Text description provided by the architects. Architectural program
The space is functional and serves different purposes: the aim is to create a polyvalent layout to accommodate different market needs. The top floors are dedicated to the headquarters of Mitsulift (an elevator company), the ground floor for retail and a few office floors in between offer an open plan space that can be layout into different configurations. The building needed to be cost efficient. For this, RAA endeavored to find smart ideas for using cost efficient and maintenance-free materials, such as GRC (Glass Reinforced Concrete) panels for the façade.
A building that works efficiently and in a sustainable manner is one that has a carefully thought-out space from the inside, not that just looks good from the outside: the façade is an external translation of the internal efficiency not just an aesthetic frame.
RAA main concern is the living quality of the users and the efficiency of the construction by minimizing direct sunlight and heat intake. To optimize this effect the ceiling height was raised, and high, deep recessed slit windows were created so that the openings are in the shade on the east and west. This proportion of high windows gives more natural, homogenized light into the deep end of the office.
The windows are not operable in order to enhance the insulation properties of the façade in terms of thermal, sound and dust pollution. The air exchange is through filtered heat recovery machines, hence minimizes thermal consumption. The building being located on a highway, the idea was easy to implement; the result is a better quality of spaces in urban environments.
Ecological solutions are not always technologically driven. Sun is extremely efficient in Lebanon: it is an available energy. The architect must cater to the local climate and adapt to local lifestyle and culture. Other passive approach is the usage of thermal mass to absorb heat during the day and release it at night. Efficient technological systems such as solar heating for hot water, VRV air-conditioning machines, LED and fluorescent lighting, energy recovery, and variable speed elevators are also used in Mitsulift Headquarters building.