Civil Designer Showcase

The Moroccan 'Plan Azur'

AS Engineer Paolo Odorico describes the setting for the new Taghazout Beach development, it is clear that this initiative will be far more than just another 'golden mile' coastal resort. Taghazout, just north of Agadir, forms part of King Mohammed VI's 'Plan Azur', which includes the development of six Moroccan coastal resorts intended to attract more than 10 million visitors by 2010.

Paolo works among the planners, architects, designers and engineers of Hart Howerton, a large international firm with three of its main offices in San Francisco, New York and London. The company focuses on the design of 'complete environments' encompassing the buildings and the communities in their projects. As part of the organization's design practice, they make use of infrastructural design package Civil Designer and have already utilized the software extensively for the Taghazout Beach development project.

"We used Civil Designer as a planning tool to help us understand landforms better when providing a rapid feasibility assessment of design components. These include roadway preliminary designs, the validation of grading and terracing solutions as well as the illustration of conceptual design ideas to clients using the multitude of graphical outputs within the software. The program has therefore proved to be useful on this project," notes Paolo.

The scope of the project not only includes the infrastructure surrounding the resort with its 5 star hotels and prime golf estate, but is also set to have a positive impact on the surrounding rural villages. As part of the strategic investment plan by the Moroccan Government, work has already begun on improving the surrounding road network and installing water supplies and wastewater collection systems.

"The Taghazout Resort development will be linked to these networks in such a way that all wastewater will be recycled and used for landscape irrigation purposes. In addition, current waste management practices for the area will be improved to ensure that solid waste is disposed in a structured modern landfill system rather than via an unmanaged local discharge," explains Paolo. Other benefits of the project include local training and employment opportunities which have already received a significant boost as the development has progressed. It is anticipated that the project will generate over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.

According to Paolo the two main challenges facing the project have been the site topography and the environmental impact considerations. The site topography includes a wide flat lower bench of degraded land adjacent to the beach.
Taghazout Beach development | Hart Howerton

"Our development proposal for the lower bench area consists of the layering of hotel, recreation, residential, commercial and services land usage. In addition, a comprehensive earthworks program for the lower bench which entails deep lift cuts and fills will allow a series of terraces to be created, providing each land user with ocean views," explains Paolo.

Civil Designer's powerful terrain module was used to process the DTM for the entire 620 hectare site as well as the additional 1000 hectares surrounding the site. The project team used the program's 3D Viewer land planners to test the development master plan on the landform whilst analyzing slope, landform features and view corridors. "The 3D view module helped us generate perspectives with land use overlays which allowed planners to understand a very complex topographic landform in very little time, minimizing the time needed to physically validate planning products on field inspections," continued Paolo.

Besides a difficult terrain, road access and the allocation of services also had to be considered. "Road access and services to the balance of the eastern elevated portions of the site required extensive road alignment design analysis. This involved many iterations to achieve a functional road design that would minimize the visual impact on the land form, thereby preserving the landscape's features."

Paolo is clearly excited by the enormous task still ahead and is motivated by the vision of creating an exquisite resort that values local heritage, both in terms of the culture and the environment, while providing an economic stimulus to the region. The first residential units, hotel, medina and golf course is due to open in early 2009.

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