From The Architects:
As a result of an international competition, the group OCP, a global leader in phosphates extraction and transformation, commissioned in 2011 the design of the campus for the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University to RBTA. Extending over approximately 55 hectares, the Campus for Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is the milestone of the ambitious scheme for the Mohammed VI Green City, a sustainable development in Benguerir, 50 miles north of Marrakech.
The FAR and the height limit (21 meters) called for a rational, compact composition. The geometrically organized masterplan proposed by RBTA is defined by narrow streets, squares and a central axis. The scheme encourages pedestrian circulation, while the courtyards, gardens and semi-covered streets bring together students and teachers, thus promoting intellectual and social exchange, and strengthening the sense of community.
With residential clusters and facilities on both sides, the central pedestrian area is the backbone of the project. This main artery gathers the daily activities both for teachers and students. The urban character of the design contributes to consolidate the campus as a strong magnet. With a grid that perfectly integrates within the Green City, this concept guarantees permanent exchange between campus users and with the city and its future extension towards the east. This regular urban grid provides development flexibility, and can easily evolve to ensure the expansion of the whole functional program.
The first phase of development faces avenue Mohamed VI. The rest of the program develops in a progressive manner along the pedestrian axis, running towards the green area. Phase 1 divides into two parts that include the following facilities: Part 1A: The School of Industrial Management (EMINES), residential facilities for students, sports facilities and car-park area. Part 1B : Mining & Geology Research Centre, Congress Centre, Office building for the OCP, restaurant and club house, two residential cluster for 325 students, sports facilities and car-park area.
The rest of the campus includes the following elements: Five Research Centers and the Learning Centre, located on both sides of the pedestrian axis at the centre of the campus. The Research Centers are grouped in the same area to encourage synergies and exchange of information; Other facilities along the axis: a restaurant, dedicated area for teachers, the Student Center and the Medical Center, and teaching facilities distributed around a plaza at the south end of the campus; A hotel and the OCP Regional Headquarters facing the green extension; Residential clusters on the campus perimeter; Additional car park and green areas.
The scheme favors green transportation systems along two roads that run parallel to the pedestrian axis, while the private use of cars is only allowed in the peripheral avenue Mohammed VI, the avenue A, and the avenue B, with access to the car-park areas. The urban design and the architectural style of the Moroccan cities, and namely the cities of the area of Benguerir, are the project actual source of inspiration. The rich architectural tradition of Moroccan towns like Fez, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakech, and the ksour (Arabic term for “castle”) of the South Atlas, reveal their history, their culture, and the local abilities to adapt to specific climatic conditions. The scheme for Mohammed VI Polytechnic University Campus in Benguerir combines a genuine respect for the genius locci with environmental performance goals. The project has received LEED NC certification and aims to Silver LEED NC for buildings and LEED Campus for the Masterplan.