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Saleh Barakat Gallery / L.E.FT Architects

Saleh Barakat Gallery / L.E.FT Architects

© Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité © Ieva Saudargaité + 26

Gallery  · 
Beirut, Lebanon
  • Main Contractor

    MEC Consultant
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© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

Text description provided by the architects. The design for the new art gallery, one of the largest and most prominent in Beirut, is an adaptive reuse of a historic theatre, Masrah al Madina, which is converted into a space dedicated to showcasing prominent as well as up and coming Lebanese and Arab artists. Before being transformed in the 90s into a theatre, the underground space was as early as 1969 one of the first cinemas in the Middle East to project art and experimental movies of Fellini and Gavras as well as Soviet films.

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Located mostly underground, the attempt was to create a smooth transition from the ground level to the lower gallery level, from the sidewalk to the catwalk, while bringing natural light to the buried space.

© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

Starting with the existing theatre space, the intent was to preserve essential characteristic elements of the space, and introduce new elements that allude to the history of the space while serving its new program.

© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

A new staircase, reminiscent of theatre promenade staircases, cascades its way down to the underground main gallery space from the ground floor, going through secondary office spaces. The cascading nature allows visual continuity between upper and lower levels, and daylight to pierce its way down to the basement.

© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

The ceiling of the theatre has been renovated to highlight its steel catwalks, and transforming it into a repository for the gallery lighting, both ambient and accent lighting. A new electric chain hoist, usually hidden in the back of house, is fore fronted in the ceiling of the ground floor when needed, and is supported on exposed I beams that continue the industrial look of the gallery ceiling into the ground floor ceiling. The hoist would carry the art work crates down to the main gallery space, showcasing the back of house logistics and foregrounding them into the entry level.

Courtesy of L.E.FT Architects
Courtesy of L.E.FT Architects

Along the same lines, storage aisles on either side of the main gallery space were turned into intimate art galleries, the back of house becoming part of the foregrounded experience of art. A large archive gallery in the lower basement was also introduced for private client meetings.

© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

From the mezzanine floor, the administrative offices, and that of the gallerist, have a full view of the gallery space.

© Ieva Saudargaité
© Ieva Saudargaité

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Project location

Address: Beirut, Lebanon

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Saleh Barakat Gallery / L.E.FT Architects" 11 Aug 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/793121/saleh-barakat-gallery-left-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Ieva Saudargaité

Saleh Barakat画廊/ L.E.FT Architects

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