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Architectural Travel Notes, Morocco

Wind over water at the unornamented mirror lake of Menara Gardens. Built afar, adjacent the olive grove, by an imagined beduin cult of brutalist worshippers.

There is no photographic image, no advertisement, no glowing condensed corporate typography. Buildings seem to emerge directly from the reddish-brown ground, molding into soft cubes and boxes. The cityscape does not pry for attention, its decidedly nonmodern psychogeography seamlessly merges into a pastoral sprawl inflated to vast dimension and density.

I have a great affection for cats, as all tasteful and self-respecting humans do. Particularly, I cherish their arcane capability to offer a particular kind of intense, but silent companionship. Observing a city beneath a full moon, low and heavy, in quiet unison with a cat is a privilege quite uncomparable to anything else.

Palais el Badi: Afroeuropean Mythologies

A gleaming S-Class in black and chrome is parked next to a reddish clay wall, passed by a kid on a creaking bicycle and a handsome old man in a grey kaftan (I take special note of his accurately groomed, short grey beard). The limousine’s presence marks the place as psychogeographic science fiction. It is an intruder, an object from another time and universe, one I seem to be strangely familiar with: NFC readers, softly organic trainers, caftans, dust, cooked wool, satellite dishes, Buckydomes, walled gardens, fliphones, iPhones, hairstyles, all somehow materializing in an unexpected kind of 2020.

Urban Moroccan housing defaults to a subtle ledge starting on the first floor. It offers shade to the life in the street, increases the size of the living quarters (ground floors are mostly used for storage or workshops) and lends an element of decided, simple ornamentation to the otherwise plain cube. This is usually mirrored by the roof construction: the top floor is reduced to about a third of the ground floor area, creating a large terrace. From this, the shape of the residential unit emerges: a soft-edged rectangular box, defined by two interrelating incisions.

A bed in the desert, nature in perfect silence. There is the soft sound of flocks of small puffy birds passing overhead, and a warm breeze. Sun sets over the ranges, the desaturated Atlas mountains loom in the background. Life is forced into equilibrium. Many ways to go from here. (02/10/20)

In Casablanca, architecture appears to be more substance than artefact. It seems to bee perpetually melting, flaking, merging with nature and civilisation. Many buildings echo a faint Art Deco heritage, misunderstood even by the foreigners that brought it to these parts. Since, the idea of the graceful line seems to have evolved into something more organic, matching northern African sensibilities and energies. Here, the new and modern appears as just another iteration, reintegrated into the profoundly social mechanics of the medinas and markets, all refinement reserved for two-storey courtyards, areas of consultation and quietness.

What would you go to Casablanca for? For two days? — Ingrid

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