In Morocco, were the buildings strong enough to withstand the earthquake? Answers by Pascal Cohen, an architect based in Casablanca

Marrakech, like most major cities, offers side buildings from different periods.

Buildings constructed in recent decades must be designed according to seismic resistance standards.

“Since the 80s, 90s, all buildings have been built according to seismic standards.” Pascal Cohen says. “Today in Morocco, a building, a detached house, a convention center, a museum or a conference center… the authorities that issue building permits, they check these plans and you only give them permission to build if these plans respect international seismic resistance standards.”

“We can no longer build a building in Morocco without earthquake resistance.”

So new buildings are expected to withstand shaking better.

This also applies to older buildings designed during certain periods when there was particular interest in construction materials and techniques: “Everything built during the French Protectorate in the 50s and 40s was very resistant and of a very high quality” Pascal Cohen comments. “LTherefore, the buildings that stand well are those built in the 1950s or within the last few years.”

But other buildings, in other periods, lacked this resistance. There are buildings from the 60s and 70s that were built very quickly and with materials that weren’t always legal.

And there are very old and fragile buildings, especially in small streets Medina, world famous. “These are very old buildings and their maintenance does not need to be done over time. And when there is a tremor like on Friday evening, we pay the price for not observing this tradition”.

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