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Foster finishes first buildings in Africa

[First look + plans] Foster + Partners has completed its first buildings in Africa – the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur’s (BMCE) regional headquarters in Rabat and Casablanca

The modular ‘kit-of-parts’ approach allows variations in colour and scale according to the bank’s location with a further branch in Fez is due to finish shortly.

According to the practice, the banks’ ‘wrap’ has been designed as a ‘traditional, energy efficient envelope’ which uses ‘local materials and craftsmanship’.

Each building has a concrete frame, with an entrance colonnade and a series of bays repeated on a modular grid. The bays are enclosed by glazed panels and 200mm-deep stainless steel screens for ‘shade and security’.

The architect’s view

Practice founder Norman Foster said: ‘The BMCE flagship branches - our first completed buildings in Africa - reinterpret elements
of traditional Moroccan architecture, combining these with a contemporary interior that reflects the Bank’s progressive approach to its customers. This blend of ancient principles and modern technology is also reflected in an energy efficient design. The result is a series of buildings that are sustainable and each one, uniquely, of its place.’

Project data

Scheme name: BMCE Bank Branches in Rabat, Casablanca and Fes, Morocco
Client: BMCE Bank (Banque Marocaine de Commerce Exterieur)
Appointment: 2007
Construction: February 2009- December 2010
Gross Area: Rabat - 655m²; Casablanca - 370m²; Fes - 750m²
Internal Net Area: Rabat - 300m²; Casablanca - 200m²; Fes - 340m²
Site Area: Rabat - 960m²; Casablanca - 500m²; Fes - 1280m²
Typical Gross Floor Area: Rabat - 240m²; Casablanca - 150m²; Fes - 210m²
Building Height: 11m
Number of storeys: 3
No. of Offices: Rabat - 6; Casablanca - 2; Fes - 8
Structure: Reinforced concrete
Cladding: Glazed aluminium façade
Stainless steel panels
Domes clad in Zellige (traditional ceramic tiling)



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