MARRAKESH – The 2016 UN Climate Change Conference has just ended in Morocco. As part of the event, which takes place in a different location around the world each year, a temporary urban village is erected for the duration of the conference where gatherings of people can meet. In a joint venture with between Stephane Malka and Oulalou+Choi – the architect behind the overall tent-like design for the 2016 masterplan – Ark22 forms a gateway entrance to the site of the summit.

The architect’s approach for the installation was inspired by ecological values, as well as local Moroccan handcrafting expertise: ‘Morocco is full of traditional, ancestral skills and we aimed to offer a real valuation of these techniques here.’ Negative space is used at the centre of the gate in the form of a monumental arch that interrupts the repetitive nature of the timber shards at the boundary where architecture meets art.

The construction system consists solely of 75 x 100-mm wooden blocks stacked together without the need for joints or fixings. Consequently, the entire self-supporting structure is easily demountable and reusable. This was a key consideration for the architectural installation based on its short lifespan. ‘Each piece of timber represents the fragility – and the potential power – of forces,’ explains Malka. ‘The scenography highlights both the singular unit and the whole, stressing the importance of each of the actions taken by parties in the fight against environmental disasters.’

After the event, the wooden structure of Ark22 will be dismantled and rebuilt as a pavilion in the Agdal Gardens in the south of the city.

Photos Laurent Clement