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Sheikh Nahyan Centre for Arabic Studies & Intercultural Dialogue / Fouad Samara Architects

Sheikh Nahyan Centre for Arabic Studies & Intercultural Dialogue / Fouad Samara Architects

© Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite © Ieva Saudargaite + 56

University  · 
Koura, Lebanon
  • Architects Authors of this architecture project Fouad Samara Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project
    2567.0 m2
  • Project Year Brands with products used in this architecture project
    2015
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    DAIKIN, Lumiere Group, Technal
  • Lead Architects

    Fouad Samara, Jad Abi Fadel, Lara Alam
  • Photographs

  • Main contractor

    RK Engineering
  • Structural Engineer

    PAG for Engineering s.a.r.l.
  • Mechanical Engineer

    Omar Ismail & Partners
  • Electrical Engineer

    Georges Chamoun Electrical Engineering Office
  • Client

    University of Balamand
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© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

Text description provided by the architects. CASID is a recent addition to the existing and firmly rooted fabric of the University of Balamand. It creates a forum for cultural, intellectual, and religious exchange; and aims to embody the progressive ethos of the University, fortifying its role as a nexus for excellence in education, thought, and dialogue within the Arab world.

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

Located on a gently sloping site with an unobstructed view of a walnut grove, the campus in the foreground, and the Mediterranean Sea beyond, the design of CASID evolved from the concept of dialogue. Dialogue with its immediate site, architectural heritage, and wider cultural context of Al Kurah and Lebanon.  

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite
Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan
© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

The building aims to engage faculty, students and visitors alike, be a non-authoritarian accessible platform for cultural and intellectual exchange, and offer a progressive image of Arabs to the world.

© Judy AbiRustom
© Judy AbiRustom

A modern interpretation of the traditional courtyard buildings of the Levant, CASID is not a fort like structure. On the contrary, it knits itself into the site, opens to all its surroundings, and engages with them. A forum for the entire campus, it opens up towards the West symbolizing its role as a vehicle for intercultural dialogue. Access to the building is provided from all sides and respective levels of streets and landscape around, further symbolizing its role as a nexus of exchange accessible to all. The eastern part of the building roots itself into the landscape, and is built perpendicular to it, reflecting how traditional Levant architecture deals with construction on a slope. The western part hovers heroically creating the main entrance aligned to the street while embodying the aspirations Arabs must have for the future. The southern part acts as a natural extension to the landscape itself.

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

The roof is seen as the fifth elevation clearly visible from the hills around, and therefore developed into an accessible green roof preserving the planted heritage of the site and providing another public space with unparalleled views.

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

The materials pallet chosen for CASID is simple and precise. In addition to clear glass, used critically where the building touches the sloping site allowing continuity between in and out, rough shuttered reinforced concrete - ‘Beton Brut’, the indigenous building material of the day in this part of the world - is used for the structure and envelope. Non-structural walls and suspended ceilings are painted white. Floors, in and out, are honed Basalt. Façades exposed to the western sun have aluminium sun baffles articulated in both spacing and size as a modern and abstract interpretation of Arabesque – itself a play on the size and rotation of geometric forms.

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

By applying a stringent design process, void of stylistic preoccupations, Fouad Samara Architects (FSA) have aspired to create an indigenous piece of architecture that precisely responds to the use of the building, its site, and the cultural message it wants to send out. In defining this aspiration, CASID becomes an objective and honest translation of that.

© Ieva Saudargaite
© Ieva Saudargaite

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Project location

Address: Koura, Lebanon

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Sheikh Nahyan Centre for Arabic Studies & Intercultural Dialogue / Fouad Samara Architects" 24 Aug 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/878278/sheikh-nahyan-centre-for-arabic-studies-and-intercultural-dialogue-fouad-samara-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Ieva Saudargaite

阿拉伯语研究及跨文化交流中心 / Fouad Samara Architects

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