Lycée Paul Valéry in Meknes

Collaborators: LAPS Architecture, Aziza Chaouni Projects, Daniel Xu

Role: Landscape Architect

Status: Construction in Progress

Location: Meknes, Morocco

Lycée Paul Valéry (LPV) is a French international school in Meknès, Morocco. It serves levels of preschool through high school. In response to increasing enrollment and expanding academic curriculums, the school will commission us to design a new cultural center, science center, dormitory, and outdoor amenities.

 

Our design offers a respectful approach to its legacy. We are fond of the strong axes with quadrant layout, which we hope to preserve. As a post-military site, the circulation system was also well established. It allows students to walk to classes easily. It was challenging to insert three new separated buildings to an already well-established campus and find coherence with the existing composition. We wish to create a dialogue of the old and new for both landscape and architecture. Following the existing framework and alignments, the new buildings and landscape are sited carefully, seamlessly integrated with the campus.

We imagined a sustainable design for the three new buildings. They are bioclimatic buildings that use local materials and account for the local climate. They aim to provide thermal and visual comfort, using solar energy, natural ventilation, and other environmental sources. They will be modernist buildings, taking on simple forms and minimalistic facade treatment to best blend in with the existing architecture. We will also be introducing an accent material, brick, to "threading" these new buildings together. It will be used as a design module to create decorative relief on exterior facades. This treatment references the traditional Morrocan Mashrabiya, an architectural element characteristic of Arabic residences, as well as the Art Deco architecture developed in Morocco under the protectorate where bricks were often used as an ornamental motif.

For landscape, we highlighted the square of honor (4 landscape quads at the entrance) and added new plazas for both the cultural and science centers. The plazas will serve as outdoor spaces for passive and active uses, providing students opportunities to gather and enjoy the beautiful campus in all seasons. Brick paving varies in texture, and shade will be carried throughout the plazas. We will also be using native plants for shading, ornamental trees, and groundcovers. Seat walls will be built with local stones. The internal courtyard in the Culture Center will help ventilation significantly while allowing for maximum natural light. We also created new activity and learning spaces for the new dormitory, introducing a self-managed garden space for the students, encouraging them to learn through emerging in nature and teamwork. In the back of the dorm is a tranquil grove, providing quiet spaces for short walks and anyone seeking peace of mind.