AD Futures #2: L.E.FT


Loft Barn, Hamptons, NY –

AD Futures is a weekly section showcasing emerging practices from around the world. We are open for submissions.

I got to meet L.E.FT when we interviewed them at their office in New York back in September, 2008. This practice is lead by three partners, Makram el Kadi, Ziad Jamaleddine and Naji Moujaes.  They all graduated in Beirut between 1995 and 1997, and then got their masters at Parsons, Harvard and SCI-Arc, respectively. After that, they worked on big practices such as Massimiliano Fuksas and Steven Holl Architects, and then founded L.E.FT in 2001.

They are still related to the academy (UPenn, Yale, Cornell, RPI), a constant on innovative practices. Also, they got invited to the Young Architects Program at P.S.1 2009, an annual competition that invites emerging architects to design a temporary structure.

You can hear their thoughts on several aspects of the architectural practice on the interview we conducted. Now, onto some of their featured works:

Beirut Marina

Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Program: Residential & Commercial Complex
Design architect: Steven Holl Architects with L.E.FT
Associate Architect: Nabil Gholam Architecture
Client: Solidere
Total floor area: 20.000sqm
Status: Construction Administration

This large urban project was designed while they worked at Steven Holl Architects, but got green light after they left to start L.E.FT, so they were called to work as L.E.FT on the construction stage.

Located in the heart of downtown Beirut, the site for the new Beirut Marina extends the existing corniche along the seashore into a series of overlapping platforms. The corniche is inflated to create an ‘Urban Beach’, with levels subtly articulated to provide outdoor spaces with public areas for artwork.

The concept takes shape from strata and layers in forking vectors. Like the ancient beach that was once the site, the planar lapping waves of the sea, inspires striated spaces in horizontal layers, as distinct from vertical objects. The horizontal and the planar become a geometric force shaping the new harbor spaces. The form allows a striated organization of public and private spaces, which includes apartments, yacht club, public facilities, harbormaster, restaurants and specialty stores.

The syncopated rhythm of platforms is achieved by constructing the overall curve of the corniche in 5 angles relating to 5 reflecting pools. Due to variations in the height along the corniche, the platform levels and pools vary slightly in height allowing quiet, gravity-fed fountains to connect each pool level.

Block 11X, Dubai

Program: Residential complex
Design architect: L.E.FT
Client: Diamond Investments
Total floor area: 23.000sqm

Our first proposal for a residential block in the newly developed Jumeirah Village, Dubai, starts from the typological divisions of the program into town houses and apartments units to create a hybrid typology split horizontally with an elevated garden, that also includes courtyard houses in a contiguous new block.

Offshore Urbanism

The proposal calls for an urban evacuation plan that covers the Lebanese territory and entire population in the case of yet another military conflict. Integrated with the littoral highway, a series of barges infringe the infrastructure with a self-service drive-in parking through designated “evacuation lanes”. Once ready, the barges depart, simultaneously dismantling the infrastructure behind. In an exodus to nowhere and a refuge in transit, the barges host architectural programs that make use of the “migration” aspect of the evacuation to reflect on social issues that are a divisive and controversial natural back “home”, shifting in nature once reaching the international waters. By rendering the highway defunct, akin to the green-line during the war, and ecological reversal of the current deforestation is likely to occur all along the littoral. A linear urban intervention along the whole Lebanese coastline, instead of a central one focused on Beirut, relieves the latter from its subservient trade role vis-à-vis its hinterland.

Loft Barn

Location: Bridgehampton, NY, USA
Program: Private residence
Design architect: L.E.FT
Client: Khajak Keledjian
Total floor area: 5700sqf

Location: Bridgehampton, NY, USA
Program: Private residence
Design architect: L.E.FT
Client: Khajak Keledjian
Total floor area: 5700sqf

The design of this house starts from the idea of a modern barn, a hybrid that can adhere to the rigid stylistic concerns of the Hamptons Architecture Review Board (ARB) and offer a modern aesthetic paradigm at the same time. Facing un-interrupted views of an agricultural reserve in Bridgehampton, the design of the house mediates between an ideal orientation towards the reserve and an inevitable shadow on the landscape that this orientation creates.

Shifting the second floor of the house, the house cast shadow on itself hence limiting it on the landscaope.

Composed of 5 bedrooms, the house is clad with a board and batten siding that joins roof and walls into a continuous monolith.

Block 10H002, Dubai

Program: Residential complex
Design architect: L.E.FT
Client: Westar Properties
Total floor area: 14,000sqm

The premise of the project began with the client´s punning of the zoning regulations and market trends in Dubai, by giving us a brief calling for the design of 10 independent villas in a lot designated for mid-rise residential buildings.

This translates itself architecturally with the following questions: what happens when a predetermined typology is on the wrong site or the wrong typology on a predetermined site?
The architectural answer borrowed from the density and infrastructural efficiency of an apartment block while preserving the autonomous quality of separate villas in isolated plots. This hybrid typology used vertical stacking of the villas blocks within the building envelope of the mid-rise. With their own identified volume, street entrances, and elevators from reserved parking spots in a common underground basement, the villas normative private backyards are amalgamated together to create a potentially collective space.

Cite: Basulto, David. "AD Futures #2: L.E.FT" 09 Feb 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 02 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=13710>

4 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    its a little dissapointing that nothing on their site is actually built, just renderings. says amateur to me.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Keep in mind that Liebeskind hadn’t completed his first building until his early 50′s, so give the guys a go!

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