture, and the Laayoune School of Technology in 2014, and won the Archmarathon Awards in Education Category in 2015 for the Guelmim project. Their work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Milan, Melbourne and Venice among others, and they have also given lectures in Paris, Venice, Beirut and Morocco.
What do you believe differentiates your work from other practices?
• Our way of working as individuals and a collaborative practice at the same time.
• Working on various scales, from very small projects to important commissions such as universities and stadiums.
• Trying to combine a contemporary approach and thinking of architecture, but deeply rooted and taking from the context its essence.
What would you rate as your five favourite projects to date, and why?
• Taroudant University, our first competition, first win and first project.
• Guelmim School of Technology, where we tried to continue our Taroudant researches based on the context lecture and its modern interpretation.
• The Casablanca Grand Stadium competition, which was a very new challenge for us, with Portuguese partners.
• Laayoune School of Technology, which was the third part of our “Morocco’s South” projects.
• Tan Tan Summer Camp, which was a new typology of research for us.
What do you have in store for the next twelve months?
We are working on the Casablanca French Lycée Lyautey extension with French partners ANMA, on some mixed-use projects in a new urban area in Casablanca, and each one of us on some personal projects, including houses and offices.
What about African architecture and design inspires you?
African design inspires us with the necessity of a deep lecture of the context, in the way that African design and architecture have always been a mirror and an efficient response to a social and cultural identity, climate specificity, use of local resources, etc. We need to understand this way of practicing and use it in a modern and prospective way.
Where do you see African architecture going in the next decade?
In a context of globalization and loss of principles, African architecture can inspire worldwide, a new way of thinking and making architecture, innovative and respectful at the same time. Respectful of culture, nature and humanity.