Climate camp: Oualalou+Choi design the COP22 Village in Marrakech

Building in Marrakesh
The UN Climate Change Conference 2016 was hosted in Marrakech, across a recyclable village designed by architects Oualalou+Choi
(Image credit: Luc Boegly)

At COP22, this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, delegates talked sustainability while experiencing sustainability – meeting throughout a reusable, recyclable village designed by Paris and Morocco-based architects Oualalou+Choi.

For two weeks in November, over 40,000 delegates from 195 countries met in the COP22 village, a mix of temporary structures which were spread out over 30 hectares of land on the southern edge of Marrakech. Using locally-sourced materials, Oualalou+Choi’s design reflected the climate summit’s focus on sustainable development, and at the same time incorporated local architectural traditions in new ways.

Morroccan architecture

While diverse in appearance, the structures are contemporary responses to Moroccan architecture

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)

Taking local, post-harvest festivals as a starting point, the architects constructed a communal space that ran as a seam down the centre of the village under a succession of canopies. 'The design of the exhibition grounds is based upon a temporary urbanism created by the installation of a village of canopies, entirely demountable and reusable,' the architects explain. The tent-like structure covered 12,400 sq m, linking together two sides of the village under a translucent and waterproof covering.

At the gateway to the summit, an impressive, remixed Moroccan archway greeted visitors. Dubbed ‘ark22’, the traditional arched design emerged from a puzzle of interlocking locally-sourced timber. At 12m high and 50m in length, the installation was comprised of identical, lightweight layers that could later be disassembled and reconstructed elsewhere in the city. 

Inside the village, a series of verandas, patios and atria with accessible rooftops reflected the rural architectural traditions of Morocco. Named ‘agora22’, the structures housed two restaurants and functioned as communal meeting spaces for delegates, where they could chat comfortably outside of the formal meeting sessions. In keeping with the summit's recyclable remit, ‘agora22’ was comprised almost entirely of reusable particle board, down to the tables and chairs, all of which will be dismantled and reassembled for future projects.

relfective material used as a roof

The firm used locally-sourced materials to reflect COP22’s focus on sustainable development

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)

The waterproof canopy provided a communal space that ran through the temporary village

The waterproof canopy provided a communal space that ran through the temporary village

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)

Morrocan post harvest festival

The architects were inspired by traditional Moroccan post-harvest festivals 

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)

Timber gateway

The gateway to the summit was built of interlocking timber in the shape of a traditional Moroccan arch

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)

tent like cover

The tent-like structure covered 12,400 sq m of space

(Image credit: Oualalou+Choi.)


For more information, visit the COP22 website