Located in the picturesque Ouirgane Valley, about an hour outside Marrakech, the L’Amandier Hotel, designed by British architecture practice, Nick Gowing Architects, sits as an inspiring modernist take on Moroccan architecture, with geometric earth-hued buildings that blend seamlessly into the vegetative landscape, remaining true to the natural colour palette of rich red earth of the L’Amandier Plateau.
As highlighted on the L’Amandier hotel website, the master planning of the villas, hotel and exquisite grounds carried out in 2009, were at the heart of the thinking behind the design and are are still there today, embedded ever deeper. The vision of the architect, Nick Gowing, was for the residences to emerge from the rich, red earth of the L’Amandier Plateau. So, whilst remaining true to the natural colour palette, he juxtaposed the buildings’ bold and striking geometric lines with the contours of the surrounding hills and mountains.
The contemporary vernacular is complemented by the use of traditional, local building materials to spectacular effect. Narrow handmade bricks are symmetrically laid in the external feature stair towers to counterbalance the smooth plastered and rendered exterior walls. The architectural marriage of international and local dialects is continued with the modern residences’ courtyards. Inspired by the traditional riad, where the courtyard is the epicentre, at L’Amandier each detached villa is open to the spectacular landscapes the length of its most private aspect and enclosed on the others.
The interior architecture is similarly rich in studied contrast. The doors are intricately carved in traditional geometric patterns, and then finished to striking appeal painted in an international matt black, with burnished steel handles. Seen throughout, the smooth plasterwork, known as tadelakt, is a Moroccan speciality that when combined with a carefully selected colour pigment creates a effect that would look equally au fait in Marrakech or Mayfair as it does L’Amandier.
The overall effect the architectural design has on one’s senses is, we believe, to leave one feeling both of the moment and place and yet also connected to the familiarity and comfort to which one is used. Come visit us, to sit awhile in one of our architectural jewels.