109 Architectes has released its proposal for the Beirut Museum of Modern Art (BeMA), for which a competition was recently held. The proposal was shortlisted, but did not ultimately win. In this proposal, BeMA is a box—“a generic form that belongs to everyone”—based on a scene in The Little Prince, where a traveler is asked to draw a sheep. The Prince rejects each sheep drawing until the traveler draws a box, inside of which a sheep is hidden. “The cube is a neutral form in the Little Prince’s search for identity. Within it, he sees what he wants to see.”
Within this generic box, visitors will thus be able to project their views of Beirut—the city’s chaos, diversity, creativity, history, streets, people, and more.
The box portion of the Museum stands alone in the heart of the plot, surrounded by event space, and facing the National Museum of Beirut so that the two buildings are linked by an open plaza. The building is separated into two halves by an inner street, representing the concept of the box “cracking” after failing to contain Beirut’s intensity. This central space will additionally act as a gateway to the Museum, as well as eventually to the city.
The inner street is present on each floor of the building, connecting exhibition spaces on both sides via bridges, and contrasting with the outer portion of the building in its transparency.
In a second phase, ground floor development and a network of streets and plazas will activate the space, turning BeMA into a place to gather and socialize, and allowing the Museum to connect more with its surrounding neighborhood.
Learn more about the project here.
News via 109 Architectes.