UIA and TSEZ Seek to Revive Niemeyer’s Abandoned Tripoli Site through International Competition

As part of Tripoli’s economic revival plan, the International Union of Architects (UIA), in collaboration with the Lebanese Federation of Engineers and Architects (on behalf of the Tripoli Special Economic Zone / TSEZ), the Union of Mediterranean Architects (UMAR), and the Lebanese Government, have launched an international architecture competition to create a Knowledge and Innovation Center in the northern city of Lebanon.

The proposed site is situated on an empty lot within Oscar Niemeyer’s abandoned Rachid Karami International Fair, a modernist exhibition complex that has yet to see the light of restoration. The objective of the competition is to create a technology and business hub which will foster and promote start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, attracting students, young graduates, local and international companies to Tripoli and the neighboring region.

UIA and TSEZ Seek to Revive Niemeyer’s Abandoned Tripoli Site through International Competition - More Images+ 7

Tripoli, Lebanon. Image via Google Maps
Courtesy of TSEZ

The fairground remains as one of the most deplorable touristic sites in Tripoli and Lebanon. One million square meters of landscape, fountains, and Niemeyer’s archetypal free-flowing concrete structures withstood 15 years of Lebanese civil war, occupied by Lebanese and Syrian militia groups and army men. Although the future of the crumbling site remains obscure, UIA’s architecture competition is the first substantial silver lining that the site is witnessing since the end of the war in 1990.

Courtesy of International Union of Architects (UIA)

Architects, designers, and urban planners, who are interested in participating and learning more about the site, are able to register on the competition’s official website until the 18th of March, and should submit their projects before the 17th of June. The proposal must include a master plan of approximately 60,000 sqm of built-up area, divided into two 30,000 sqm plots, and an architectural design of one of them. The jury will be evaluating the proposed projects and will choose the winning selection on June 28th. The announcement of winners will be followed by an awards ceremony and an exhibition from 5 - 7 July 2019.

Courtesy of TSEZ


1st Prize: 60,000 USD
2nd Prize: 30,000 USD
3rd Prize: 15,000 USD

Honorable mentions could be awarded to exceptional and innovative proposals of high merit.


  • Raya Al Hassan, Minister of Interior, Former Chairperson of TSEZ, Lebanon.

  • Jad Tabet, Head of Lebanese Federation of Engineers and Architects, Lebanon.

  • Bassam Ziadeh, Head of Order of Engineers and Architects, Lebanon.

  • George Kunihiro, Architect, Previous President of ARCASIA, current UIA Representative, Japan.

  • Antonio Raffaele Riverso, Former UIA Region I Vice President, current UMAR Representative, Italy.

  • Francesco Bandarin, Former Director of World Heritage Centre and Former Assistant Director General for Culture at UNESCO, Italy.

  • Ana Tostoes, Chair, DOCOMOMO International, Portugal.

  • Fares Dahdah, Director of the Humanities Research Center at Rice University, Member of Fundacao Oscar Niemeyer Board, USA.

  • Suha Ozkan, Former Secretary General of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Turkey.

Alternate Jury:

Oscar Niemeyer's Rachid Karami Exposition Site Crumbling after Years of Neglect

Lebanon is home to several outstanding structures, influenced by centuries of architectural styles. However, one of the most intriguing projects in the Middle Eastern country lies in the northern city of Tripoli, a culturally-rich historical city with structures once inhabited by Romans, Crusaders, Phoenicians, and Ottomans.

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Cite: Dima Stouhi. "UIA and TSEZ Seek to Revive Niemeyer’s Abandoned Tripoli Site through International Competition" 09 Mar 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/912691/uia-and-tsez-seek-to-revive-niemeyers-abandoned-tripoli-site-through-international-competition> ISSN 0719-8884

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