Emergency Climate Architecture

Designed for COP22’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, our approach with the Ark22 project is set at the crossroads between a light architecture masterwork and monumental art installation.
Located at the former main entrance to Marrakech’s medina, this site is in the Valley of Ourika and at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.
Ark22 is a gate between the desert and the city, embodying the supporting role of architecture to the environment. The project highlights the singular within the whole, emphasizing the importance that each of our actions has on the environmental disasters we are now facing. To reflect this idea, the structure is composed of over ten thousand identical raw wooden boards collected from local, sustainably managed forests, and is designed to generate regulated airflow inside the building. It is a pointillist accumulation of embedded wood timbers, built without nails or screws.

Ark22 explores the limits of Gestalt Theory in architecture. The project’s arches are built by both the physical and the immaterial, by presence and absence; in fact, our brain attempts to simplify and organize these complex vertical stackings by analyzing it subconsciously as a monumental arch. Our brain automatically draws the lines between solids and voids to create the general form of the whole nonexistent figure. Therefore, the project has a different physical presence depending where it is viewed from; as the viewer approaches, the gigantic baroque mass breaks down to reveal the minimal modular units.

In order to have a neutral carbon footprint, all the materials used are reused and upcycled. In fact, they were merely temporarily diverted from their ultimate destination; after the conference, the wood timber was dismantled and rebuilt as a kindergarten in Marrakech.

  • Status:  Delivered
  • Year: 2016
  • Team: Stéphane Malka Architecture / O+C m.arch, GL Events, Agence Publics, Laurent Clément Photographe

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