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Towards a second life of the Abattoirs of Casablanca

On 26 March, the Cities of Casablanca and Amsterdam, together with Casamemoire, presented ‘L'Batwar - Story of a Transformation’ in the former abattoirs in Morocco’s largest city. The book portraits the history of the architecturally fascinating municipal slaughterhouses, situated between the city centre and the neighbourhood Hay Mohammadi.

Many factory workers and their families were living in this neighbourhood with a strong social cohesion, where political resistance lead to several large protests in the past. After the factory closed its doors in the beginning of the century, the strategic position in the city and its exceptional architectural beauty gave rise to thoughts of converting the complex into a driver for development of the area. Since 2009, a group of around 15 socio-cultural organisations make use of the spaces and developed a programme as 'Fabrique Culturelle’, involving also many inhabitants and their children.

It is time to diverge towards a more definite mode of use, allowing the architectural beauty of the abattoirs to shine again. The book gives a colourful insight of the past of the buildings, its formal use and its more informal socio-cultural function in the recent years through texts, images and drawings. Possible ways forward are reflected via examples of successful conversions from similar complexes elsewhere in the world.

The book, a common effort of the cities of Casablanca and Amsterdam as a vector of their International Collaborative programme, is coordinated by Abderrahim Kassou, with Maria Daif as publication director. The graphic design is from Rudy Guedj, who graduated at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam with this project. AAmatters was involved in the production of 'L'Batwar’ through Berend van der Lans, who was part of the Editorial Board and contributed to the book with a few texts.

Read the interview on the book with Maria Daif in French here.

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