On the Move: Michel Écochard, Migration, and Transdisciplinary Exchange in Urban Design

Beniamino Polimeni, Michael Toler

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Trained as an architect, archaeologist, and urban planner, Michel Écochard was both a prominent proponent of Modernist architecture and a conservation architect with a deep appreciation of traditional construction methods and architectural forms. Working in territories where social and economic conditions were quickly changing, Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, Écochard proposed an unconventional method for imagining cities and communities’ development that merged Eastern and Western models. This paper briefly surveys his career, framing it as a search for a “Third Way,” then focuses on a more detailed analysis of two projects, both of which were responses to mass migration.
The first project, carried out from 1946 to 1953 as head of the Department of Urban Development in Morocco, was a specific urban planning solution for migrants from rural areas. The second is a planning strategy proposed to address the problem of refugees that had begun coming to Pakistan due to the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947.
In carrying out both projects, Michel Écochard developed extensive visual materials to analyse the sites’ social and physical characteristics and convey his vision to others. This paper analyses these materials in detail, relying on both published illustrations and the Michel Écochard Archive of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT to clearly understand his vision and measure the degree to which it has been achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022


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