exterior render.jpg

In this project we consider and apply passive and vernacular strategies and local building materials to provide a comfortable home in this specific environment. The project goal is to reach for self sustainability – grow food, collect water and save energy by using thermal mass for heating and passive ventilation techniques for cooling. Vernacular building techniques fulfill this goal and have a strong aesthetic and cultural connection with local architecture and the way of living.

However, we do not want to replicate the already existing, but rather merge it with the new: we bring our own interpretation of islamic art in the design with kinetic shading panels, that connects the old and the new, merges modern techniques with ancient tradition.


Project site location

PROJECT SITE – Area in the High Atlas mountains, 67 km south of Marrakech, near Tamatert village. The site is chosen in a strategically convenient place – along some of the most popular trekking routes. It is partially remote, but still has good access to surrounding villages.


Function schemes and scenarios

PROGRAM – The building is designed to be a permanent home for a morroccan family and also accommodate temporary guests, like trekkers or tourists.

COURTYARDS – A combination of cool and hot courtyards increases air movement through the building. Cooled air from shaded places in front is sucked to the hot area just behind the building.


Evaporative wall detail

TEMPERATURE CONTROL – The building is oriented south to gain heat during the cold season. During hot days ventilation is arranged by turning on the water supply for evaporative walls, so when the sun heats these walls, it also increases the rate of cooling by evaporation.


IRRIGATION – For plant shading and irrigation evaporative walls are being used. They are provided with water from a reservoir in the back, which collects streams of melting snow and rain. Then it is lead through tubes to the evaporative wall where it drips down to aspen wood fiber which contains it. When hot air hits the wall and goes through the damp wood fiber it is cooled and you get a more humid and cooler climate on the other side.

Cool and hot courtyards are used according to outdoor temperature : while in summer there are plenty of cool and shaded areas to be in, hot courtyard terrace is more useful in winter.


Front view



CONSTRUCTION – Building construction relies on vernacular methods, using local materials. It is proven to work and is reliable. Rammed earth is used for exterior walls, providing enough shading and thermal mass to cool down the courtyard.

floor plans

Floor plans

Living areas are on the ground floor and sleeping on the first floor. Also rooms for the family members are separated from the guest areas, so they can still maintain a certain level of privacy while living in the same building.


Kinetic shading system

Kinetic shading system blocks different amounts of light, depending on the rotation of its’ blades. The system is controlled manually and helps to regulate lighting and airflow. Structure is made of wooden planks and blades cut from thin a plywood sheet. Elements move in accordance with each other, relying on rope fixings and overall precision.



Agne Zenkeviciute, Johan Andersson ASEN05, 2016

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