Masters of Architecture student, William Yuan, has taken out an international competition for his innovative design of a memorial site designed to honour the victims of suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco.
While completing his final year of study at UniSA, William was awarded first prize in the Bee Breeders Casablanca Bombing Rooms International Architecture Competition. The competition brief was to transform the devastated site into one that educates, promotes peace and honours the tragedy.
Competing against people all over the world, William’s impressive design – featuring a towering structure veiled in a black perforated façade housing a public library, cinema, and learning centre – holds an important significance in an area steeped in tragedy.
In 2003 the Moroccan city of Casablanca was rocked by a series of suicide bombings in the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.
William lists these sentiments, the challenging nature of the work, and the opportunity to test himself against the wider architecture community as some of his driving motives to enter the competition.
“The opportunity to enter the competition was given to fifth year architecture students by our course coordinator, Rachel Hurst, as part of our final Design Studio for Master of Architecture,” William says.
“What drew me to the brief was the challenge to do something new in that I’ve never designed a library or designed within an international context such as Casablanca.
“The challenge of addressing the cultural and political issues associated with the bombings was also an aspect that really intrigued me.”
According to the HMMD competition’s guidelines, William’s original design had to incorporate a number of concepts and dichotomies to adequately transform the site into one of community, learning, and cultural exchange in the quest for awareness and peace.
“Alongside a library, the competition also included an exhibition space that communicated the meaninglessness of violence,” William says.
“Rather than choosing the traditional idea of an exhibition space, I looked at different mediums of communication that would resonate more strongly to the people of Casablanca.
“The end result was the idea of incorporating a series of cinemas that would serve as the exhibition spaces throughout the library.”
William also says he seriously considered the differences when designing for a foreign country and its sensibilities through contextual research that was eventually incorporated into his design.
“One of the largest differences between Morocco and Australia is the influence of Islamic culture, which has strongly influenced my final design,” William says.
As William finishes up his degree, he says the opportunities he has been given through his work at UniSA and the Casablanca Bombing Rooms Competition has positively reinforced his career pathway.
For more information on the winning design, go to casablancabombingrooms.beebreeders.com/.
In another international architecture competition, an entry by UniSA lecturer Dr David Kroll has been acknowledged as one of 10 winning submissions.
The New London Architecture “New Ideas for Housing - International Ideas Competition” attracted more than 200 entries from 16 countries around the world, from world-renowned architects, developers, consultants, local boroughs and everyday city residents.
The competition entrants were invited to submit an idea that would help to improve the speed, scale and quality of housing supply, making a significant contribution to the delivery of quality housing in London.
Dr Kroll’s entry: “Investing in London’s Future by Learning from its Past” drew on the leasehold system of housing development, with social sustainability being a key consideration of the proposal.
The winning ideas will be presented to the Greater London Authority who will study their feasibility as options for the future of the London housing market.