Zgharta House / platau

© Ieva Saudargaite

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

Senteurs d’Orient Headquarters / Atelier130

© Ieva Saudargaité

Architects: Atelier130
Location: Mkalles,
Architects In Charge: Nathalie Habr, Halim Khoriaty
Area: 1111.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Ieva Saudargaité

Nestlé Waters Beirut Headquarters / Bernard Mallat Architects + Walid Zeidan

© Ieva Saudargaite

Architects: Bernard Mallat Architects, Walid Zeidan
Location: Beirut,
Architectural Team: Louis El Khoury, Hammoud Badran, Mahmoud El Charif
Area: 5500.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: 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 . 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.

Amchit Residence / BLANKPAGE Architects

© Ieva Saudargaitė

Architects: BLANKPAGE Architects
Location: Aamchit,
Architect In Charge: Karim Nader, Patrick Mezher, Walid Ghantous
Area: 430.0 sqm
Photographs: Ieva Saudargaitė

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

Courtesy of

Architects: DW5 / Bernard Khoury
Location: Beirut,
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 Accent Design Group

Architects: Accent Design Group
Location: ,
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
Area: 3,322 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Géraldine Bruneel

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

, Lebanon. Image © VOA/V. Undritz

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

Courtesy of

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 ’s Historic Campus. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects.

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…