Situated at the entrance of the site, the hotel occupies a privileged location overlooking the oasis, the ryad, and the swimming pools. Raised on eight v-shaped columns, the hotel contains a reception, lounge, bar, administrative rooms, and a dining area with 150 place settings. Sixty-four double rooms spread over two floors, facing either the ryad or palm grove. Zevaco designed all of the hotel’s original furniture using wood, copper, and burlap. Passive cooling systems provided “sustainable” alternatives to mechanically operated air conditioning.
In the open space created under the hotel (framed by the eight v-shaped columns), Zevaco designed a ‘water buffet’, a sculptural fountain using a variety of concrete textures painted white and blue zelliges in various forms arranged in a careful composition. The water overflows from the top vessels into the lower tank.
The hotel, ryad, bungalows, cafe, and kissaria are all owned and operated by the CDG (state pension fund). Only the hotel is operational today, although many of the original finishes have been damaged by rehabilitations which covered them with tile and paint in an attempt to “Arabize” them. Zevaco’s design had taken inspiration from vernacular Moroccan architecture in less literal ways (such as forms, their organization, use of Moroccan materials, and passive climatic design). This design has been obscured with renovations that are not cohesive or coordinated. Interior renovations to the hotel and hotel rooms have further altered the original intent behind Zevaco’s design.
In 2017 ACP received support from the Getty Foundation to create a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the Complex, transforming its abandoned buildings into pedagogical and cultural spaces. Using a participatory design approach that brings various stakeholders and the local community into the design process, a new phased masterplan for Sidi Harazem was developed. Phase one of the rehabilitation is currently underway: an adaptive reuse approach that will transform the market and hotel into cultural spaces for locals and visitors alike.
Watch the Thermal Station transform below, from its current condition to Aziza Chaouni Projects’ new masterplan!