Education / Research

Workshop atelier/terrain 2004 Marrakech (Marroco)

Central annual event of the UNESCO Chair in Landscape and Environmental Design at the University of Montreal (CUPEUM), the Workshop_atelier/terrain (WAT) that took place in Marrakesh from November 25th to December 4th 2004 was a great success. The event took place on the campus of the University of Cadi Ayyad in Marrakesh. Lead by the teaching of landscape architecture, 45 students from 8 institutions located in 4 countries (Morocco, Lebanon, Italy, and Canada) gathered for this event. An academic staff consisted of professors from the participating establishments, and a panel of experts composed of University of Cadi Ayyad professors and the Marrakesh Urban Agency professionals were also part of the workshop.

Based on preparatory work carried out by 10 students from the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Montreal, the first days of the workshop were dedicated to visiting the city of Marrakesh and its outskirts and attending conferences given by university experts and specialists from some governmental agencies. This important introduction enabled students to understand the problem and study key issues of the Palm Grove (emblematic outskirts of Marrakesh), and to collect the necessary field data for their landscape project. Through this field placement, 11 teams were constitutes, each composed of one student from each of the participating institutions.

Located in the Foyer of the University of Cadi Ayyad, the intensive labour at the workshop allowed students to first sketch a strategic position towards the entire territory of the Palm Grove and its enclaves in its urban area as well as its rural interfaces. This strategic statement, resulting from an overall analysis of the territory, led to the identification of intervention sites located to generate design proposals at various scales (urban design and planning scenarios).

This workshop generated planning suggestions and landscape projects, designed to enhance the area, preserve the natural and man made environment, and retraining of this high-rise through a sustainable development perspective. After the round the clock work (entirely conceived and developed in numerical form), the 11 projects were displayed on Saturday December 4th 2004 at the honor hall of the Marrakesh City Hall. They have been presented to the international jury, and then, for the public unveiling of the international project.

The jury, chaired by Mrs. Brigitte Colin, representative of MOST of UNESCO-Paris (France), was composed of Mrs. Jalila Kadiri of the Ministry of Culture, Mr. Abderrahmane Chorfi, director of the Urban Agency's Marrakech, and Mr. Stefan Tischer, director of the School of Landscape Architecture. After handing over the UNESCO medals to the winners, the jury congratulated all "students for giving their all to produce, despite their extreme fatigue and their cultural and educational diversity, a rich range of innovative ideas for achieving a sustainable strategy for the development of Marrakesh Palm Grove "(excerpt from remarks by the president). The announcement of results and the closing ceremony took place under the chairmanship of the mayor of Marrakech, Mr. Omar El Jazouli and has gathered several governmental figures from Marrakesh. All of them mentioned the importance of this unique international project that provides new ideas and innovative proposals for the territory of the Palm Grove's landscape. The projects presented will be further considered since several players including the Department of Urban Agency Marrakesh expressed their genuine willingness to study each proposal. In the opinion of the entire teaching staff, the work that was accomplished is the testimony of a rich multidisciplinary reflection and an uncommon student/teacher implication. This unique educational experience has identified several challenges since it required constant communication between the participants and a common ground for the diverse educational backgrounds (landscape architecture, architecture, agronomy, geography and studies in tourism), listening to the various cultures, sharing points-of-views, and obligation of tangible results.

A transfer of knowledge and life experiences from a South/ North international collaboration under the aegis of the UNESCO's MOST and MAB programmes, the WAT started out as a pilot project, an experiment regarding the implementation pedagogy anchored ("in situ") whose goal is to leave material to the local communities concerned. Most illustrations of the projects that were created during the workshop can be seen in the publication "Workshop Marrakech, la Palmeraie en paysages" published on November 1st 2005 at the publishing house "Les Presses de l'Université de Montreal" (PUM ). The book is also reporting the planning issues of this emblematic territory.


45 students

11 projects


Preparatory work of the students from the School of Landscape Architecture and the School of Architecture of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Montreal



  • First price
    "ÉCO/NO/VERDI" - project 5

    Composition de l'équipe : Gabriel Lussier, Maria Elena Fisicaro, Adil Chakir and Nora Enneddam

  • Second price ex aequo:
"La Palmeraie de Marrakech : un dessein en évolution" - project 2 

    Composition de l'équipe : Axelle Buriez, Sara Dell'Osa, Zineb Jaanine and Hind Ottmani

    "Movimento" - project 10

    Composition de l'équipe : Marco Cundari, Karim Sangaré, Guillaume Vanderveken and Khalid Ben Khellouk


Reference documents

Data mapping

Photo marking by Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec - Juin 2004