The American Legation is the United States’ only National Historic Landmark outside of its borders, as it was the first property the nation acquired abroad. Situated at the northernmost part of Africa and overlooking the Straight of Gibraltar, Tangier is a crossroads of people and influences. The city is a conglomeration of Spanish Moorish design, Islamic design, and African design. The mix of these styles with American influences truly represents a city famous for cohabitation, tolerance, and diversity.

In the spring of 2019, the US State Department collaborated with Iowa State University professors and students to research, document, and disseminate information on the buildings history and current physical state. Students studying Architecture, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture traveled with their DSN Studies 546 Preservation and Historical Cultures class to Tangier, Morocco in early February, 2019, to begin their on-site evaluation of the building. While visiting Morocco the students measured, sketched, and 3D scanned the entire American Legation Museum and determined the historical significance of this building and the overall condition of the exterior and interior. Upon arrival the students met with staff of the American Legation Museum and the US State Department and conducted in person interviews based on that persons knowledge and connection to the American Legation Building. The information that was learned and recorded is being used to develop interview videos, websites, and this HSR report. Additionally, a group of students worked on a rehabilitation project in an adjacent building which was once the Riad Hotel. The students in this group were sensitive to the historical characteristics of the complex while giving the building a second chance at being a beautiful space in the historical city, the Medina, of Tangier. All information and projects involved with this studio is being done in collaboration with the US State Department which oversees all international buildings owned by the US citizens.

This HSR is a tool to be used by not only students, but by the US. State Department and the faculty at the American Legation in Tangier, Morocco.

The American Legation in Tangier, Morocco houses many historical pieces of art. It also houses a school of literacy for women in the area.  

DSNS 546 Preservation and Cultural Heritage Morocco students (from nine countries) with Professors Diane Al Shihabi and Mikesch Muecke, as well as staff from the US Department of State at the American Legation in Tangier, Morocco, February 2019

Culture and Historical Context for the American Legation in Tangier, Morocco