Agadir. The Commons and the Modern Afropolis

Tom Avermaete, Irina Davidovici, Janina Gosseye, Cathelijne Nuijsink, Hans Teerds
Seit 2019

After Agadir (Morocco) was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1960, the city articulated a modern and innovative plan for its reconstruction that relied on novel urban typologies and morphologies. This research documents and analyses the urban reconstruction of Agadir and posits that a great deal can be learned from this exemplary project.
Guiding the city’s reconstruction were the so-called “Normes d’Agadir”, a set of common codes and norms that specified a shared materiality and stipulated design guidelines for the public spaces of the city. These Normes d’Agadir allowed multiple architects to work on different reconstruction projects simultaneously and, together, construct a new, “modern Afropolis”. This research project analyses how the Normes d’Agadir were translated into different reconstruction projects that together constituted the architecture of the city. It thus offers a different conception of an urban project in which design is not understood as the definition of a blueprint, but rather as a matter of defining common codes and norms that can be used by different architects and urban designers.
In addition, this research project also foregrounds how the explicit codes and norms that offered a framework for the reconstruction of the city interacted with implicit social and cultural processes. It illustrates how this exchange – between explicit codes and implicit processes, between designers and citizens – affected the reconstruction and re-imagining of Agadir. The project maintains that this historical experience can inspire contemporary architects and urban designers to engage in new ways of approaching urban design.