We’ve built you a better ArchDaily. Learn more and let us know what you think. Send us your feedback »

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.

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

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

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

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.

Shortlist Announced for U.S. 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. 

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...

The New 'Context' in Architecture: Learning From Lebanon


Context in architecture has become a subject bloated with discussion and debate over the years. And, as a matter of fact, it has come to matter very little in its formal and typological sense. Take, for instance, the fluid forms that compose Zaha Hadid’s hundreds of projects around the world, or Frank Gehry’s exploding compositions seen from South America to the unmistakable Guggenheim in Bilbao. The form architecture takes in these cases, and countless others, is in itself a deliberate disregard towards context in its literal sense.

But is this disregard for context a mistake? Observers would often say so, though I would like to disagree. It has become frequent that projects like these, largely formal and not politely accommodating their historic surrounding, actually take greater interest in social urban issues that have a direct impact on the city dwellers. Quite simply, successful architecture today is one that serves society culturally and practically, addressing tangible problems of 21st century cities and dealing with context in a solution-oriented manner, going beyond aesthetics (whose value is only temporary) and into future-invested urbanism. Case-in-point? My hometown: Beirut, Lebanon.

The Lebanese American University Campus in Byblos. Image © Nadim Asfar The Saint Joseph University Campus of Sports and Innovation. Image © 109 Architectes The Saint Joseph University Campus of Sports and Innovation. Image © 109 Architectes The Issam Faris Institute at the American University of Beirut's Historic Campus. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects.

Beirut Terraces / Herzog & de Meuron

Beirut Terraces rethinks the concept of the skyscraper, creating a vertical village composed of thin, elegant platforms layered in a playful formation. By offering lavish outdoor spaces, breathtaking views, and meticulously composed lofts, architects Herzog & DeMeuron bring an unprecedented way of living to crowded and dense Beirut.

More on these contemporary living spaces after the break...

Courtesy of Benchmark Courtesy of Benchmark Courtesy of Benchmark Courtesy of Benchmark

NAAS Springs - FFA Proposal / Hapsitus Architects

The design proposal for NAAS Springs, a well-known wellness center and place of relaxation in Beirut, is formed by a series of walls projecting into nature. They alternate between large living spaces with roofs for residences and uncovered elongated spaces for the passages, which form an extension of nature. Designed by Hapsitus Architects, the architectural landscape is created in the spirit of water following down a sloped terrain. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Beirut Multi Art Use (MAU) Project Proposal / Dina Hadi

Designed by architect Dina Hadi, the proposal for the Beirut Multi Art Use project represents a total art mass from the city with different rhythms and patterns. It becomes a live scene from local artists that is captured into this box. With a focus on art as a foundation base for cultures, this project becomes a model for global art beyond. Her study was also awarded the best prize at the Oslo School of Architecture under the title, ‘Excellence in Professionalism’. More images and architects’ description after the break.

BANKMED Headquarters Winning Proposal / John Robertson Architects

John Robertson Architects (JRA) just won an international competition to design a new 16,400m2 headquarters for BANKMED in Beirut, Lebanon. Located at the center of the Mina El Hosn district and near to central Beirut, will become a landmark in Beirut and provide an innovative, stimulating and practical environment for employees, executives and the bank’s customers. Their proposal includes three interconnected office pavilions, which step up in height from 9 to 19 storeys. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Residence Staircase / .PSLAB

Courtesy of .PSLAB
Courtesy of .PSLAB

Designed for Bernard Khoury of DW5 for a private residence in Beirut, .PSLAB’s aim for the staircase in this space is to highlight the distinguishing features and shape of the staircase, all the while offering a distinctive experience. inspiration in this project came from the staircase’s main characteristics. The aim was to create a lighting concept that would not only mirror these distinguishing features but also complement the structure. The constraints encountered came not from the space but from the lighting fixture itself which required special handling to turn a concept into reality. More images and architects’ description after the break.

CMA-CGM Headquarters / Nabil Gholam Architects

  • Architects: Nabil Gholam Architects
  • Location: BCD, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Structural Engineer: Bureau d’études Rodolphe Mattar
  • Electro Mechanical Consultant: Barbanel Middle-East
  • Façade & Energy Consultant: ARUP Façade Engineering
  • Landscape Architect: Atelier Renée el Khazen
  • Area: 6300.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2005
  • Photographs: Geraldine Bruneel, Richard Saad, Fouad el Khoury

© Richard Saad © Richard Saad © Richard Saad © Geraldine Bruneel

Achrafieh 732 / Bernard Khoury Architects

© Bernard Khoury Architects © Bernard Khoury Architects © Bernard Khoury Architects © Bernard Khoury Architects