The rehabilitation of the traditional rural habitat of the Pre-Saharan valleys of Southern Morocco aimed at:
·maintaining and upgrading existing houses as well as planning a harmonious development;
·reducing both unemployement and rural exodus; and
·safeguarding a unique architectural heritage with a view to developing tourist activities in the region.
The project was jointly funded by the U N World Food Programme and the Moroccan government. The renovation of ksour houses, mostly inhabited by a sedentary farming population of low or very low income, was to introduce higher standards of hygiene. This implied an improvement of the water catchments and sewerage systems. On the other hand, livestock was no longer to be stabled inside dwellings
The ksour, enclosed within walls of defensive character, are crisscrossed by a network of narrow streets, arranged in a grid-like fashion and dead ends. Open public spaces are few and entrance into a ksour is through one or several monumental gates. Buildings of public function (mosques, hammams, etc) are usually situated near the gates. The project included the re-surfacing of streets and open spaces. Ksour houses are two to three storeys high, with a small central courtyard and a roof terrace; the rectangular rooms are narrow and high. The street façades display few openings and the other elevations usually consist of party walls shared with adjoining structures. Renovation works included structural and/or façade repairs.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture