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.
Ait Ourir Childrens' S.O.S. Village On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1989.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.