RABAT / Dar Essalam domain

RABAT / Dar Essalam domain

The historical royal orchards of Dar Essalam have been transformed into a garden park for the public, as the centerpiece of a new urban neighbourhood.

The design principles of the garden preserve the existing landscape structure: conservation of the orthogonal grid of the original orchard windbreakers, tree alignments and, where possible, existing fruit trees (mandarin and avocado trees). The grid of lilac hedges and cypress trees extends from the gardens into the urban tissue; it becomes the frame for the infrastructure and the residential spaces.  New natural zones and new public uses extend the themes and the atmospheres of the garden, augmenting its biodiversity. Above all, the new garden park sustains and valorizes traditional agricultural heritage, by maintaining centrally in the park about 4 hectares of productive orchards.

A forest composed of tall trees along the dike-road becomes the high layer of the landscape, a canopy that is visible from afar and that creates a new horizon and depth in the park. A diversity of plant species are combined to create rich and unique atmospheres. An intensively planted edge surrounds the park and creates the appropriate distance and separation from facades of the surrounding buildings. This edge, densely planted with trees and shrubs –the intermediate landscape layer – becomes a fresh and shaded natural zone, hosting running tracks and other sport activities as well as a planted swale to capture any rainwater runoff.

A wooden deck, punctuated by certain remarkable trees (Erythrina caffra, Chorisia speciose)   is an elevated promenade crossing the orchards, allowing the visitor to appreciate the traditional agricultural knowledge, and an exceptional panorama on the rest of the domain.   A colored ribbon is edging the promenades and pedestrian pathways throughout the garden, guiding circulation around the protected historical heart.

The garden park draws on many atmospheres and landscapes from the past, artfully combined and enhanced with the new form the green centre of the future domain.

CASABLANCA / The green quarter of ANFA

CASABLANCA / The green quarter of ANFA

The Anfa quarter in Casablanca, which extends over the city’s old airport site, is destined to become a new mixed quarter with an extensive central park.

The main drivers for the project are to preserve the horizon of the old runway whilst accentuating existing perspectives, and exploiting this platform by guiding the eye towards the sea and the great mosque to create new vistas. The flat, hard surfaces of the runway and taxiways are intermixed with fertile plots offering the possibility to re-establish natural habitats. Spatial and ecological qualities, surface and soil, flatness and substrate all serve as inspiration for the definition of a development strategy structured by the landscape.

The new Anfa quarter is based around a central 50-hectare park adjacent to the disused runway. Wooded strips composed of acacias and gleditsias alternate successively with flowered prairies. The creation of a wooded park of this scale in Casablanca’s Mediterranean climate requires the strategic management of water reserves. This “Central Park” is thus endowed with transversal branches forming a veritable ecosystem network. Its western sections are filled with fresh, shaded gardens planted with hydrophilic varieties that collect rainwater and make maximum use of the rainy periods. Organised in this way, the green canvas is able to receive the buildings of the new urban quarter.