Overview

The Conservation and Rehabilitation Plan (CRP) for the Kasbah of Taourirt aims to develop a methodology for the conservation and rehabilitation of this traditional earthen ensemble that can be used as a model for similar earthen sites. The CRP's objective is to establish a conservation process that respects the original building fabric, preserves technical knowhow, demonstrates appropriate re-use of such sites, develops a participatory process and builds local capacity in these areas.

Designed in collaboration with the Centre de Conservation et de Réhabilation du Patrimoine Architectural des zones Atlasiques et Subatlasiques (CERKAS) the CRP will be implemented in three phases. Phase one includes the development of a methodology for the documentation and emergency stabilization of the entire earthen complex. Phase two will develop a conservation and rehabilitation plan for the Kasbah, considering the whole ensemble and each of its sectors, its connection with the adjacent historic community (the Ksar), their original natural setting, and the urban context. Phase three will develop a strategy for the dissemination of information about the site to local authorities, scholars, and the community.

All phases will include training workshops on aspects related to the conservation of earthen sites including 1) documentation, 2) rehabilitation planning; and 3) analysis of earthen materials and practical conservation approaches. There will be final presentations at the end of each phase, ideally accompanied by a public exhibition and presentation to concerned stakeholders.

Background

The earthen ksour and kasbahs region of southern Morocco expands along three different pre-Saharan valleys (Draá, Dadès, and De L'Ounila and Ziz) and contains around 300 kasbahs and 4,000 ksour. These magnificent earthen sites have been recognized as culturally significant for their aesthetic, social, and cultural values, and as physical evidence of the historical development of the sub-Saharan region.

Unfortunately, these sites are under threat from obsolescence and abandonment, which results in their gradual deterioration and eventual collapse. This situation is due in part to changes in the economic and social structures that originally supported the sites. This issue is common across many regions with an earthen building tradition. Conserving these settlements and sites demands a multidisciplinary approach that addresses economic, social, cultural, and technical challenges holistically.

The Site

The Ksar of Taourirt, an entire earthen village and oasis dating from the seventeenth century, is an emblematic ensemble strategically located at the intersection of major trans-Saharan trade routes and now embedded within the modern city of Ouarzazate, Morocco.

At the city's core is the fortified Kasbah of Taourirt. This earthen site, registered as a National Monument, was originally one of the residences of the Glaoua Caid, a powerful family that ruled the region during late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It symbolizes the Berber culture and is composed of different earthen buildings types of high architectural, social, and historic significance.

Page updated: August 2014