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Monocle 24's 'Section D' Discusses Design and Architecture from Lebanon to Istanbul

This edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, dives into Beirut Design Week exploring "what Lebanese designers can show the world." In this show Josh Fehnert examines why Domus have decided to start an academy in Milan, speaks to Dutch typographer Joep Pohlen about his ultimate type reference guide, and assesses some of the architectural similarities between Istanbul and London. While the likenesses are not immediately obvious, both cities are currently undergoing an unprecedented property boom. Istanbul, a city with no strategic masterplan, is growing fast and there are lessons to be learnt from London's comparatively porous urban realm.

CatalyticAction's Playground Puts Children at the Center of Relief Efforts for Syria

The international response to the Syrian War has often struggled to deal with the sheer scale of the disaster; huge numbers of refugees find it difficult even to source the barest essentials for life in the enormous refugee camps that have sprung up in Jordan, Lebanon, and elsewhere. Alongside the overwhelming need for basics, longer term care for displaced Syrian citizens is also proving difficult, but CatalyticAction, a not-for-profit design studio who are in their own words "a group of young graduates who believe that small changes can realize a big impact," believe that this long-term provision is equally important, especially for children.

Providing a sense of normal life for children in the refugee camps is absolutely essential to helping them, and their families, to recover and cope with life as refugees, which this why CatalyticAction have begun crowdfunding the construction of a playground - designed with the help of refugee children - in the Lebanese town of Bar Elias. The playground would allow children to learn through play, provide a sense of normality and, importantly, should create a space that they feel safe in.

A child poses with his plan for a safe playground. Image © CatalyticAction A drawing of the proposed playground. Image © CatalyticAction © CatalyticAction A diagram of the planning process for this project. Image © CatalyticAction

Zgharta House / platau

  • Architects: platau
  • Location: Zgharta, Lebanon
  • Design Team: Boulos Douaihy, Sandra Frem, Romeo Chahine
  • Area: 400.0 sqm
  • Photographs: Ieva Saudargaite

© Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite

Senteurs d’Orient Headquarters / Atelier130

  • Architects: Atelier130
  • Location: Mkalles, Lebanon
  • Architects in Charge: Nathalie Habr, Halim Khoriaty
  • Area: 1111.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Ieva Saudargaité

© Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité

Nestlé Waters Beirut Headquarters / Bernard Mallat Architects + Walid Zeidan

  • Architects: Bernard Mallat Architects, Walid Zeidan
  • Location: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Architectural team: Louis El Khoury, Hammoud Badran, Mahmoud El Charif
  • Area: 5500.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Ieva Saudargaite

© Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite

SOMA to Cantilever Luxury Residences Over Protected House in Beirut

New York-based SOMA Architects has announced plans for an 11-story residential development in Beirut. Cantilevering over a protected 1920s house, “BOBO’s” steel exoskeleton and concrete core will support 13 new residences on top ground floor retail in the Lebanese capital’s Mar Mikhael district. 

© SOMA © SOMA © SOMA © SOMA

Amchit Residence / BLANKPAGE Architects

© Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė

N.B.K. Residence (2) / DW5 / Bernard Khoury

  • Architects: DW5 / Bernard Khoury
  • Location: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Architect in Charge: Bernard Khoury
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury, Ieva Saudargaite

© Ieva Saudargaite Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury

Tahan Villa / BLANKPAGE Architects

  • Architects: BLANKPAGE Architects
  • Location: Kfour, Lebanon
  • Architect in Charge: Karim Nader, Patrick Mezher, Walid Ghantous, Romy Lahoud
  • Area: 865.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Ieva Saudargaitė

© Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė © Ieva Saudargaitė

Jiyeh Villa / Accent Design Group

  • Architects: Accent Design Group
  • Location: Jiyeh, Lebanon
  • Architect in Charge: Elie Abs
  • Area: 700.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Accent Design Group

Courtesy of Accent Design Group Courtesy of Accent Design Group Courtesy of Accent Design Group Courtesy of Accent Design Group

Issam Fares Institute – American University of Beirut / Zaha Hadid Architects

© Hufton+Crow © Hufton+Crow © Luke Hayes © Hufton+Crow

GM Architects Cut Through Beirut's Multicultural History at 2014 Venice Biennale

Lebanese design firm GM Architects will be presenting its “Museum of Civilization” at the Time Space Existence exhibition of the 2014 Venice Biennale. The firm will be the only group representing Lebanon at this year’s exhibition. Their museum design addresses the Biennale’s theme of fundamentals by exploring the historical basis of architectural culture in the rich and varied context of their home country.

Stereokitchen / Paul Kaloustian Architect

© Ieva Saudargaite © Joe Kesrouani © Joe Kesrouani © Ieva Saudargaite

Mitsulift HQ / Raed Abillama Architects

© Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel

Morphosis Architects to Design New U.S. Embassy in Beirut

Morphosis Architects has been selected from a shortlist of three to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) chose Morphosis over Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam with AECOM after conducting a series of presentations and interviews in the third round of the international competition. 

"Morphosis presented a strong, cohesive team with over 50 years of collaborative experience. Their presentation demonstrated the management and design approach required to successfully execute this project, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance and impact of an American Embassy in Beirut.

IXSIR Winery / Raed Abillama Architects

  • Architects: Raed Abillama Architects
  • Location: Jbeil, Lebanon
  • Area: 1848.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects

Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects

Architecture City Guide: Beirut

Following a brutal 15-year civil war that tore the city apart, Beirut has recovered remarkably; it was voted the number one destination to visit by the New York Times in 2009, and, more recently, received a similar title by Frommer's. The city is in the second phase of one of the biggest urban reconstruction projects in the world, run by Solidere, which has brought architects like Steven Holl, Herzog & DeMeuron, Zaha Hadid, Vincent James, and Rafael Moneo to the local scene. In less internationalized parts of the city sit the landmarks of the 1960s and 1970s, Beirut's pre-war glory days, including buildings by names such as Alvar Aalto, Victor Gruen, and the Swiss Addor & Julliard. With a city growing as fast as Beirut it is impossible to have a final city guide, so we look forward to hearing your suggestions and building on this over the years.

Photos and a map of Beirut's most exciting buildings after the break...

Fidar Beach House / Raed Abillama Architects

© Géraldine Bruneel
© Géraldine Bruneel

© Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel © Géraldine Bruneel