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Kasbah d'Agadir Oufella

The rebirth of Agadir Oufella

Sixty years after the earthquake, it was decided to give this emblematic site in the history of Morocco a new life, in compliance with international protocols for post-disaster heritage interventions and by mobilizing the latest technologies in terms of heritage, in order to open the site to visits and contemplation.

Agadir oufella

This is how the Royal Urban Development Program of Agadir 2020-2024, enacted on February 4, 2020, under the effective presidency of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, made it possible to mobilize a budget of 120 million dirhams for the heritage of the Kasbah of Agadir Oufella which embodies a whole section of the memory of the Kingdom.

Preventive archaeology and archaeological excavations

Preventive archaeology is an emergency intervention whose first role is to study the remains at risk of being destroyed by construction work. In addition to identifying the heritage, the discipline’s second vocation is to scientifically document each intervention.

In the rehabilitation project of the Agadir Oufella site, preventive archaeology was the key element that allowed us to verify the accuracy of the lineaments of the walls, examine the foundations of the building and evolve the restoration project in light of archaeological discoveries.

After having studied the numerous old photographs and having spent three years with the monument in order to draw up surveys and plans, the architect, together with the other experts, put forward hypotheses on the possible interventions on site.

The stratigraphy, the archaeological surveys, and the multiple samples made it possible to reconstruct a constructive chronology over at least five centuries, which was then put into perspective with the great historical moments of the fortress.

fouilles archéologiques fouilles archéologiques
Mur est

East wall, a historic wall shows the marks of its age

Memory is inscribed in the walls that have been worked on to show their irregularities or their materiality, to show how the wall was built. Faced with the pain of the survivors who lost part of their family in the place, it was necessary to reveal this memory of the trauma.

A historic wall thus presents the marks of its age, the resumptions of work, the patinas that have resisted, the old lime, and the parts that have survived the earthquake. Confronted with this site battered by history, the strength of the monument resists the onslaught of time and, against all odds, continues to give history lessons.

La restauration du Mur Est

Restoration of the East Wall

In order to restore the East wall with accuracy, the materials, the architectural and historical specificities have been researched and documented. A preventive excavation operation was carried out to precede the restoration, making it possible to understand the wall stratigraphy of the rampart. Several stratigraphic layers have been unearthed up to the bedrock, as well as archaeological material providing clues to past ways of life at this location of the ramparts.

Mur Est le cerne mémoriel

Wall is the memory ring

To differentiate, on the one hand, the lower parts of the wall that resisted the earthquake, from the upper parts restored during the heritage development project (2020-2024), a treatment of the facade was chosen. The lime rendering stage was an opportunity to distinguish the parts of the wall that resisted the earthquake, and those that were rebuilt identically.

Two whitewashes differentiate them: a more sustained tone for the past, and an immaculate tone for the recent reconstruction..

Rehabilitation of the South Wall

The South Wall of the Agadir Oufella Fortress is a wall that was partially destroyed by the 1960 earthquake and all the structures were deeply shaken at that time. In the context of rehabilitation work on the fortress at the end of the 1990s, this wall was rebuilt over its entire length with composite materials, including stone elements placed on a reinforced concrete structure in regular chainings, itself leaning against or enclosing more or less original adobe elements. On the part near the door, the stone and blocking elements disintegrated and disarticulated, resulting in partial collapses.

 

These peculiarities have led to the need to recover the wall in its entirety during the site rehabilitation operation (2020-2024), based on a clearly visible archaeological section of the wall to guide its integral restitution.

rehabilitation du mur sud

The south-east Borj, the restoration

During its rehabilitation, the archaeological excavation revealed several periods of occupation, the oldest of which contains lime-stabilized rammed earth that resembles the Saadian rammed earth of Taroudannt. Characteristic seismic faults broke the rammed earth without collapsing it. Stone retaining buttresses were added to the tower over the centuries to to avoid the necessity of complete reconstruction.

During the earthquake, the bases of this bastioned and squat adobe tower therefore remained intact: it is these that we continue to observe today.

In 1998, the reconstruction had enclosed the old bastion, which survived the earthquake, in a sarcophagus of concrete and stone. It was unearthed during the dismantling in 2021. All the old coatings have therefore been preserved and highlighted in the restoration that followed, bearing witness to the scars of the turbulent history of the Borj.

Borj du mur sud
Tribute Seismic walls in tribute to the victims

The walls of the reception platform have benefited from sustainable construction techniques and implementation processes, resulting in an earthquake-resistant design. They were gradually erected horizontally, course by course and double-walled, in alternating layers of dry stone and wood masonry, without any mortar. This seismic wall is constructed by laying two wooden wall beams longitudinally parallel to each other; this sets the width of the wall. The edge elements are assembled by overlapping and fixed by a wooden spacer forming the harness of the whole. In the event of an earthquake, the walls deform and reposition themselves, mitigating the damage.

 

This arrangement is a proven paraseismic system in the Himalayas, whose equivalents exist in the high pre-Saharian valleys of Morocco.

 

For security reasons, a metal structure was added to the body of the building. This structure is also assembled according to seismic standards.

Decking, an innovative discovery device

To tell visitors about the city that has disappeared, a route on decking takes up the historical framework of the old streets, squares and alleys present in the citadel before 1960. This layout of the medinal fabric has been reconstructed thanks to the support of several maps and aerial photos of the site, dating from before the earthquake, as well as an urban analysis.

In view of the tragedy experienced by the Kasbah of Agadir Oufella during the earthquake of 1960, it was essential to respect the memory of the victims by erecting a circulation platform allowing people to walk around the place without setting foot on the ground. Designed like a network of wooden walkways, the wood decking offers a route punctuated by stages with archive photos and explanations, and concluding with a memorial in honor of those who died.

Platelage