Mr. Charles Boccara is a Tunisian architect who grew up in Morocco. He completed his architecture training at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1968. He returned to live in Morocco permanently in 1971, and established his private practice in Marrakech. Mr. Boccara's body of work draws on local building traditions while aiming to create a modern architecture appropriate to Morocco.
Ait Ourir, a town of 20'000 inhabitants, is located in an agricultural region 34 km from Marrakech. The project, entailing the building of both living and education facilities for orphans, was a joint venture between Moroccan Ministry of Social Affairs and the international organisation S.C Kinderdorf. A rather special approach to the problem of creating facilities for orphans entails children of different ages and sexes living in houses and participating in family life organised by a mother. These ten family houses form, together with support facilities (guest pavilion, administrative service building, kindergarten, recreation areas), a small community unit. A village square was also created to encourage interaction between the Children's Village and the town of Ait Ourir.
The site of the Children's Village is intensively cultivated and includes a natural axis set up by a double row of apricot trees. This axis is used as a main organizational element linking the various facilities of the complex. In addition to the main axis, the creation of traditional space organisation was achieved through several additional features. An enclosed garden forms the reception area, bordered by two identical buildings (guest pavilion, administrative building). The houses are situated along a path which links these to the kindergarten, atelier and amphitheatre. Conceived in a traditional manner, the houses are composed of peripheral rooms opening onto an inner courtyard. A loggia provides the link between the patio and the garden around each house. The structure of the various buildings is load bearing granite walls and foundations. Local craftsmen were employed to carry out traditional building techniques.