“European-ness Porosity” is presented as part of “MADE IN EUROPE: 25 years of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.”
From the Organizers. Europe is currently experiencing a paradigm shift from national to urban identities. As its boundaries become increasingly blurred, each city is claiming an identity of its own. Europe is predominantly urban, and the condition of the European city is related to a stratification of architectures, functions and events which, palimpsest-like, shape a compact, complex understanding of the urban experience that embraces its architectonic heritage, industrial development, social housing, archaeological sites, modern infrastructure and the cities rebuilt after WW2.
The globalisation process began with the emigration of artists and architects during WW1, and continuing with the exodus due to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and the start of WW2. In this sense, Europe acted as a transmission device, the key node in a complex process of emission and assimilation. Today we live in a liquid reality whose theme is permeability, a reality in which professionals and intellectuals can move across porous borders.
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…
B 018 is a music club designed by Bernard Khoury Architects, a place of nocturnal survival. In the early months of 1998, the B 018 moved to the “Quarantaine”, on a site that was better known for its macabre aura. The “Quarantaine” is located at the proximity of the port of Beirut. During the French protectorate, it was a place of quarantine for arriving crews. In the recent war it became the abode of Palestinian, Kurdish and South Lebanese refugees (20,000 in 1975). In January 1976, local militia men launched a radical attack that completely wiped out the area. The slums were demolished along with the kilometer long bordering wall that isolated the zone from the city. Over twenty years later, the scars of war are still perceptible through the disparity between the scarce urban fabric of the area and the densely populated neighborhoods located across the highway that borders the zone.