Foster + Partners completes first project in Africa with BMCE branches in Morocco
The first regional headquarters branches for Moroccan bank, BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur) have opened in Rabat and Casablanca, with a further branch in Fez due to complete shortly – they are the first buildings by Foster + Partners to be completed in Africa.
The banks’ contemporary interior is wrapped by a traditional, energy efficient envelope and their design is based on a modular system, which utilises local materials and craftsmanship to create a striking new emblem for BMCE.
The design follows a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, with variations in colour and scale according to the bank’s location. Each building comprises a concrete frame, with an entrance colonnade and a series of bays repeated on a modular grid. The bays are enclosed by glazed panels and 200mm-deep screens, which provide shade and security.
The screens are cut from sheets of stainless steel – a special low-iron mixture that does not heat up in the sun – which are curved to create a geometric design, based on traditional Islamic patterns.
The branches are designed to be highly energy efficient and use locally-sourced materials, such as black granite and grey limestone.
Photographs are by Nigel Young, courtesy Foster + Partners.