HBIM Interactive Platform for Social Inclusivity in the Rehabilitation of Heritage hammams and the Development of Creative Design Economy in Marrakech

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Welsh School of Architecture (ARCHI)


Heritage hammams in the Maghreb historic cities continue to be an important living heritage in the 21st Century, as highlighted by past research on the surviving and still functioning historic public bathhouses (hammams) of the North African heritage cities of Marrakech, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Cairo.

Morocco is where the largest number of functioning heritage hammams have been surveyed and where new hammams are part of the cluster of key urban facilities introduced in every new residential neighbourhood, in accordance with local planning regulations. Hammams contribute to social sustainability by providing a much-needed affordable facility for the hygiene and wellbeing of the economically disadvantaged population in the area. Additionally, the multi-generational reproduction of the collective bathing ritual, beyond the purification ritual, means that the spatial practice of the hammam can contribute to build and strengthen social and cultural capital and continue supporting the physical and mental health of men and women in post-traditional Morocco.

The Ecohammam project from which this project is a follow-on, has engaged a large number of different hammam stakeholders through 6 virtual forum in 2020-2021. As evident from discussions with members of Marrakech hammam managers association during the virtual engagement events, none of the heritage hammams of Marrakech have been rehabilitated so far. Excessive gentrification in the heritage urban fabric of Marrakech brought about by mass tourism has led to the transformation of some of the heritage hammams into spas . Although Marrakech is inscribed on the UNESCO World heritage list, the tangible and intangible heritage of its hammams is in danger of disappearance.

Therefore, the main of this Follow-on Funding project is to develop the first Hammam HBIM (Heritage Building Information Modelling) Library and a web-based interactive platform to facilitate inclusive, collaborative multi-stakeholder conservation and rehabilitation decision making based on authentic features of Marrakech hammams. The HBIM will also provide a tool for the development of creative contemporary designs. Based on a representative sample of 16 heritage hammams, documented by the PI in Marrakech in 2009 (AH/D503019/1), and the hammam challenges identified during the EcoHammam project (AH/T007036/1), see Ecohammam.com, this project aims to develop the first ever Moroccan Hammam HBIM catalogue with an interactive platform that can be scaled up to other heritage cities.

The Hammam HBIM project will achieve the following six objectives:
1. Produce 3D point cloud models from metric pictures with reference to CAD drawings of existing conditions for the 16 heritage hammam buildings.
2. Extract key values, semantic details and specific features for the heritage hammams in Marrakech according to the different historical eras in collaboration with project partners to identify the iconic and recurrent features.
3. Identify the ontological rules and hidden principles for the HBIM specification of the typological characteristics of the hammams' structural components, spatial urban and architectural configurations, architectural details
4. Develop an HBIM catalogue for the building components of the Marrakech heritage hammam structures, which will form the basis for an HBIM resource for the recording of a representative sample of 16 case studies.
5. Build a web-based online interactive HBIM platform for easy collaborative access by different stakeholders to use, reuse and evaluate, taking into account the demands for using BIM protocols in the Rehabilitation of Heritage Hammams as well as contemporary design projects.
6. Test the web-based interactive HBIM platform (including the HBIM catalogue of heritage hammams) with the stakeholders to finalise the Hammam HBIM platform and make it available to all stakeholders to increase the visibility of the heritage hammams of Marrakech


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