Jean-François Zevaco

Caserne de pompiers, Agadir, 1963

Jean-François Zevaco built the Firemen’s Barracks in Agadir within the specific context of the city’s reconstruction. In 1960, an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale flattened 80% of the southern Moroccan city. The reconstruction operation, four years after Morocco’s Independence, was borne along by a powerful determination on the part of the State to “rise up again”. It would be groundbreaking in the preparation and application of anti-seismic standards, and was intended to make Agadir a pilot city of modern architecture. The systematic use of concrete, the contrast between the parts left rough and the white expanses, the interplays of projections and light, all recur in the constructions of Jean-François Zevaco, as well as those of Mourade Ben Embarek, Elie Azagury and Henri Tastemain. Architects of different generations and origins gathered together in a shared language and championed nothing less than a modern Moroccan architecture. Zevaco also built the Central Post-Office, schools, housing, and the Firemen’s Barracks, which gave off a striking impression of solidity. Amid the landscape of ruins that Agadir then was, the barracks came across like a blind block of rough concrete, a refuge, and a comforting signal in the city.

Lucy Hofbauer

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