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GSU la Fontaine Academic Complex Master Plan

Collaborators: Aziza Chaouni Projects, LAPS Architecture, Daniel Xu

Role: Landscape Architect

Status: Concept Design Completed 2015

Location: Fez, Morocco

This two-phase competition proposes to rehabilitate and expand the French School in Fez, called the Groupe Scolaire La Fontaine and integrate a new French Institute. The school, which includes kindergarten, primary school, and secondary school up to 9th grade, has been an important institution for over 50 years, acting as an iconic symbol for the city and its region. The importance of the site will now be strengthened by the establishment of the French Institute on the same plot of land, further consolidating the position of the project in the city.

Our entry proposes that both the French Institute and the Groupe Scolaire La Fontaine are tied by a comprehensive design, where each program will be enhanced and magnified. To do so, we propose to deploy a new circulation and landscape spine that enables both programs to be organized individually, while allowing for a harmonious relationship between them. This spine manages not only the relationship between each entity of the school and between the school administration and the rest of the school but also the relationship between the French Institute and the School.  We want to preserve an "open heart" for the campus by creating a shared outdoor space centered around building shared by three schools and allow for public use in the evening (Gymnasium, Multipurpose Room). The heart of the GSU is marked by a memorial, an outdoor auditorium (for outdoor class sessions and assemblies), a garden dedicated to horticulture and permaculture educational purposes. The campus circulation loop is marked by a wooden pergola and is directly connected to the main entrance. Our proposal manages the porosity between public and private spaces in a subtle manner, by creating a clear and rigorous building layout that celebrates the original school master plan.

The green spaces between the buildings will be designed to create local microclimates. By providing a suitable shading strategy, utilizing rich local planting resources, valuing evapotranspiration, and intelligently managing the prevailing winds, it will be possible to create comfortable outdoor areas during most of the year. These areas then appear as meeting places fostering interactions between students.

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