By Dil Bola
By Dil Bola
Rabat – After a forced stoppage of the 2018 opening for the first Moroccan cultural center in France, work will now recommence for completion in 2019 and inauguration in 2020.
The initial unveiling of the second Moroccan cultural center abroad occurred in 2016 in the presence of King Mohammed VI and former French President Francois Hollande with an intended opening in 2018. Due to technical and administrative issues, the joint Moroccan-French project aimed at heightening international recognition of Moroccan culture came to a halt.
The center will be the second in the world after the first in Montreal, inaugurated in 2012. The second center will be located in Paris in place of the original building which housed the Association of North African Muslim Students (AEMNA) and will be fully financed by Morocco. The total price paid by Morocco is €6.7 million, with €5.7 million allocated for construction and an annual operating budget estimated at €1.5 million.
The postponement was primarily due to the site work that had not yet been completed; the incomplete demolition of the old building resulted in the blockage as well as long meetings in attempts to overcome the issues. Further, a spokesperson for the cabinet in charge of the project stated: “The administrative procedures of authorization had required more time than planned because of the historical particularity and urban planning of the Latin Quarter.”
The situation deteriorated as the architectural firm in charge, Oualaou-Choi, revealed prior to pre-demolition work that deadlines to cooperate with a variety of companies were not met. Issues included “disconnection with companies of the electricity and gas network, asbestos analysis firm, soil studies, geotechnical studies and foundations, etc.”
Architect assistants Tarik Oualalou and Linna Choi released a statement in the relaunch of work: “All these issues now being resolved, work should accelerate and be completed by the end of 2019.”
If the proposed agenda is respected, the 1,400 square meter area should be opened in 2020. It is comprised of a publicly accessible ground floor and a gallery capable of holding five annual exhibitions, along with a library and auditorium allocated for conferences and film screenings.