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t e r r itories of disobedience



Cultural Resistance

Works of architecture are incantations and incarnations. In one of the most extraordinary passages of his sermon De triplici Christi nativitate, Saint Bernardine of Siena describes the Annunciation in terms that are one of the finest definitions of architecture: Eternity occurs in time, immensity in measure, the Creator in the creature, (...), the incorruptible in the corruptible, the unrepresentable in the figure, the unutterable in speech, the ineffable in words, the uncircumscribable in space, the invisible in vision, the inaudible in sound, (...), the impalpable in the tangible, (...), the container in the content. The craftsman passes into his work, length into brevity, width into narrowness, height into lowness (...). Architecture does not reside in drawing, nor in construction, but in the space suspended between the two. It is the transformation from the intimate to the public, from line to thickness, from lightness to gravity.


Architecture is a slow profession, with the slowness of old age. It continues to resist the acceleration of human history. Despite all the pressures to which it is subjected in a digitized world, architecture will never be immediate. The notion of projection acquires its value in this duration; the time required for the project to arise is what anchors it to the world, what makes it real. Ironically, the faster buildings are built, the less time they seem to endure. When buildings are determined solely by their programs and profitability, these products become disposable. These overly determined buildings are averse to processes of transformation and cannibalization which are fundamental to architectural longevity.


We like to imagine the slow disappearance of our buildings. We plan their obsolescence; we seek to embody the awareness of duration in the



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Volubilis Museum Expo 2015 Venice Biennale Cultural Center of Morocco FLIJ Fez Millenium Museum of Moroccan Art Dar el Bacha Museum Home Ice Box Dakhla Museum National Museum of Archaeology and Earth Sciences Escales Project list


Set within the most visited archaeological site in Morocco, this project seeks to enhance the historical and symbolic significance of this unique UNESCO World Heritage site. The site is an exceptionally well-preserved example of an ancient Roman colonial town and one of several antique sites in Morocco. Due to the lack of urban development in the immediate surroundings, the site today closely resembles what the Romans saw in their time. In order to highlight the dramatic visual impact of the antique ruins, the volume of the museum is embedded into the hillside so that visitors do not initially perceive its presence. The project is conceived as a narrow imprint on the perimeter of the ancient territory, eight meters wide by two hundred meters long. The building consists of a succession of wooden volumes along an extended retaining wall, simultaneously buried and suspended in relationship to the rolling landscape. The project behaves much like the ruins it houses, and the tectonics of its construction and the lifespan of its materials inherently propose a strategy for the building’s eventual disappearance.

v o l u b i l i s CULTURal ReSISTANCE

Construction of an archaeological museum on a UNESCO World Heritage Site Client: Ministry of Culture, Morocco Site: Archaeological site of Volubilis, Morocco Size: 4 200 m 2 / Budget: 6,4 Me completion: 2013




Right Side-Down OUALALOU+CHOI’s project for “Inhabiting the uninhabitable”

In conjunction with the ‘Contemporary Morocco’ exhibit (‘Le Maroc Contemporain’) at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, a giant tent was constructed on the plaza in front of the building. Constructed from more than 650 m 2 of camel and goat wool woven by female cooperatives in the Saharan desert, the tent serves as an urban landmark and a symbol for the “Contemporary Morocco” exhibit. The tent harmonizes contemporary design and technical innovation with traditional fabrication methods. The rhythm and scale of the tent’s silhouette renders a topographic dimension to the structure which pays homage to the nomadic traditions of southern Morocco. Within the tent, the installation features the work of master artisans from Morocco. The tent also houses a café, a boutique showcasing Moroccan handicrafts, and a performance space which hosts various events throughout the duration of the exhibit.


Temporary installation on the plaza of the Arab World Institute Client: Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris Site: Paris, France Size: 500 m 2 / Budget: 710 000 e Date: October 2014 - March 2015






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Co-Habitation Hotel 24h du Mans Cupecoy Baccarat Hotel Reinventing Paris Zoo Habitat 1 Zoo Habitat 2 Happy Bay Caravanserail Montabo Balima Hotel Africa House Radisson Tangier


Project list

The significance of the Cupecoy tower’s site derives from its presence at the border of the French and Dutch territories on the island, as well as its adjacency to the sea and the historic Slave Wall. The building, the tallest to be built on the island, metamorphosizes from a state of inhabitation to non-inhabitation as the elevation transforms and reveals the peculiar temporality of resort housing. When closed and unoccupied (the majority of the year), the building sustains a sculptural, totemic presence; when open, the projecting shutters of the facade generate a complex play of light and shadow on the facade which exhibits the level of inhabitation within.


Residential Tower Client: Private Site: Saint Martin, Caribbean Size: 18 000 m 2 Date: 2014 






Site plan






Typical floor plan


p a r i s

The project, sited on a narrow, split-level parcel of land abutting regional train tracks, proposes to transform these challenging characteristics of the site into an opportunity for encounters between different populations. The building serves as a bridge, providing a public passageway that negotiates between the varying street levels and affords easier access to public transportation stations for neighboring residents. On the ground level, shops and cafes are located next to a pedestrian underpass, activating previously undesirable spaces. Integrating a daycare center, student housing, and senior housing, the project encourages interaction between the generations both within and through the building.


