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REBORN FROM THE ASHES

Transform Casablanca Bombing Room into Local Library

卡萨布兰卡图书馆

In a city that was affected by a tragic act of senseless violence, the historical city of Casablanca has to this day, mourned those who died, empathized with those who suffered, and most importantly stood strong against terrorism. Casablanca Bombing Room stands in this ancient city as a symbol that brings closure and peace to those affected, as well as inspiring the population with the power of knowledge and knitting the community ever closer together. It is believed that with greater knowledge and wisdom, tragedies such as what happened on May 16 2013 in Casablanca will be forever be history. As a result, this library is created to allow its visitors to contemplate this concept of knowledge through architecture, and that the spaces in the building will act as metaphors in creating a memorable experience.

 

Type: Competition [ HONORABLE MENTION ]

Casablanca Bombing Rooms International Architecture Competition

Date: October 2015

Location: Casablanca, Morocco

Project Team: Naiji Jiao, Louis(Yi) Liu, Xiru Chen

 

DESIGN CONCEPT

A COMMEMORATION FOREGROUND

The building foreground represents the chaos of the aftermath. As a metaphor, it would evoke thought provoking reflections in which one would not forget.

REBORN FROM THE ASHES

A symbolic architecture that is both strong and pure in form rising from the sunken ground. In place of the tragic site stands a building that brings people life and hope through memories and knowledge.

AN ECHO OF THE OUTSIDE LANDSCAPE ON THE BUILDING TOP

The top floor houses the exhibition space in which "Broken Sky" - an art installation on the ceiling of the building that echoes with the landscape outside - culminates the experience of the architecture. The imagery of a broken sky being held together would evoke in visitors a sense of bond shared between every person to mend our world when broken.

The inception of this project came from the images of the site following the explosions. The chaos of the aftermath is represented by the numerous ropes that pierce through the ground, wrapping the library inmadness. At the same time, course rocks and wild grass protrude through the ground, causing anyone walking through the landscape to experience anxiety and uncertainty following each step. As a metaphor, the foreground of the project would evoke thought provoking reflection which one would not forget.

Upon entering the library, the flowing and curvilinear forms constitute an atmosphere of lightness andfreshness, which sharply contrasts the chaos experienced previously. Constructed from integrative translucent material, the luminescence of the façade allows for soft light that visually enlarges the interior that is bound by a small building footprint. With blurred outside surroundings seen through the façade, the strong contrast between the soft interior and hard linear exterior would bring about a sudden relief of emotions. The South and East sides of the library, in addition to an open central staircase, provide flexible and relaxing study areas; while the North and West sides are dedicated to enclosed spaces such as rooms for study, computers, presentations, and utility services. The placementof books are also responsible in provoking a sense of freedom,  where they are scattered through the entire building; along the handrail and under the staircase.

On the top floor, one would see a permanent installation on the ceiling that dominates the exhibition space. "Broken Sky" - an art piece composed of ropes that hold stones and rocks in place - reflect themetaphor of conflict and strife, where mankind has always found ways to mend what is broken. Through this, an echo of the outside landscape merges with the interior, instilling a sense of hope and life in the hearts of the visitors.

SPATIAL ARRANGEMENT

ENTRANCE AND ACCESSIBILITY

 

The lowered ground plane of the library allows for an intermediate space that bridges between the two different heights. This space contributes towards the contrast felt while going in and out of the building. The accessible ramps are laid out through the commemoration landscape.

A FUNCTIONAL CORE

 

The building core accommodates both circulation, as well as book storage in an unusual and interesting manner.

ROOMS AND SERVICES

 

The North and West sides of the building are dedicated to enclosed spaces such as rooms for study, computers, presentations, and utility services.

CIRCULATION

 

The circulation in the building is simple and efficient; where flexible, relaxing study areas in addition to some book storage functions are combined in a spontaneously flow