Moroccan architecture is a term describing Moroccan architectural style. Morocco is in Northern-Africa bordering the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The country's diverse geography and the land’s long history of being fought over by many countries are the major reasons why the country has developed a distinctive architectural styles. Its architecture reflects the country's rich cultural and historical heritage.
Morocco’s first independent state called the Berber kingdom of Mauretania was ruled by the Berbers clan. It was first documented during 110 BC. During the time of the Berbers, the country has been through several sieges by a number of invaders. Nevertheless, the Berbers ritual and beliefs still remained and became the country’s cultural heritage including its antique architecture. The Berbers are known for their use of earth or mud brick called pisé (French). Many of the massive pisé buildings had defensive functions as main trading posts and ports or guard walls against pirates and rivals. This ancient building method prevails in all sizes of buildings. Since pisé is a water- permeable material, the foundation is required to be rebuilt regularly; however, the repeating use of forms, materials and patterns resulted as Morocco’s distinctive architecture. Moreover, Moroccan traditional architecture also gained influences from neighboring countries and intruders.
Morocco was not originally an Islamic state; however, its conversion of religion greatly influenced the overall architectural style of the country. The elegance of Islamic features is blended in and adapted into buildings and interior designs such as the use of tiling, fountains, geometric design and floral motifs. Which could be seen in mosques, palaces, plazas as well as homes.
- Tiling – Zellige tiling, often wrongly labelled "mosaic", is used to decorate the surfaces of buildings and objects. The tiling concept was brought to the country by the Persians.
- Fountains – Before the conversion, water was already an important part of Moroccan culture; however, Islam made water much more important functionally because Muslim needs to clean themselves before praying. Thus, fountains, also representing paradise, could be found everywhere in order to serve everyone.
- Mosques – Due to the change of religion, numbers of mosques were built in Morocco. Still their mosques differ from the others because they do not face Mecca like the other countries.
- Geometric Design and Floral Motifs – Based on Islamic beliefs, avoiding the use of human or animal images is preferable resulting in the spread of floral motifs (arabesques) and geometric patterns. The motifs are apply to ordinary materials or surfaces.
There is similarity between southern Spanish (Al-Andaluz) and Moroccan cultures in terms of climate and elaborate design details. The spread of Spanish art started with the Spanish immigration during the 1500s, the new conferee influenced Moroccan tiling, use of arches and the Great Andalusian-style garden.
- Tiling – Overlapping roof tiling became popular after the influence of Spain; the tiles are mostly hand glazed.
- Arches – Arches are common feature in Morocco, which can be divided into two types. The first arch is the horseshoe which is clover shaped. The second is cusped like a rounded keyhole. These are called Moorish arches.
- – The landscape of the Alhambra garden in Grenada is the greatest inspiration for Moroccan public and private gardens.