Student residences, senior housing, daycare Client: City of Paris Site: Paris, France Size : 11 000 m 2 Date: 2015 / competition


ReINVENTing paris


South elevation



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COP 22 Village Magnet School Re-Tour Sports Campus Port Authority University MVI Tangier Free Zone Taghazout Village Oujda Stadium Foodstrading Technical Institute Tangier Courthouse Berliet Showroom School Block Dakhla Courthouse ANCFCC Headquarters


Project list

s c h o o l

Suspending the building above the ground allows for the creation of an outdoor campus in a climate which would otherwise be too hostile for exterior gathering spaces. Public programs and gathering spaces, such as the amphitheater, restaurant, and gymnasium, are grouped together on the shaded ground level. The academic center – classrooms, laboratories, and work spaces – are placed in a single story volume which is suspended above the public ground. Academic spaces are organized around a series of patios that provide daylight and allow for the natural ventilation of spaces. Passive bioclimatic solutions are coupled with innovative technologies in order to achieve a building that maximizes energy performance with minimal environmental impact.


Regional high school and dormitory Client: Fondation Phosboucraa Site: Foum El Oued, Laâyoune, Morocco Size: 27 540 m 2 / Budget: 16,3 ME completion: 2018


Magnet School

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18_19 1_Entry 2_Restaurant 3_Infirmary 4_Teachers’ lounge 5_Gymnasium

6_Student lounge 7_Auditorium 8_Classrooms 9_Park





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Ground floor plan


s t a d i u m

Due to increased programmatic and security constraints, contemporary stadiums have transformed into urban fortresses. They’ve lost their role as public ‘arenas’ open to the flow of urban life. This project attempts to recapture a sense of porosity and transparence in order to anchor the stadium within an accessible public realm. The project for the Oujda stadium is conceived as a landscape and not merely a hermetic object, and its site is treated in its entirety as a large public park. The stadium, infrequently used like all stadiums, becomes one element within a greater public complex. The upper bowl of the stadium is suspended above the ground while the lower bowl is integrated into the ground. This creates a void between the two bowls which allows the landscape to pass through the stadium. This space between the two bowls becomes an agora, a public space of perambulation and interaction.


Construction of a football stadium Client: Interior Ministry, Morocco Site: Oujda, Morocco Size: 23 750 m 2 Date: 2016 / competition




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Pietri Plaza Borderline Urban Zoo Tamansourt Bab Atlas Mazagan Urban Center Agropolis Fezzan-Sabha


Project list


Situated in the heart of Morocco’s capital city of Rabat, the plaza creates a new public gathering space which encourages both planned and spontaneous urban and cultural events. Previously, the plaza consisted of the residual space between four vehicular roads. By sinking the core of the plaza and re-attaching two sides of the plaza to pedestrian thoroughfares, we created an urban ‘living room’ which shelters public activity from the busy streets. The primary entry to the plaza consists of an integrated ramp/stair structure which gives the plaza the quality of an outdoor auditorium. The materiality and tectonics of the plaza are intentionally mute, and the use of local granite reinforces the illusion that the project is carved out of the landscape; the building is not ‘added,’ but rather ‘subtracted’ from its site.


New urban plaza, commercial galleries, and underground parking Client: Caisse des dépôts et Gestion Site : Rabat, Morocco Size: 12 500 m 2 completion: 2010



TEAM Salma Abderrahim / Alex Acemyan / Ruben Alamo / Sumaia Alamoudi / Silvia Albini / Alina Amiri / Cristina Anastase / Maria Aramendia / Lauren Bachelot / Meyriem Bachouchi / Michelle Badr / Barbara Ballu / Mehdi Ben Yahmed / Ali Benabdallah / Tom Benard / Hakim Benchekroun / Sofia Bennani / Selim Bennis / Vera Beranova / Tommaso Bernabo Silorata / Clara Berthet / Mehdi Besri / Britanny Birdsong / Kaley Blackstock / Judith Boggess / Ambroise Bonal / Chantal Bonner / Magali Boudey / Zakaria Bounoua / Laurent Broyon / Alain Bruner / Rafael Calvo De Febrer / Andrea Cattarino / Nicolas Cazali / Sanket Chandresh Shal / Gillian Chang / Valérie Chatelet / Karin Chen / Safia Cherif El Ofir / Keunjung Cho / Victoria Cho / Jennifer Currier / Thomas Dalbarade / Christina Danton / Ana Alexandra De Oliveira Brett / Marc De Verneuil / Aure Delaroiere / Patricia Deterville / Cristina Devizzi / Gina Di Tolla / Walter Dresscher / Cédric Druetta / Juliette Dubroca / Eric Dumarche / Anne-Claire Dursapt / Nils Edelmann / Rita El Fihri / Evans Kurt / Lisa Feldmann / Ivan Fouquet / Adriana Garwacki / Yuliya Georgieva / Julien Gicquel / Marie-Pierre Goguet / Kent Gould / Matt Grady / Elodie Graham / Romuald Grall / Caterina Grosso / Jue Gu / Jocelene Hadj / Kristina Hellhake / Oscar Hernandez-Gomez / Min Hong / Katarzyna Howorko / Stéphanie Hua / Amanda Huang / Sabrina Jaffal / Shiraz Jerbi / David Jimenez Ruiz / Seung Jin Ham / Nathalie Jolivet / Lauren Jones / Patrick Jones / Jo Joowon / Randall Knight / Kelly Koomalsingh / Gary Ku / Kim Kuy Young / Chaimae Laasel / Monica Lagarrigue / Rhiannon Laurie / Virginie Lauzon / Marion Le Coq / Mark Lean / Ben Lee / Elizabeth Lee / Christine Legat / Charlotte Leib / Kassandra Leiva / Arielle Lemaistre / Rafael Lemieszek Pinheiro / Han Li / Mathias Lukas / Mona Madan / Ayako Maetani / Kleopatra Malama / Alba Marcos Ramirez / Emily Margulies / Elizabeth Marrin / Ryan Mc Caffrey /

