USJ Campus de L’Innovation et du Sport / 109 Architects with Youssef Tohmé

© 109 Architectes

Architects: 109 Architects with Youssef Tohmé
Location: ,
Project Team: Ibrahim Berberi , Nada Assaf, Rani Boustani, Etienne Nassar, Emile Khayat, Naja Chidiac, Richard Kassab
Client: Université Saint-Joseph (USJ)
Budget: $33M USD
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: 109 Architectes


© 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.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "USJ Campus de L’Innovation et du Sport / 109 Architects with Youssef Tohmé" 22 Dec 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • jl

    Maybe only architects like concrete, but the rest of the people don’t !

    I don’t like this massive, boring and formally capricious building (even if i am an architect and even if i like a lot the concrete material).

  • Martin Hedin

    I’m confused, I don’t see the what presented project concept in the final photos. Then it would be interesting to see how the theory part holds up. Either the ideas in the diagrams are playful or very serious, I would like to see more words from the architects. Flow of information, networks, pixels… I don’t know. I guess that the material is not stone but concrete, if so very nice use of it.

    • ALINE

      sorry some Mispelling.


      Dear Martin, Archdaily seems they included photos from another project done by 109 architects. specifically the images from concept 1 to concept10

  • Adam Waltering

    For a commercial/educational building it has a certain whimsicality that is quite nice.

  • Ricardo León

    I think they got a little too carried away with that Ronchamp move.

  • fami

    after going through the photos again and again i can say only hideously beautiful ,i cant understand how is working .

  • rock

    yeah! give us some mass + build for the climate!
    best built work i’ve seen published recently.

    • nn

      it is beautiful,
      but the main motif is literally imported from Lina Bo Bardi’s SESC Pompéia.
      works great there, looks neat here…

  • notsoseriousarchitect

    “A stylized random-opening treatment is a snapshot of the Lebanese War, lending a poetic glimpse into the reality of destruction and violence.” i can understand this from a material point of view, as a way of working the mass surfaces, in this case, of concrete, which i have to say, came out wonderfully. But i see no poetry in it. Isn’t it simply a mimic of such destruction, as pictured in one of these images which shows a destroyed building? Why facing the war reality in such a simplistic, lazy way, when it could have been really poetic?

  • ramy mosa

    Dear All

    images from concept 1 to pre 2 are from ThyssenKrupp Arch Competition third winner.

    i don’t know how it has merged here..

    Archdaily has to correct it

  • Johnny

    No seriously people you’re analyzing the building. First even if the idea is to represent the war it is not well done.
    Second it is a very ugly building.
    Third that’s a university so u think this really is good place to study in.
    Fourth it violate the rules of health.. as very little sunshine comes into the building leaving the building a disease friendly atmosphere.

  • Jad Cherri

    I’m student of USJ in this campus,dont worry we get lots of sun..

  • Beirut r

    This is by far the most deceiving building in Beirut. So much potential… Lost in already aging mannerism. Brutality, and a sense that the designers tried to exhaust every architectonic trick in a last shot kind of building opportunity. Urban gestures, Details and feature do not make sense no matter how we look at them. Time and Beirut will tell I guess.
    But really the salad end result can be a good reference for architects to see that ideas and facadism that might work on the drawing table will eventually look a joke now, and an urban nightmare for ages

  • Stupid Architect

    Looks great as a prison, hideous as a university.
    Sorry my dear architects and people, now we have to live with that concrete block every time we pass by it.
    1- the building does not seem as a university or an educational institution.
    2- Has NOTHING Lebanese in it (typical lost of identity)
    3- Too much concrete and a salad of forms/openings

  • USCTrojanArchitect

    At first I saw this building, and the main picture at the top and thought, well its a nice brutalist concrete building, most likely in a hot enviornment and lo and behold it was. But after looking at more pictures I started being more and more turned off. I think the ronchamp like punctures are done well in some places, but in other places MY GOD, especially picture 22. Also, after seeing so many punctures like Ronchamp, i expected to see beautiful interior spaces but that one interior shot is as horrendous as picture 22. Lastly, at first I was wondering why it is so prison like, void of life and vegetation, I then said hey maybe its the environment. But after looking at more pictures, you can see lush green trees in the background. Why make the space look so dead and uninviting, add some trees or vines for goodness sake.

    this would surely have gotten a failing grade if done at USC…

    • USCTrojanArchitect

      maybe not failing, but nothing above a C.