- Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Restored oases.
For over a decade, Moroccan architect and anthropologist, Salima Naji has worked to reclaim four historical sites Morocco, and is thrilled with the reward for her tireless efforts, shortlisted for the prestigious architecture award. Her work focuses on restoring and revitalising buildings ranging from the local granary to fortified citadels and abandoned sites such as Qsar Assa.
So this nomination is for a project that not only preserves an important historical and architectural heritage, but also seeks new ways of doing this. Salima Naji fostered a relationship between the community and its historic buildings by hiring and training local workers who are involved in both the decisions and in the actual restoration works.
By creating this social cohesion she has also helped strengthen the ties of the inhabitants with their historical environment. Two essential foundations for sustainable development in these rural zones in Morocco, steeped in history.
Salima Naji trained unskilled locals in traditional building techniques, thus creating jobs and providing a new model for a more sustainable way of living that keeps local communities more closely linked to their backgrounds.
Location: Guelmim Region, Morocco (Africa)
Architect: Salima Naji, Kénitra, Morocco, http://www.salimanaji.org
Client: Agence pour le Développement des Provinces du Sud, Cooperazione Internationale Sud Sud
Completed: 2011 ongoing
Site size: 3 ha
Photographs: Copyright AKAA, Cemal Emden, evening picture by David Goeury