Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur

Rabat / Morocco / 2011

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The first regional headquarters branches for Moroccan bank, BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur) have opened in Rabat and Casablanca, with a further branch in Fez due to complete shortly – they are the first buildings by Foster + Partners to be completed in Africa. The banks’ contemporary interior is wrapped by a traditional, energy efficient envelope and their design is based on a modular system, which utilises local materials and craftsmanship to create a striking new emblem for BMCE. The design follows a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, with variations in colour and scale according to the bank’s location. Each building comprises 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 screens, which provide shade and security. The screens are cut from sheets of stainless steel – a special low-iron mixture that does not heat up in the sun – which are curved to create a geometric design, based on traditional Islamic patterns. The branches are designed to be highly energy efficient and use locally-sourced materials, such as black granite and grey limestone. All BMCE flagship branches feature an ‘earth tube’, an electricity-free cooling system: fresh air is drawn into an empty pipe that encircles the building underground, where it is naturally cooled by the earth and released into the branch. The dome, a recurrent element in each bank, is a reference to the design of a number of new schools in Morocco, which have received philanthropic support from BMCE Bank Foundation. The interior of the dome is rendered in tadelakt, a local plaster technique, while the exterior is clad in zellige, traditional ceramic tiles. The dome form sweeps down into the banking hall to create a sculptural curved bench. Lord Foster commented: “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.” [IT] Tradizione, contemporaneo e green si sposano nei primi progetti ultimati da Norman Foster in Africa. Si tratta delle due filiali della Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur, recentemente inaugurate a Rabat e Casablanca e a breve una terza filiale dell’istituto bancario verrà ultimata a Fez. Un involucro tradizionale ma ad alta efficienza energetica - basato su un sistema modulare, che utilizza tecniche costruttive e materiali locali come granito nero e calcare grigio - nasconde degli interni minimalisti e luminosi. Esternamente l’edificio dispone di un telaio in calcestruzzo, con un colonnato d'ingresso e una serie di campate ripetute su una griglia modulare. Le campate sono dotate di superfici vetrate e pannelli schermanti spessi 200 millimetri, che ombreggiano e celano gli interni della banca. I pannelli schermanti in acciaio inossidabile, ottenuti da una miscela a bassa percentuale di ferro in grado di non surriscaldarsi a causa dell’irraggiamento solare, sono curvati in modo tale da creare un disegno geometrico, che riprende e cita i pattern della tradizione decorativa islamica. Per raffrescare gli interni è stato sviluppato un sistema electricity-free, battezzato dal team di Foster col nome di “earth tube” ovvero “tubo ipogeo”: attraverso scambiatori geotermici sotterranei dell'acqua fredda circola attorno al perimetro dell’edificio, abbassando e mantenendo costante la temperatura di sale, uffici e aree comuni. La copertura a cupola dell’edificio è rivestita esternamente con le zellige, le tipiche piastrelle in ceramica della tradizione marocchina, mentre per gli interni è stato prescelto il tadelakt, rivestimento murale a base di calce, lucido e impermeabile, da sempre impiegato in Marocco per realizzare bagni turchi ed moschee.
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    The first regional headquarters branches for Moroccan bank, BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur) have opened in Rabat and Casablanca, with a further branch in Fez due to complete shortly – they are the first buildings by Foster + Partners to be completed in Africa. The banks’ contemporary interior is wrapped by a traditional, energy efficient envelope and their design is based on a modular system, which utilises local materials and craftsmanship to create a striking new emblem for...

    Project details
    • Year 2011
    • Work finished in 2011
    • Client Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Banks
    Lovers 80 users