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Marrakesh, Morocco Gabion Basket Homes Provide Sustainab...

Marrakesh, Morocco Gabion Basket Homes Provide Sustainable, Affordable Housing

In Marrakesh, Morocco, a model home is being constructed as a part of a project that seeks to build houses made of gabion baskets in rural regions of Morocco. The association behind this initiative is Architecture & Development, an association focusing on international solidarity. They are currently bringing together architects who are engaged in the

Example of Gabion Baskets in Hengistbury Head, UK

In Marrakesh, Morocco, a model home is being constructed as a part of a project that seeks to build houses made of gabion baskets in rural regions of Morocco. The association behind this initiative is Architecture & Development, an association focusing on international solidarity. They are currently bringing together architects who are engaged in the mission of constructing dignified, sustainable housing for everyone.

Despite an affirmed desire to fight against shantytowns and rural exodus in the country, the construction of social housing in Morocco doesn’t reach far enough to cover a large sector of the population, which is left to fend for itself. It has become necessary to research alternative ways of producing social housing, with the usual public and private players still involved, but also relying on the help of inhabitants as a way to respond to the degradation of de facto housing projects.

Since 2010, Architecture & Development has developed and used a construction technology that is innovative and sustainable, which they call “Confined Walls and Stones” (aka gabion baskets), to reduce the vulnerability of housing to climate and seismic risks, in addition to eliminating housing poverty that affects populations living in rural and isolated zones of the country.

Donkey drinking water in foreground of photo showing shantytown in Casablanca, Morocco

The gabion program allows for the creation of an accessible supply of housing that is very affordable. In particular, it responds to the proliferation of informal, poor-quality housing often created for those populations excluded from traditional housing aid services.

To show off the potential of the gabion process to local communities, governmental agencies, foundations, social housing landlords, and the population itself, Architecture & Development is going to create a model home in Marrakech, with its own field school, on the site of the ADEREE (National Agency for the Development of Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency). ADEREE is an agency dedicated to good bioclimatic construction practices and the current home of Architecture & Development’s operational office.

The architectural program for the 4-unit model home will meet the demanding list of standards for a low-cost, bioclimatic house with a small ecological footprint. It will also include a semi-collective hammam (a Turkish bath) for 3-4 families.

Architecture & Development encourages you to become a part of the project by helping to finance its success, or by following its progress on its website.

How has your community responded to the needs for low-cost housing? Have these initiatives succeeded? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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