Cookie : NEW SOUTH

Auteur : Othmane Bengebara
source : diplome Ecole spéciale d'Architecture, 2014
Directeur d’étude : Reza Azard
Second Enseignant: Chris Younes

“Ces mutations nous amènent à réfléchir sur l’avenir du réseau de transport, notamment terrestre, dont le secteur ferroviaire représente un véritable défi pour une Afrique connectée et communicante.”

The project presented is concerned with understanding the relationships that our societies maintain with the notion of “mobility”. This term, that articulates both our economic systems and our cities, represents “the entirety of actions linked to movement within the social reality of people, material and immaterial objects, in space”. The evolution of the practice of that “mobility” at a national, regional and international scale, represents a strategic event that drives our cities to transform deeply in order to participate in the process of “globalisation.” Certain cities, which we can identify as Metropolises or “Meta-poles”, are currently the territories towards which the world converges and present themselves as true centralities of macro-geography.
As such, “mobility” transforms the relationship that we maintain with our environments and considerably modifies the infrastructure landscapes of our cities.

©Othmane Bengebara  

Tangiers is truly the reflection of the influence of “mobilities” on the urban environment, a true “world city.” The city gathers to its breast the collected characteristics of populations attracted by its geostrategic position on the Straits of Gibraltar and the Mediteranean basin: “Borrow some tanned and sturdy hustlers from the noisy docks of Barcelona, some more from the folds of the old port of Marseille; add a handfull of Turks and Syrians, sprinkle in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Mahonais, Maltese, mix vigourously and throw them like grain to the wind: you will have - near enough - the city of Tangiers.”

However, these populations have been polarised and centralised thanks to the catalyst of an architectural tool, the city’s port; The historic port of the city is truly an “Architecture” at the heart of its foundation, guarantor to its identity. This territory is above all a space under pressure: to the south it confronts the historic mass of the medina, with its heavy mineral facade, full of noise and dust; to the north, the machine of international commerce, the hundreds of ships that transit it, the realm of men and global logic; to the west, the outer fringe of a forest that instills a quasi-asymptotic rhythm in the site, with the weight of the wind in perpetual movement; and, to the east, the crushing metaphysical force of the Mediterranean that ridicules all gesture.



Tangiers has experienced spectacular development for several decades. It has become in very little time the locomotive for Moroccon economic dynamism which manifests itself in accelerated economic and demographic growth. Today, the city is the theatre within which profound mutations - linked to the process of “mobilities” concerning the Mediterraneo- African space - are played out.
As such, the evolution of strategic contexts drives towards the advent of new structuring projects, such as the “TangerMed Megaport” or the “Afrotunnel.” These structuring events have permitted the territory to organise and launch a vast program of development, the project “Tanger-Metropole” for “integrated, balanced and inclusive development of the straits’ city in order to raise it to the level of large international metropolis. The “Afro-tunnel” project reveals itself as a new “mobility” event, catalysing attentions and long term strategies: “The Afro-tunnel will provide a direct link between two continents. As well as this, it will provide the means to put in place a mode of transport that is more rapid than the ship and less costly than the aeroplane, and reinforce regional and international economic cooperation. For example, tourism or indeed commercial exchange. Finally, at a greater scale, the project will favour greater exchanges between Europe and Africa.

It is within this framework that this architectural project is born, axised on the requalification of the vacant port space of “Tangiers-city.” Indeed, the opening of the “Afro-tunnel,” the rise of the Africain economy and the development of south-south cooperation have become true parametres that are leading towards the development of an Africain railway network, at an international or even tanscontinental scale. A network of necessity that will influence the evolution of cities and cultures within the continent.
One of the main steps in the conception of this architecture project has been to draw every single scenario imaginable, in order to anchor the site of Tangiers within a much larger framework, beyond its own territory. This new geography of networks, where Tangiers becomes a “polarity”, has lead me to develop a reflexion around the relevance of an international scale train station as a regenerative element of the harbour. This station, which, like the old port, would “polarise, organise and maximise the number of relationships between places and a large scale territory in one single point”. But this public building could be, through the architecture project, the beginning of a new urban and architectural reflexion allowing a symbolic site to become an experimental territory, based on the idea of the metamorphosis of the mediterranean city and its components.

La gare patio. ©Othmane Bengebara 

La gare jardin. ©Othmane Bengebara 

La gare marché. ©Othmane Bengebara 


Photos prises à l'occasion de l'exposition New South à la galerie du Crous.
Novembre 2015.

©Pierre Seron  

©Pierre Seron