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Pilgrims Retreat | Marrakech

Part 2 Project 2010
Khalid Saleh
University of Portsmouth Portsmouth UK
In a search for the immeasurable within architecture, I approached this project from a phenomenological perspective. Phenomenology, the study of essences, seeks to define the essences with existence initially, via united essence and fact. The proposition was influenced by the writings and works of significant Nordic architects and theorists and was explored thematically through the North and the South, providing a framework for a bipartite project; the first in Aalborg (North), the second in Marrakech (South). These locations offer explicit conditional polarities, yet through architectural proposition, strive to uncover and yield a single reference point, offering a response through applied knowledge alongside phenomenological experience to further understand and evolve a language of architecture through contextual place making.

The fundamentals of Northern and Southern existence were tested through the research of key Nordic paradigms, and influenced by the transgressions of seminal 20th Century Nordic architects. Archetypal concepts of the clearing and oasis were examined alongside the conditions of gathering and gazing, prospect and refuge to create scenarios which responded to a centre bound primitive hearth or a horizon bound gaze depending on place and occasion.

The project evolved alongside a body of written work to produce two architectural propositions. The first a Nordic retreat on the banks of the Limfjord in Aalborg; which focuses on the simple ritual of bathing from fjord to sauna. The second a pilgrims sanctuary within the immediacy of the city wall in Marrakech, which concentrates on the repetitive acts of ablution and prayer. These
ritualistic acts of cleansing, both culturally and spiritually, address the human condition in both contexts, providing a single reference point to the propositions qualities.

Khalid Saleh


Khalid submitted a very strong bid for allocation to the Emergent Studio, predicated upon his focus in the essential dimensions of architecture drawn from Diploma 1 research and design.

The Emergent Studio engaged with the thematic enquiry of 'Tectonic Transgressions', designing a Living bridge Project in Aalborg, Denmark in Semester 1 and moving to the design of a Centre for Phenomenological Thought in Marrakech, Morocco in Semester 2.

Khalid approached the Living bridge Project from a metaphorical perspective designing a journey across the Fjord to 'another world' where the Heideggerian idea of 'dwelling poetically' sat as the fundament. In the process Khalid immersed himself in contemporary and historic writings from the Nordic tradition in the realm of phenomenology.

Drawing upon this, he developed a brief for the Marrakech Project that engaged with the particularity of Morocco and specifically Marrakech, drawing upon rich historical paradigms such as trade, travel, the idea of 'being' and, as with his earlier project, 'dwelling poetically.

The Pilgrims Retreat represents an architecture founded upon theoretical and cultural engagement of significant depth developing a contemporary paradigm for this very particular historic context.

Tutor(s)


2010
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