Saving the River in Fes
Up river some boys rinsed gold tea pots with an acid finish. Down river, a group of men pound animal skins in the water. The river that runs through Fes serves many purposes. None smell or look particularly beautiful.
Maybe that will change soon.
Reading about top sustainable construction projects in From The Nation Business, I was happy to see mention of the river in the Fes medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“A youthful and international project team led by architect Aziza Chaouni ( Morocco ) and urban planner Takako Tajima ( USA) are remediating the heavily-polluted river Fez to revitalize the ancient heart of the city. The approach includes a series of interventions to renovate traditional tanneries, create public spaces and pedestrian zones, and restore wetlands as well as biodiversity.
The jury applauded the scheme for creating a chain of recovery projects to enable future sub-projects to be added – and for addressing the economic and social life of the city together with the ecology of the river. “This is a multi-sited, multi-functional project organized around the recovery of the river. Core components rehabilitate the architecture of this historic Medina , creating a functional and viable urban precinct,” stated the jury report.
The project authors formed NGO Sauvons Oued Fez (Save the Fez River ) after winning the regional Holcim Awards Gold 2008 Africa Middle East. The NGO is a network to advance the sub-projects of the remediation and encourage community involvement. ”