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

Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury

Architects: DW5 / Bernard Khoury
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Bernard Khoury
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of DW5 / Bernard Khoury, Ieva Saudargaite

Tahan Villa / BLANKPAGE Architects

© Ieva Saudargaitė

Architects: BLANKPAGE Architects
Location: , Lebanon
Architect In Charge: Karim Nader, Patrick Mezher, Walid Ghantous, Romy Lahoud
Area: 865 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Ieva Saudargaitė

Jiyeh Villa / Accent Design Group

Courtesy of

Architects: Accent Design Group
Location: , Lebanon
Architect In Charge: Elie Abs
Area: 700 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Accent Design Group

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

© Hufton+Crow

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Bliss, Lebanon
Design : Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Area: 3000.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Hufton+Crow, Luke Hayes

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

A view of the museum from the monolith. Image © GM Architects

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

© Joe Kesrouani

Architects: Paul Kaloustian Architect
Location: Beirut,
Area: 500.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Joe Kesrouani, Ieva Saudargaite, Carl Gerges, Courtesy of Paul Kaloustian Architect

Mitsulift HQ / Raed Abillama Architects

© Géraldine Bruneel

Architects: Raed Abillama Architects
Location:
Area: 3,322 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Géraldine Bruneel

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

, . Image © VOA/V. Undritz

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

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Architects: Raed Abillama Architects
Location: Jbeil,
Area: 1,848 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Raed Abillama Architects

Architecture City Guide: Beirut

© Flickr User Omar Chatriwala

Following a brutal 15-year civil war that tore the city apart, 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

Architects: Raed Abillama Architects
Location: Fidar, Jbeil,
Area: 506 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Géraldine Bruneel

The New ‘Context’ in Architecture: Learning From Lebanon

The Issam Faris Institute at the American University of Beirut’s Historic Campus. Image © .

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, .

Cases from Lebanon on this new approach to context after the break…

Beirut Terraces / Herzog & de Meuron

Courtesy of Benchmark

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…

i-SKI / ACCENT DESIGN GROUP

Courtesy of

Architects: ACCENT DESIGN GROUP
Location: Kfardebian,
Lead Architect: Elie ABS
Design Team: Charbel Karam, Elie Mattar, Rita Tedy
Client: OMBA
Area: 1,100 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of ACCENT DESIGN GROUP

NAAS Springs – FFA Proposal / Hapsitus Architects

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The design proposal for NAAS Springs, a well-known wellness center and place of relaxation in , 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

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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

 

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John Robertson Architects (JRA) just won an international competition to design a new 16,400m2 headquarters for BANKMED in Beirut, . 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.

Zaarour Club Resort Second Prize Winning Proposal / 109 Architectes

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Designed by 109 Architectes, their proposal in the Club Competition, which won the second prize, takes advantage of the natural setting while creating a distinctive yet unobtrusive project identity. Consequently, the primary challenge with the Resort is to construct the density required while still respecting and incorporating the rich natural environment. More images and architects’ description after the break.