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…
Public Architecture is an organization with a simple goal: to address public interest through architecture and solve problems of human interaction within the built environment. The San Francisco based non-profit was established in 2002 and in its past ten years it has served as a forum for public discourse, education and advocacy for the design of public spaces and amenities. In 2005 it launched its 1% program, a now nationally recognized portfolio of pro-bono work by architects and firms ready to donate 1% of their year’s billable hours to provide work for nonprofit organizations requesting a variety of services that strengthen their architectural identity and community impact. To date, there are 1100 firms registered with the 1% program.
AIA President Jeff Potter welcomed everyone this morning by restating his promise that the 2012 convention would inspire all who attend. With a consistent theme focusing on the architects commitment to service, President Potter welcomed Shaun Donovan – the 15th United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – as today’s keynote speaker. However, before Secretary Donovan took the stage, the 2012 AIA Vice President and 2013 President-elect Mickey Jacob invited the crowd to come, stay and explore the mile-high city of Denver for the 2013 National Convention.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Board of Directors (BOD) selected Minneapolis based firm VJAA for the 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The internationally recognized design firm was noted for their “research into material innovations and digital practice tools.”
“VJAA creates a place and purpose-specific architecture founded on broad societal, technological, and artistic values. Their work eloquently demonstrates the creative possibilities of joining environmental innovation, material exploration, and a thoughtful and economical response to site and program,” stated Andrea Leers, FAIA, of 2007 Firm Award recipient Leers Weinzapfel Associates in her recommendation letter.
The AIA highlighted VJAA’s Charles Hostler Student Center in Beirut, Lebanon and Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans. Leers continues to describe, “In an era frequently characterized by architectural indulgence and excess, VJAA is creating architecture of refinement and restraint.”
Along with AIA Gold Medal winner Steven Holl, VJAA will also be awarded in May at the 2012 AIA National Convention in Washington, D.C.
In preparation for this year’s 2011 AIA National Convention our Architecture City Guide is headed to the Big Easy. For the attendees, next weekend, the New Orleans AIA chapter has prepared an architecture city guide with 250 buildings worth seeing. Therefore our meager list of 12 hardly covers the wonderful buildings to visit. Lets us know your favorites that are not on our list in the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: New Orleans list and corresponding map after the break
Architects: VJAA in association with James Carpenter Design Associates and Transsolar
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Client: Tulane University
Principals in Charge: Vincent James, FAIA; Jennifer Yoos, AIA; Nathan Knutson, AIA
Senior Project Architect: Paul Yaggie, AIA
Consulting Architect: Wayne Troyer Architect, Louisiana
Landscape Architect: Coen + Partners
General Contractor: Broadmoor; Boh Bros. Construction
Constructed area: 13,750 sqm
Budget: US $28,000,000
Project year: 2007
Photographs: © Paul Crosby