Hilton continues Moroccan expansion with first hotel in Casablanca
Hilton has signed a management agreement with Group Sadiki to open its first hotel in Casablanca. The news follows the conclusion of a landmark year for Hilton in Morocco which saw it re-establish a presence in the country in March 2016, with the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Tanger City Center.
The mid-scale Hilton Garden Inn brand will now be soon represented in Morocco’s largest city, with construction set to begin this year.
Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf will consist of an initial 118 guest rooms with space available on site for further expansion. The hotel forms part of a mixed-use development with a 550sqm ballroom and Moroccan-oriental restaurant also to be built in the vicinity.
The Hilton Garden Inn will contain three dining options on property, in addition to another 300sqm of event space to the complex. It is forecast that the hotel may welcome its first guests in 2021.
Carlos Khneisser, VP, Development, MENA, Hilton Worldwide said: “Casablanca is a market we’ve been looking at for some time and we’re confident that we’ve now identified the right partner and the right location for our debut property.
Sidi Maarouf is rapidly establishing itself as not only the gateway to the city center, with the construction of its new suspension bridge, but as a significant business district in its own right.”
Sidi Maarouf is located in the South West of Casablanca and has emerged as the city’s new business district with several multinationals establishing a presence in recent years. It enjoys an enviable location for hosting meetings and events, at just 25km from Mohamed V Airport and also directly accessible by tramway.
Abderrahim Sadiki of Group Sadiki said: “It is a privilege for us to bringing the Hilton name to Casablanca for the very first time. As more and more businesses seek to locate their operations in Sidi Maarouf we see a demand for an increase in the levels of accommodation.
In taking the decision to expand our existing operations at this site to include a hotel, we are pleased to be doing so in partnership with a major international operator such as Hilton, who we believe will help us achieve optimum results.”
John Greenleaf, Global Head, Hilton Garden Inn, said: “We are confident that Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf will serve the needs of travellers seeking a trusted yet affordable international hotel brand. Hilton Garden Inn is known across the world for offering amenities and services for travellers to sleep deep, stay fit, eat well and work smart while away from home.”
The construction site of Hilton Garden Inn Sidi Maarouf will be located in close proximity to the interchange between three main highways, the N11, A7 and A5 making it an ideal choice for travellers with interest both in Casablanca and in greater Morocco.
Read the January 2017 issue of Construction Global here
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.