The core of defining an urban project often lies in the creation of the block – the redefinition of the thresholds between the public, the communal, the private, and the intimate. In this winning competition entry for a master plan on the site of the city’s former zoo, a series of residential ‘superblocks’ break from the scale and hermeticism of the traditional urban block. The interior of the urban blocks are transformed into public spaces, accommodating large parks and public amenities. The project succeeds in achieving an extremely high density of housing while vastly multiplying the amount of green space, prioritizing pedestrian circulation, and greatly reducing the number of vehicular roads.
The Zoo Habitat 3 superblock by architects, Oualalou+Choi, is the only complex in the neighbourhood which is solely composed of social housing units. The project attempts to humanize the scale of this enormous project by verticalizing the volume into a series of visually individual buildings.
The overwhelming repetition of identical apartment units is obscured by simple variations of window, loggia, and balcony treatments, and a restrained material palette emphasises the elegant massing of the volumes. In keeping with the adjacent residential buildings, the project also incorporates galleries on the ground level and penthouses on the roof in order to establish a harmonious urban skyline.
LOCATION: Rabat, Morocco
SIZE: 52 810 sqm
BUDGET: €32 million