The magnificent El Badi Palace in Marrakech, Morocco
This magnificent palace is one of the masterpieces of the Moroccan engineering and architecture in the Red City, built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi after assuming power and his victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Wadi Al-Makhazin, also called the battle of the Three Kings in 1578 AD.
The building was erected on the northeast corner of the Casbah, not far from the private apartments of the Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbî. The construction of the palace took place from 1578 to 1594, but some work continued until 1603, the date of the sultan’s death. Symbol of power, the palatial ensemble expressed the splendor of the sovereign both to his subjects and to foreign embassies: it was the setting for solemn audiences and celebrations. Considered a jewel of Islamic art, its construction was influenced by the Alhambra in Granada (Spain).
The prayer hall is topped by a mobile roof of 3,400 m2 and 1,100 t which can move in five minutes thanks to a drive system. When the roof is closed, the prayer hall is lit by 50 chandeliers and 8 Venetian Murano sconces. The largest are six meters in diameter, ten meters in height and weigh 1,200 kg. The roofing required the installation of 300,000 specially made aluminum cast tiles by the Bouygues group teams led by Aldo Carbonaro (project director) and Abdelatif Haboubi (site manager), imitating the terracotta tile. glazed traditional from Fez but four times lighter. These tiles have brought a weight gain of 65% compared to traditional tiles with much higher reliability performance.
For the finishing and the religious objects, craftsmen from all over the kingdom helped to cover more than 53,000 m2 of carved wood and assembled more than 10,000 m2 of zellige representing 80 original motifs. The sculpted and painted plaster was entirely worked on site by 1,500 maâlems over more than 67,000 m2. The cedar wood domes were fixed to frames made with 971 t of stainless steel and suspended from the reinforced concrete structure. The marble and granite coverings of Moroccan origin represent 50 hectares of area with an average thickness of 14 cm.