craft factory

mit architecture design studio iii
prof cristina parreno
fall 2014

This project aims to find an alternative to the winning designs of the 2010 architectural competition proposed by the American-Moroccan Institution Agency of Partnership for Progress (APP).

The APP proposed the redevelopment of a site within the Medina known as Place della Yeddouna, as a way to stimulate economic growth where the site would be redeveloped with hotels, restaurants, and retail shops. However, in creating this modern tourist hub, the local population of nearly 200 artisans face eviction.

While the city has proposed to take artisans and their workshops out of the Medina, the aim of this project is to create a Craft Factory in the very same strategic site of Place della Yeddouna.

The Craft Factory will act as a platform for exchange, a novel program for the Medina that will bring components of a school, a market, a workshop space, and an urban living room to the old town of Fez.

Some of the most intriguing parts of the Medina are the craft workshops. These workshops house materials, processes, end products, and the artisans themselves; and these spaces are spread out throughout the city in places generally unknown to the common tourist.

Additionally, the circulation of Fez is somewhat impossible to navigate if one is not familiar with it. Paired with the lack of facades, the winding streets of Fez generally cause tourists to become endlessly lost and confused, and unfortunately, frustrated.

In addition to creating a space that will foster education, production, and exchange in a productive interaction among the different sectors of the population, the factory works towards a solution by providing tourists with a space they can easily navigate, while simultaneously preserving the complex network of the artisanal community.