2023 Urban Design Thesis Prize: Saad Boujane’s “Dwellings, Paths, Places: Configurative Habitat in Casablanca, Morocco “

A rendering of a residential streetscape. Two women with a child are walking away from the viewer towards a covered marketplace in the distance.

View of the residential streetscape, overlooking the covered marketplace.

by Saad Boujane (MAUD ’23) — Recipient of the Urban Design Thesis Prize.

The Modernist enterprise in Casablanca resulted in unique urban and architectural interventions in a quasi-forgotten city. In particular, distinct typo-morphologies such as Michel Ecochard’s Carrières Centrales housing development have been in a constant state of flux, thereby transforming the urban fabric, its architecture, and interiors in rather ad-hoc ways. Responding to the ways in which such typo-morphologies have changed over the decades, this thesis operates on Ecochard’s original proposal to speculate on how a modernist housing development could allow for growth and change in such a way that retains the original typological features (e.g: courtyards, streets), but also remains relevant to Moroccan spatial traditions. The goals of the thesis seek to determine the possible urban design strategies that would allow for configurative habitat in this particular context, to determine the appropriate density to support a dynamic urban environment, to position this site amongst many others across the city that suffer from similar typo-morphological shortcomings, and to recognize them as imperative constituents in the development of urban design between North Africa and Europe.