Art Deco Buildings

sights / Architecture

Lonely Planet review

If you can see past the traffic, fumes and general chaos of central Casablanca you'll discover the city's rich architectural heritage, a blend of French-colonial design and traditional Moroccan style known as Mauresque architecture. Developed in the 1930s and heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement, it embraced decorative details such as intricate carved friezes, beautiful tile work and ornate wrought-iron balconies.

Although some of the era's gems have been beautifully restored, others lie in shameful disrepair. Pl Mohammed V is the grand centrepiece of the French regeneration scheme. Impressive facades and colonial buildings line Rue Indriss Lahrizi, Rue Tahar Sebti and the south side of Blvd Mohammed V. Place 16 Novembre is home to an array of Art Deco buildings. You'll also find a selection of interesting façades with decorative doorways and ironwork on pedestrianised Rue Prince Moulay Abdellah. Hotel Guynemer, with its Art Deco panelling, is worth checking out, as is the beautifully-resorted Hotel Transatlantique. The owners of the Transatlantique are also in the process of restoring the Hotel Volubilis. The derelict shell of the Hôtel Lincoln, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1916, is patiently awaiting a long-talked-about restoration. For more information on Casablanca's architectural heritage look out for Casablanca, Colonial Myths and Architectural Ventures by Jean-Louis Cohen and Monique Eleb, or for francophones, Casablanca - Portrait d'une Ville by JM Zurfluh.