The starting point for my project was the exploration of a chocolate box, a seemingly mundane every-day object. The analysis I undertook revealed intrinsic qualities that surprised and intrigued me and when collated, the results of my investigations revealed a complexity and poetry to its manufacture. To the extent that the production and form of the box could be mapped, modified and mutated with mathematical codification.
Beyond the establishment of an architectonic language derived from examining the formal properties of a chocolate box, I began to reflect on the cultural phenomenon that is the consumption of chocolate. This became essential in the formulation of my project brief. In common with the rest of my Studio I was asked to select a site in Marrakech
I was influenced greatly by the cultural and spatial qualities of Marrakech, the program and narrative focused upon the Moroccan cultural equivalent of the producing, packaging and consuming of chocolate; drinking mint tea. This event had a cultural and social resonance on a par with the consumption of chocolate in Europe.
Hence the Chai [Tea] House is a culmination of all the elements integral to the formation of Moroccan Tea. From viewing the process of tea production, blending and packaging to tasting batches in the tasting gallery.
The building program attempts to engage fully with both the wider culture of tea and the local’s micro-culture of traditional customs and social preferences.
Daniel’s project is predicated in the idea that the guiltiest of pleasures are the smallest. In Daniels case this was chocolate, his project evolved into the study of its consumption, production, packaging and its historical and contemporary context. The unit then embarked on a field trip to Marrakech where the unit’s projects were sited. Daniel’s response was to seek a Moroccan equivalent. The closest was the consumption of Mint Tea, which has a sense of mythology akin to the consumption of chocolate in Western culture.
The project became a counterpoint between the two cultures. Programmatically it was routed in his studies of contemporary and historical Moroccan life, but visually and spatially driven by his initial investigations. The outcome is a highbred building, which responds absolutely to its location culturally and spatially, yet is realised in a manner which clearly resonating from a western perspective. The result is a design, which amplifies the qualities of its surroundings and yet has a true sense of self.
Mr Saleem Al-Mennan
Mr Richard Wright
Prof Peter Fawcett
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