Bioclimatic grounscraper,

Ifrane 2011,


TYPE: Architectural and Engineering Consultancy

CLIENT: Private Client, Morocco


PROGRAM: Presidential Rest Houses Complex

SURFACE AREA: 10 000 m²


ARCHITECT: Vincent Callebaut Architectures, SARL Paris

VCA’S TEAM: Emilie Diers, Frederique Beck, Benoit Patterlini, Marco Conti Sikic, Vincent Callebaut


The complex is located in the heart of a wide clearing, lined by a dense forest and protected by pines and red cedars of a height from 20 to 30 meters. From this site with wild character, perched at more than 1890 meters in height, the Atlas Mountains range comes to light royal and majestic.

Our architectural ambition is to reveal the intrinsic qualities of the site, its real endemic identity. This «Genius Loci» is reached by sculpturing the relief of the landscape with a 30 % slope on the one hand, and by forging the wood as unique material of the construction on the other hand. The project is meant to be intimist and stealthy, as to offer better its inhabitants a real protective case, in the heart of a preserved nature.

Contrary to urban skyscraper, we thus came to scratch this forest earth, to draw in it an elegant crescent moon beaming and offering incredible panoramic views toward the nature. This bioclimatic crescent moon shelters the program of the complex and is partly coiled in the ground. Indeed, the natural slope of the ground comes to cover it with a wide green roof. Only appears in the landscape a slender and reddening hull in red cedar, inscribed in a perfect circle rooting it confidentially in the site.


Programmatic functions of the complex get organized as a musical partition, punctuated with full and space, with shade and light, with mineral and vegetable.

The VIP chalet is situated in the axis of the crescent moon and eight family chalets spread on both sides of it, according to a radial road organization. Assuming the guiding arc of a circle of the project, these chalets with passive energy are chanted by luxuriant gardens, real alcoves of floral fragrances.

In day side, living-rooms of these wooden chalets raise their axes of vision in prospect of the Atlas Mountains range to the North. In night side, rooms and shower-rooms are directed to an open-air internal patio in the shape of lens. In this quiet and brightened up patio, sheltering the swimming pool, we find the friendly atmosphere of the Moroccan riad, oasis of freshness and well-being.

Along the South profile of the patio, a vegetable waterfall grows on a huge “ moucharabié “ and allows to split the noble parts of the complex of the logistic spaces of services, intended for companions, guards and servants.

The Majlis, cornerstone of the complex, appearing as a rough diamond cut in facets, is implanted on the green roof, in the axis of the crescent moon. In the heart of the clearing, he allows, unnoticed, to dominate in 360 degrees all King’s Forest and the mountainous horizon.

From this luxurious belvedere, perfectly sewn in the skeleton of the wooden hull, releases itself a strong emotion of freedom, beauty and serenity. It is a real dumping «into the wild”. How thrown in the bow of a boat navigating a vegetable sea, we feel there like kings of the world !


Our will is to conceive a determinedly ecological building presenting a zero carbon footprint, in the biggest respect for the forest ecosystem in which it will be built. The principles of "passive" said natural bio-air conditioning were so joined from the conception of the project “Red Moon”. Furthermore, the complex is implemented by the ingenious and invisible integration of renewable energies, such as thermal solar energy, photovoltaic solar energy and the geothermic system.

Natural resources of this King’s Forest, the pine and the red cedar will be reinvented in all their forms and assemblies, with the best carpenters and manufacturers, to profile the sensual banks of this crescent moon marrying perfectly the curves of the landscape.

The skeleton will be realized with glue laminated wood, allowing a freedom of forms in the double curvatures. Our architecture, using the earth of the clearing and the wood which grows in the forest as building materials, will be consequently ecological 100 %, respecting »cradle to cradle» cycles where any used material will be recycled and/or recyclable.

Canadian wells will naturally allow to ventilate the presidential complex. This geothermal system will indeed allow to cool the internal atmospheres in summer and to warm them in winter, by taking advantage of frigories and calories of the ground.

Strips of amorphous photovoltaic sensors will be glued on the convex outer fields of small wooden strips recovering all the hull of the project. Of brown color, these solar cells will become confused with the color of the wood of the skeleton, but they will supply, nevertheless, in the 9 chalets, all the electricity necessary for their smooth running. Between these wooden arcs, photo-catalytic tubes can also be integrated to supply the sanitary hot water.

The green roof, as for it, will allow to impact at least the footprint of the building on the ground. It will constitute a natural case for the fauna and the flora of this Moroccan biodiversity, while insuring an excellent heat and acoustic insulation.

To finish, the integration of the main access road in the complex wants itself sober and discreet too. This one dives into the leveled topography of the ground to disappear and innervate the crescent moon by its median line, all along a rangy luminous fault.

RED MOON is thus a project eco-conceived from the immanent natural resources of King’s Forest. It is an architecture of silence that prefers to adapt itself to the geography of the site rather than to upset it. It is a real project of sublimation of the nature, in the service of well-being and relaxation of the VIP inhabitants and their guests!



PHONE : 0033.
Vincent Callebaut Architectures
2, rue de la Roquette
75011 Paris


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