STO are supporting our project to build a centre for cleft lip and palate surgery with Operation Smile Morocco. We have two architectural assistants on the team who are supported by STO fellowships. One of them, Hisham El Hitami, joined the team on a field trip.
On Tuesday the 17th of March Robin, Yara and I travelled to Oujda, Morocco, in order to meet with the local architect, Mr Melhaoui, and many officials of the region’s council and urban department. The main element on our three-day-agenda was to sit with Mr Melhaoui and discuss the changes he had made to our plans and to find out how we can meet his personal ideas and the local building requirements without compromising on the environmental performance Article 25 is aiming for. After two intense designing sessions with Mr Melhaoui and the town’s technical official we managed to find solutions for all the aspects that both sides could agree on.
Another important task was to find inspiration for the building’s floors, ceilings and façade. We were able to find a lot of different finishes in the city’s old town, and were inspired by windows and floor tiles while visiting a traditional handcraft- and culture centre. Using local and hand-made details in the building became an important part of the final design stage, as it supports the region’s artisans and anchors the building within its surroundings.
We also got the chance to meet various doctors, politicians and donors who support the project and thank them for their commitment, reassuring them that construction works would be able to begin within the next 2-3 months.
In summary it was a very useful and important visit to improve and develop the design in the last stages before its construction.
Hisham’s photos from the trip are on our Facebook page.