LAUREATE EXTERIOR DESIGN, ART & LANDSCAPE // Stairway to Heaven and City of Orion


LAUREATE EXTERIOR DESIGN, ART & LANDSCAPE // Stairway to Heaven and City of Orion

Stairway to Heaven and City of Orion

  • Client: Hannsjörg Voth
  • Architects: Hannsjörg Voth
  • Earthen construction: Local craftsmen

The artist Hannsjörg Voth has built from 1980 to 2003 at the Marha Plain in Morocco his very relevant land art works Himmelstreppe, Golden Spirale and Stadt des Orion. Originally conceptualised as fading land art the artist decided through the building process of the Himmelstreppe or latest with the planning of the Goldene Spirale to maintain the works and keep them permanently. Hannsjörg Voth came to the Marha Plain at the beginning of the 1980s and found the right place of quietness and freedom to start his extraordinary works out in the dessert, close to Al Jorf and Fezna Oasis. In his works he is reflecting the local rammed earth building tradition of the oases settlements. Even if the works are no houses in a traditional sense, he was building them with local artisan using their hand skills in a traditional manner. Both rammed earth structures, Himmelstreppe and Stadt des Orion, demonstrate with a height of 17 meters similarities to the Kasbah’s of the nearby oases. Based on the traditional climbing formwork, the structures are similar to the rammed earth block aesthetic of 60 cm layers and openings for the formwork and scalding. Unlike the local tradition, Voth is showing the beautiful rammed earth surface of the raw construction, refraining from the earth-straw render as a maintenance layer commonly applied to the surface. Voth’s works are linking Moroccan handcrafts and artisan skills as well as a local building tradition with his “western” land art concepts. In addition he weaves the archaic aesthetics of Moroccan earth works into the German precision of handcrafts. These links build important bridges in current times of intercultural tension and challenges between Morocco and Europe and illustrate great works of humanity.