01.04.2022 Jakob Schoof

Tarik Oualalou on the Moroccan Expo Pavilion in Dubai

The Moroccan pavilion is one of the most impressive buildings at Expo 2020 in Dubai: 33 m tall and seemingly made up of stacked volumes of rammed earth. However, the earthen surface conceals a shell of prefab reinforced-concrete elements. This fact has earned the pavilion its share of criticism. In this interview, Tarik Oualalou of the Oualalou + Choi architecture studio defends his approach: it is hybrid constructions such as this one that have contributed to making rammed-earth buildings not only earthquake-proof, but affordable and thus attractive to investors and their large-scale building projects.

© Boegly + Grazia

Tarik Oualalou is a founding partner of architecture firm Oualalou + Choi in Paris and Casablanca. A native of the Moroccan capital of Rabat, he studied ­architecture and civil engineering in Paris, worked for architecture firms in the USA, and has taught at universities in the USA, France, and Morocco for around 20 years.

Read more about contemporary rammed-earth building in our essay in Detail 4.2022 and in our databank Detail Inspiration.

© Oualalou + Choi

Architect: Tarik Oualalou, Oualalou + Choi

Interview: Jakob Schoof
Portrait photo: Oualalou + Choi
Project photos: Boegly + Grazia


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