Located on the Atlantic Coast approximately 90 km south of the capital city Rabat, Casablanca is the largest city, not only in Morocco, but the Maghreb. It is the nation's chief port, and the business and financial center of the country.
Originally known as Anfa, the city of Casablanca started out as a small settlement. It was renamed Casa Branca by the Portuguese who took control of the city in 1468 CE/872 AH. They rebuilt the city and changed its name to "Casa Branca" Like Casablanca, a term that came into use when Portugal became part of the Spanish Kingdom, it means "White House." In 1755/1168 AH the city was largely destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned by the European population. It was rebuilt by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah, during whose reign the harbor became essential to sugar, tea, wool, and other trade. From 1912 to 1956 the city was part of the French Protectorate, who continued to use the Spanish name. The first governor, Marshal Lyautey developed the ambitious plan to may the city the economic capital of Morocco. In 1953 Michel Écochard devised a linear extension plan that would stretch between the ports of Casablanca and Mohammedia.
The low buildings of the medina contrast starkly with the skyscrapers of the new city. According to the World Population Review, the 2015 population of the city itself was significantly over 3 million, with the population of the metropolitan area being estimated at approximately 5 million.
This transport hub, designed to anticipate 25 million passenger trips per year in the future, comprises a large passenger hall opening onto a wide square to the southwest and the platforms to the southeast, a shopping centre located on the lower level of the hall, an underground car park and an office building. The dimensions of the vast concourse and the walkways leading to the transverse platform are designed to deal with commuter travel and peak time loadings occurring over the same periods during the day. The architecture of the station hall is characterised by its hypostyle roof, a wide canopy of wood and steel extending beyond the facades to jut out over the square, and thin supporting columns, the upper part of which split into eight branches to filter sunlight through the skylight. The hall’s glass facades enable travellers to grasp the organisation of the station and its walkways and, on the west side, a contemporary mashrabiyya-like system filters the strong afternoon sunlight. In anticipation of future transformations, the hub has been devised in a way that allows its future connection with a potential regional express line station. In its spaces, volumes, materials, lighting and geometry, the station carries on the heritage of Moroccan palaces and public buildings, while paying tribute to the modernity of Casablanca.