On May 28, Beirut-based firm 109 Architectes unveiled Notes on a Tree at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The interactive installation is part of the GAA Foundation’s annual “Time – Space – Existence” exhibition and commemorates Lebanon’s lost public spaces.
Notes on a Tree tackles the role of the architect in countries like Lebanon, where developers often dictate urban planning. The firm uses its own projects as examples of successes and disappointments in preserving public space, which is symbolized by specific trees. Some trees were saved and some were lost, but each one represents a community’s history and collective memory.
City Debates 2016 stems from a relational and multi-scalar understanding of urban policy as an assemblage of ideas and tools that circulate and transform. We seek to examine how international aid promotes the mobility of urban policy ideas, and mobilizes a range of stakeholders, and technologies in the process. We explore these questions by investigating two sets of urban policies: regional planning, and refugee policies.
Lebanese architecture practice PARALX has won the AIA in Los Angeles' Merit Design Award for its T3 high-rise tower in Beirut. The tower is a part of a larger development scheme in the burgeoning Beirut Digital District (BDD) that will include 12 buildings and over 150,000 square meters of office spaces, apartments, hotels, shops, and entertainment facilities.
T3 will host cafes and restaurants on the ground level, with residential apartments located throughout the upper floors, all targeted towards the creative class that is moving into the area labeled as “Lebanon’s Silicon Valley.”
The David Adjaye-designed Aishti Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon is nearing completion. Located in central Beirut, the building replaces former warehouses, housing both an art gallery and retail space. This unique “juxtaposition of art and shopping” inspired Adjaye and Associates “to create a design for an entirely new typology that would integrate two, often conflicting, worlds,” write the architects in a press release.
Developed from an idea by Publicomm, ARCHMARATHON is an International Architecture event that brings together 42 Architecture Design Studios in a unique and unprecedented format. The first edition took place in November 2014 in Milan and was a great success with the public and highly appreciated by the participants. After the tremendous success of this first edition, the FEDERATION OF LEBANESE ENGINEERS and Publicomm organize a special edition focusing on architects originally from the Arab and Mediterranean Countries. As a result, there will be a special edition held in Beirut, Lebanon from the 8th to the 10th of October 2015.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
The Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted six design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture.
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...