Mamoun Mechiche Alami / Marvia Kainama / Claudia Melniciuc / Meriem Mimoun / Robert Mohr / Jérémy Monsimert / Heather Moore / Benedetto Morici / Leslie Nguyen / Moritz Nicklaus / Cezar Nicolescu / Jean-Louis Nizon / Ceara O’Leary / Will Oren / Emily Ottinger / Yasmine Ouafa / Payap Pakdeelao / Matt Piker / Becky Quintal / Caroline Rabourdin Shell / Ashley Reed / Daniel Requesens / Diane Rhyu / Jean-Marc Rio / Zoé Ritts / Pedro Rodrigues / Camila Rodriguez Costa / Anne-Sophie Roques / Costanza Rossi / Naomi Sakamoto / Edith Saleil / Miguel Santos / Melha Sayad / Salim Sefrioui / Isabelle Sicault / Daniela Silva / Mary Stuckert / Jonathan Sturt / Lee Ann Suen / Tyler Survant / Paula Szejnfeld Sirkis / Taddonio Brian / Orfeo Tagiuri / Abdelkader Touirsa / Hanna Tullis / Saif Vagh / Philippe Vidal / Tiago Vier / Yu Wang / Duncan White / Maya White-Shure / Andrea Wong / Othmane Zerouali / Liwen Zhang / Yu Kun Zhang ––––––––––––––––––––––– Credits Photos Stefano Berca / Luc Boegly ––––––––––––––––––––––– perspectives +IMGS / Agence Morph / Anouska Hempel Design / Archirendering / Arte Factory / A-Zuga / Borja Santurino / Cédric Hamelin / Charles Massé / Christian Delecluse / Dotimage / Exagon Studio / Guillaume Hannoun / Inui / Kaupunki / Labtop / Luxigon / Mathieu Samuel / Michael Kaplan / Mvize / Nicolas Richelet / Oualalou+Choi / Robota / Stéphane Moullet / Thomas Series / Tristan Spella / Zoé Fontaine –––––––––––––––––––––––

Publication Authors : Linna Choi, Tarik Oualalou Editorial direction : Oualalou+Choi Coordination : Caterina Grosso Production : Hakim Benchekroun Graphic Design : Sylvain Enguehard Printing : Ingoprint Publisher : Actar ––––––––––––––––––––––– All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying,recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher. ––––––––––––––––––––––– Library of Congress Control Number: 2016947327 ––––––––––––––––––––––– Printed and bound in Barcelona, Spain / © 2017 / Actar / Oualalou+Choi / Sylvain Enguehard –––––––––––––––––––––––

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Architects today play a marginal role in the production of built environments, often entering a project long after its critical limits have been defined. OUALALOU+CHOI seeks to reestablish the architect’s role as necessary and pertinent, to expand and redefine the architect’s perimeter of action. The architecture presented in this book is a form of disobedience, a challenge to entrenched systems of construction. To question and pervert the established parameters of an architectural project is OUALALOU+CHOI’s modus operandi. This search for singularity is not a search for formal distinction; it’s not a fetishism of the architectural object. It speaks to a desire to define a project’s conditions of existence, to be responsible for more than a project’s formal incarnation. This compendium of essays and projects is divided into four themes: Cultural Resistance, Occupying Earth, Public Prerogatives, and Urban Transgressions . Presenting radically dissimilar projects, it illuminates the core of OUALALOU+CHOI’s work: the exploration of scale and territorial structures. Linna Choi and Tarik Oualalou are partners in OUALALOU+CHOI, an architectural firm based in Paris and Casablanca. Territories of Disobedience traces the first fifteen years of their work.


Territories of Disobedience  
Territories of Disobedience  

This compendium of essays and projects by OUALALOU+CHOI presents a confrontation of radically dissimilar projects which underscores the expl...