Draping a Shawl around a Crystal
Casablanca Finance City (CFC) aspires to be the Moroccan equivalent of La Défense in Paris: a business district for international firms occupying the 350-ha site of the old airport. The development authority master-planned a new community with an expansive park, middle-class housing and social amenities to complement the workspaces. A tram links the complex to the city, and there is a high-speed train to Tangier that will eventually run south to Agadir. In the competition for the first office tower, Morphosis won over OMA, Zaha Hadid Architects and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with their design of a crystalline block that is tapered at top and bottom. A second skin of aluminum extrusions is draped like a loosely woven shawl over the block to protect the glass walls from the glare and heat of the sun, while preserving views.