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The Women's House of Imloul
Imloul, Morocco
image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Location:
Imloul, Morocco
Category:
work & business
Phase:
under construction
Updated:
30 December 2022
An architectural project promoting women's empowerment, rural development and local traditions.

In 2019, the community of Imloul started to build a women’s house for the association: a place where they could bake and sell bread, manufacture traditional carpets and store locally-sourced honey. However, after building the bearing walls, the work stopped due to lack of money. Together with the community we are joining forces to complete this project
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Introduction
The women of Imloul are a very engaged and skillful community, dedicated to the management of the house and the family. They have organised an association with the goals of financial independence and strengthening of their community. Their president, Meryem, returned to Imloul after receiving her education and has committed herself to helping her community in all ways. 

In 2019, the community started to build a women’s house for the association where the women could bake and sell bread and other products, manufacture carpets following traditional techniques, and store locally-sourced honey. However, after building the bearing walls with the rammed earth technique, the work stopped due to lack of money. 
This is why, together with the local community, we are seeking funding to complete this project.

We met with the association members to discuss which activities to include in the building design and how to optimize the layout using natural locally-sourced sustainable materials. 

Given these conversations and goals, we have designed with the women a building which contains a room where children can play while their mothers are working, a communal kitchen with a store front to the street to allow for selling of baked goods, a workshop area with storage for the production of carpets, a communal room for association-related meetings and an office space.
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Impact
Over 50 village women will be the direct beneficiaries of this project, as it will provide them space to support their association activities. Their children and families will also benefit from improved income-generating activities (and subsequent impacts of the increased income) of the women.
In addition, local builders and artisans will be provided employment and expand their building skills given our collaboration with Studio 2111, an Italian practice founded by the architect Fabrizio Carola, that focuses on the design of curved surfaces such as domes.
Following a discussion with the community about recurrent droughts and the village's water management, we have expanded the project to include a soil regeneration program to tackle the ongoing desertification. Hence, the larger community of Imloul will benefit from the increased revenue generation, improved environmental conditions and overall increased community well-being.
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Core team
At terre à terre asbl we are an international group of down to earth designers, focussing on creating new opportunities for communities through participatory design and promoting the use of natural materials and traditional building techniques with a contemporary approach.
During a collaborative project of the Women’s House of Ouled Merzoug (BBB programme) we had the opportunity to meet the women of the Association féminine du dawar Imloul. They showed us the walls of what should have become a women’s centre, which was never completed due to lack of money. We agreed to look for funds in order to help them achieve their goal.
The director of our partner Perma Atlas - Latifa, who speaks Amazigh, was very helpful in overcoming language barriers and bridging cultural differences. The women explained to us which activities the building should accommodate and, since the project would have been organised in phases, which rooms to prioritise.
Our partner Studio2111, an Italian practice founded by the architect Fabrizio Carola, that focuses on the design of curved surfaces & organic shapes, proposed a structure made of arches and domes in order to speed up the construction and be cost effective, avoiding the use of expensive timber beams.
The local builders, organised in the Association of Naktachef, were keen on working with the domes as it was an opportunity to gain new technical skills.
With the great support of the Municipality of Schaerbeek (Brussels, Belgium), constantly engaged in cooperation, and thanks to friends' donations, we were able to finance over 50% of the budget!
Core Team

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Image gallery
Women's Activities

image: Auranne Leray | © all rights reserved
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Existing Situation

image: Aurora Fanti | © all rights reserved
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Existing Situation - Courtyard

image: Aurora Fanti | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Demolitions

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Lunch Break

image: Aurora Fanti | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Adobe production

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Meeting on site

image: Giulia Ventre | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Meryem on site

image: Giulia Ventre | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Dome Construction - the compass

image: Mohammed Oualla | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Dome construction

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Dome construction communal room

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Communal Room

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Taking over of the Communal Room

image: Auranne Leray | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Workshop space

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Meryem preparing earth plaster

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 1 - Roof finish

image: Martina Petrosino | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2 - Furniture Setting-out

image: Auranne Leray | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2 - Kitchen cabinets

image: Auranne Leray | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2 - Sink installation

image: Auranne Leray | © all rights reserved
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Phase 2 - Kitchen Internal Finishes

image: Mohammed Oualla | © all rights reserved
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Technical drawings
Site Plan

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Plan - Existing Situation

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Plan - Proposed

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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3D view - Existing

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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3D view - Current Situation

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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3D view - Complete

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Internal View - Communal Room

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Plan and Section - Kids' Room

image: Studio2111 | © all rights reserved
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Estimation Quantity Adobe

image: Studio2111 | © all rights reserved
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Plan and Details - Kids' Room

image: Studio2111 | © all rights reserved
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Kitchen Interiors Plan - Steel Frames

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Kitchen Interiors Plan - Bricks

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Technical Detail & Dates

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Notes from Building Site

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Sketches from site

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Help bring our project to life!

There are no updates yet.

Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
During phase 1, completed in April 2022, we managed to:
  • build 7 dome structures, covering kitchen, communal room and kids' room
  • install 7 new windows and 2 doors made from reclaimed timber
  • finish the roof with lime and earth plaster, including build-up of parapets.   
We are currently busy on site with phase 2, which involves the construction of built-in furniture for the communal kitchen, including internal finishes of walls and floor. When the women will be able to bake bread and cook for the local rituals and celebrations, the association will start making a profit.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
56% funding already raised
70% expertise already found
90% materials / equipment already found
100% builders already found
Finance: € 15,400
Thanks to the support of our local partners and with the experience gained during the previous phases, we were able to envision a realistic budget for the next ones, including: local construction materials and tools, worker’s salaries and lunch (as per local custom).

With phase 3 we are planning to give the workshop space, the place dedicated to the production of carpets, a roof. We will install an entrance door and several windows, and provide a toilet. 

During phase 4 we will focus on interior and exterior finishes (walls and floors), and during phase 5 we will reorganise the outdoors taking into account permaculture principles and sustainable soil management.
  • construction of 4 dome structures
8,800
  • construction of toilet
1,000
  • Interior and exterior finishes
3,000
  • outdoor spaces
2,000
  • travel expenses for the team and other experts
600
Skills: Technique, Design, Financial advice, PR & Marketing
Design and Technique: 
We are looking for a landscape designer, possibly with experience in semi-arid climates.  We need the support of an agronomist who could teach the locals about sustainable soil management/permaculture techniques  

PR & Marketing:
We would like to support the women of Imloul in starting their activity, making a business plan, attract customers and display their products in an effective way

Financial Advice:
We need support on finding new ways to fund the project and keep the centre running
Landscaping Ideas

image: TAT | © all rights reserved
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Stuff: Equipment & tools
We would like to install a PV panel system in order to run the centre in a sustainalble way, taking advantage of the abundancy of sunshine
Help bring our project to life!
Location
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