Architects: 109 architectes Location: Beirut, Lebanon Client: Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) Partner in Charge: Ibrahim Berberi Architect in Charge: Nada Assaf TEAM: Rani Boustani, Etienne Nassar, Emile Khayat, Naja Chidiac, Richard Kassab Collaborating Architect: Youssef Tohme Project Area: 57,000 sqm Photographs: 109 architectes
This new campus takes a contextual approach, integrating physically, culturally, and historically with Beirut’s urban tissue. Conceptually an urban block with sculpted voids, the building’s hollow spaces define six autonomous blocks and construct multiple viewpoints across Beirut, connecting students to their dynamic setting.
The voids also generate a street-level meeting space, which flows fluidly to the top floor in the form of a massive staircase. It concludes at a landscaped terrace overlooking the city.
Light is a vital element in oriental architecture and one that shapes its style and identity; the campus exposes alternate light qualities through Moucharabieh-inspired perforations and a polycarbonate volume. Such manipulation presents a striking contrast in filtered light and luminescence. A stylized random-opening treatment is a snapshot of the Lebanese War, lending a poetic glimpse into the reality of destruction and violence.