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Architecture students from UÉvora organise an International Architecture Workshop in Morocco

Sixteen students from the M.A. course in Architecture at the University of Évora, together with master students from the College of Environmental Design and Planning at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), USA; Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech (UCAM) and the École Nationale d'Architeture de Rabat, Morocco, participated in the Workshop "The Medina of Safi: Rehabilitation of Oued Chaaba stream and its urban area", held in the city of Safi at the beginning of January 2015.

The Workshop was organised by Professors João Rocha from the Department of Architecture at the University of Évora, Ana Neno (UCAM) and Mathias Kondolf (UCB) as part of the protocol established between the University of California (Berkeley) and the University of Évora, and in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair in Intangible Heritage and Traditional Know-How: Linking Heritage (UÉvora). It also had the support of several Moroccan institutions, such as the Direction du Patrimoine Culturel, Direction Régionale du Patrimoine du Dukkela–Abda, Inspection Régionale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites of Safi.

The event took place between January 4 –11. 2015, starting out with the inaugural session at the Maison de la Culture de Marrakech and lectures given by Professors Hamid Triki and Mathias Kondolf, among other invited guests. Before the departure to Safi the participants visited the Maison de la Photographie in Marrakech, as well as the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa (16th century) and the centre of the medina.

In Safi, the thirty students, coordinated by Professors John Rocha, Ana Neno, John Matos, Luis Iron, Mathias Kondolf and Anna Llobet (UCB), split up into several working groups that analysed the medina of Safi, a centuries-old city with a vast built heritage of Portuguese origin. The context of the medina with its urban fabric and the river Chaaba, the potter’s hill and the sea, was studied and each group prepared a first analysis and plan for the assigned areas.

On the last day, the 16th century Portuguese Castle (Keshla) was chosen to host the final debate, where the results of the workshop were presented to the local authorities. It is the intention of the organisers to continue this work and to later show it in Safi, Berkeley and Évora.

João Rocha / Department of Architecture at the School of Arts (UÉvora)