Location: Marrakech, Morocco
An adventure searching for the perfect derelict Riad, through the constuction itself, to the end result (insha'Allah!)

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas deliveries at Riad Romm'an

Its was over 20 degrees in Marrakech last week and the sun was shining.  Perfect weather for house building.  Very different to the cold, rain and wind in Scotland!

Various deliveries started arriving and being stockpiled on the surrounding streets.  These include structural steel, floor beams and massive quantities of sand and cement.

Even double doors have arrived to create a temporary site entrance onto the derb.

With the ground floor in and the columns up, the project was now ready for work to start on the first floor level.  

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Rapid Progress - Week Five

It's week five already and progress has been rapid with the foundations completed and structural columns going up. 

There was some serious drama and stress this week with the need to transfer funds to the builder for purchase of materials and payment of workers.  A blockage at our Moroccan bank meant that after they had stated the transfer had been made the previous week, we discovered it hadn't and wouldn't be possible.  The builder started laying off workers and was down to a skeleton crew, then threatened to stop work completely!  The London branch of our Moroccan bank were worried about transferring money out of our account without us being there in person (in London) to verify it.  However, after a tense few days and some straight talking over the phone with the boss, they eventually relented and the funds made their way across!  Work is back on track and progress continues apace.

Many thanks to Grant Rawlings of Chic Marrakech, our project manager, for keeping us up to date with daily emails and photographs from the site.  Here's a selection of photos courtesy of Grant, from week five:
Surprisingly, potatoes are being used for the foundations of the courtyard.

Oh, no they are pebbles, not potatoes!  But why the strange metal bin set centrally into the concrete of the courtyard?  Perhaps this is actually a mould for the drain for the central fountain to enable the concreting in of the courtyard base.

Waiting for the concrete courtyard base to set.  Don't walk on it!!!

  And this hole is going to be a planter...hopefully for a new pomegranate tree?!

Ah yes, the technical bit, this picture and the one below show the cutting into the external pise walls for the columns and first floor beams. This is so that these crumbling old walls remain insitu until the building structure is complete, thereby avoiding causing instability to the neighbouring house walls.

And this is the first of the column cores which will form lovely octagonal columns for our colonnaded salon.  Next week more structural work and the first floor will being going in!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

" أحببت هذا البيت" ("I liked that house") said the Marrakech cat

As the front of the house onto the derb is finally demolished and the last remaining wall disappears, the old house is no more!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dar Cherifa

For the past seventeen years, Abdellatif Ait Ben Abdellah has been sympathetically restoring traditional riads and dars in the medina of Marrakech.  But Dar Cherifa, became something far more personal and complex.  Some of the house dates back to the sixteenth century with some nineteenth-century additions, but the building was in a poor condtion when Abdellatif took it on.  He decided to restore any detailing that still existed, otherwise walls and floors were kept bare and whitewashed.

Restoration work has revealed the large wooden beams used to support the house, some of which have been carved so they sit in harmony with the stucco-work which surrounds them.
Restoration work on Dar Cherifa took eight months, with an emphasis on simplicity and authenticity.  Floors and walls are finished in very straightforward fashion, with a water marble pool at the centre of the courtyard, although originally the floors would have been covered in traditional zellige.  Doors were stripped of paint, while mukarnas and stucco were also restored.

The result is an authentic restoration, presenting the dar much as it would have been four centuries ago.  The house is used as a cafe and exhibition space, so the public can come and see Dar Cherifa for themselves.  Dar Cherifa, 8 Derb Chorfa Lakbir (off Rue Mouassine), Medina, Marrakech, Morocco Tel. 212 24 42 64 63