Johanna Sluiter is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU where she is writing a dissertation on the Atelier des Bâtisseurs and the development of habitat in post-war architecture. She is currently an associate researcher at the École Normale Supérieure d’Architecture Belleville in Paris and a Chester Dale Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
For Wednesday of Museum Week 2016, we focus on the architecture of TALIM.
The Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), straddling both sides of rue d’Amerique ( زنقة اةمريكا ) approximately 20 m (75 feet) past the southernmost gate in the wall of the old medina, is a very interesting structure from an architectural perspective. It is a multifunctional structure composed of several buildings built at different times and in different architectural styles. Yet the structure as it exists today is remarkably unified.
TALIM, or the Old American Legation as it is commonly known in Morocco, turns 40 this year, but is housed on the site of the building given to the United States by Sultan Moulay Suleyman in 1821. For approximately 140 years the site served as the American diplomatic presence in the city, until 1961 when a new consular complex was built outside the wall of the old medina. The museum, library and cultural center that make up TALIM are housed in a historically significant structure, but it bears little resemblance to the original, single story building. It was badly damaged in the 1844 bombing of Tangier, and essentially rebuilt in an expanded form in 1848.