The Fobe House – Morocco

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

The Arab Spring unleashed a wave of construction throughout the region,  and various architects and designers are now changing the face of the Middle East. Guilhem Eustache has approached and dealt with architectural design in this foreign land by meeting barriers with the right architectural answers. Like a man behind a camera,  he plays with visual perception,  still respecting the local context without surrendering to the folklore and cultural motifs of Morocco.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

Having visited Morocco numerous times,  Guilhem Eustache was mesmerized by the country and has consequently implemented three architectural projects. In relation to his architectural philosophy,  Eustache has stated that all his projects are inscribed in what each region and country deserves,  created in line with their climatic,  cultural and economic conditions.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

But lets take things from the top. The project started when a client introduced Eustache to a film producer in Belgium, who proposed that he draw up plans for several houses on land he had bought in Marrakech. At present, there are only four functioning buildings on the plot, while the brown earth between the buildings makes the site seem like a work in progress.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

The Fobe House is part of a far larger project, detached from the other homes, although it maintains the feel of the original trio. It looks like concept art with the desert as the backdrop – unreal, surreal. The mystique is even more evident during the night when the lights are on.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

Formerly conceived as the site’s guardhouse, the Fobe house was built in splendid isolation. Through neoclassical facades, and high-rises, introduced by the French style of Eustache, it appears to bridge local Islamic geometry and streamlined European modernism. By duly focusing on linearity and symmetry, the main house extends to just over 172m².

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

The Fobe House was designed to be intentionally minimalistic. At first glance,  it seems like it takes its cue from Stonehenge,  but reinterpreted into a bizarre hodge-podge of white cubes.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

The three doubled walls create high-rise rooms and shifting light patterns inside during the daytime. On the other side of the walls lies the main body of the building. According to the owner: “There is something very labyrinthine about it. You can always go in from another side or through a different route – there isn’t just one way to experience this space.” The foyer opens up onto a pool and thenceforth the cube-shaped pool house and a set of uphill,  stone steps. With the Atlas mountains behind them,  you feel that you are genuinely walking up into the mountains.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

For the cladding, tadelakt [a waterproof form of lime plaster] techniques symbolize the Moroccan earth and successfully achieve unity. Even with the Moroccan geometric detail grafted onto whitewashed European edifices, the major detail of this structure is its ostensibly organic ties to the environment.

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

We believe that there’s no other house quite like this in all Morocco. To some,  the house’s splendor is startling,  given the extreme modesty of its façade. Yet both interior and exterior are hallmarks of Morocco’s unveiled charm and suggest that the Arabian Nights tales are based in reality. For us,  the Fobe is a house of contradictions – European and Arab,  luxurious and shabby,  comfortable and exotic,  familiar and mysterious. It exemplifies what the Mediterranean life-style is about and how to live it.

Below:  During Construction

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache The Fobe House - Guilhem Eustache

 

Commisioner: private, Belgian film producer
Architect: Guilhem Eustache
Photography © Jean-Marie monthiers

WordsMaria Passarivaki


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