Beirut: The Latest Architecture and News
AKK Architects, an architecture practice founded by architect Annabel Karim Kassar, with offices in Beirut, Dubai, and London, is transforming a historical 19th-century Lebanese home into a contemporary family home. Bayt K was shortlisted for the WAF future projects awards under House category.
In recent years, people started to regain interest in a movement that dates back to the last century; a movement, first introduced during the 1940s and 1950s, through the works of Le Corbusier and Alison and Peter Smithson. With monolithic structures, modular shapes, and impressive massing, Brutalism highlights architectural integrity. This movement is highly characterized by rough, raw, and pure surfaces that underline the essence of the substances in question. Spread across the globe, architects have adopted and developed their own vision of this modern movement, creating contextual variations.
In the midst of all the chaos currently taking place in the city of Beirut, we look back on the Lebanese capital’s hidden Brutalist gems. To shed the light on a movement that's often neglected and forgotten, Architect Hadi Mroue created a series of images that highlight the Lebanese Brutalism movement as well as its evolution as an important part of the Lebanese modern heritage.
What is architecture if it does not understand its context? Architecture is shaped and curated by the area it lives in, showcasing the culture it embodies. The more of this identity it embodies, the more meaningful (and sometimes prominent) it becomes.
December of 2018 was a month of prosperity for Lebanese architecture: Hashim Sarkis was announced curator of the 2020 Venice Biennale and Lebanese-born Amale Andraos and partner Dan Wood of WORKac were selected to build the Beirut Museum of Art. The museum, a dynamic assembly of contoured geometries (not entirely unlike their work at Miami's Museum Garage) located in the heart of Beirut City, will house permanent and temporary exhibitions across 12,000 square meters. WORKac's winning scheme was chosen for its ability to “reveal the cultural possibilities of integrating art, architecture, and landscape within a dense urban setting and as a means to re-imagine how we can live, learn and share together.”
Architect Amale Andraos and her firm WORKac have been selected to design BeMA, the new Beirut Museum of Art in Lebanon. Centrally located in the heart of Beirut, the project will be positioned on a site that once marked the dividing line in the Lebanese civil war. The museum’s permanent collection will include modern and contemporary artworks from Lebanon, the Lebanese diaspora and the wider region. The new project will feature 70 balconies arrayed as a vertical promenade that blends indoor and outdoor spaces to create an open museum for the city.
With its monumental form, swept diagonal lines and elevated concrete walkways, the Issam Fares Institute building at the American University of Beirut by Zaha Hadid Architects emphasizes movement, evoking the speed of contemporary life as it presides over a connecting system of pedestrian walkways. Begun in 2006 and completed in 2014, Hadid’s award-winning concrete and glass building makes a bold statement with its prominent 21-meter, two-story-tall cantilever, which creates a covered courtyard and reduces the footprint of the building to avoid blocking circulation routes. The elevated walkways carry pedestrians through the branches of huge Cypress and Ficus trees, many of which significantly predate the building at 120 to 180 years old.
When Spanish architect Rafael Moneo won the Pritzker Prize in 1996, the jury identified his ability to see buildings as lasting built entities—their lives extending beyond architectural drawings—as integral to his success. The South Souks, Moneo’s 2009 project in Beirut, Lebanon, indeed responds to a long history and anticipates a lasting future. After the city’s historic souq (outdoor marketplace) was destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War, developer Solidere began rebuilding the commercial area in 1991. As part of the project, Moneo designed an arcaded shopping district that follows the ancient Hellenistic grid and retains original street names.
Architecture students of the American University of Beirut used an ephemeral design to approach the lack of awareness of marine biodiversity and responsible use of the coast of Tyre. The proposal consists of a lightweight and deployable structure constituting a programmatic point of meeting and information on the sand.
The project materialized with wood, metal ties and ropes, approach the possible application of light and temporary systems to generate a large social impact and at the same time minimum physical impact on the site.
Beirut has seen an influx of wealth into the area ever since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990. Large-scale developments and designer architecture from Herzog & de Meuron, Snøhetta and David Adjaye have been popping up throughout the capital, much like its Middle Eastern neighbors. Retro67 by Andrea Vattovani Architecture, together with local architects Plan Bee Architecture, will celebrate the appearance of the old town of Beirut and reinterpret the traditional stylistic elements with the modern flair that is becoming the city’s favored style.
In the rapidly burgeoning city of Beirut, the post-war building boom is far from over. Much like its middle-eastern neighbors, it boasts of a plump share of designer architecture—as critic Oliver Wainwright refers to it, “a diverse shopping list”. It is here that the Beirut Terraces, a residential complex designed by Herzog & De Meuron, rises up to 119 meters, occupying a prominent place in the city’s skyline. In this collection of photographs by Bahaa Ghoussainy, one sees the Beirut Terraces from within, getting a glimpse of both the interior, as well as the multiple, unique views offered from inside the building.
27 years after the Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990), Beirut finds itself a city of conflicting personalities. A summer night stroll through the recently completed Zaitunay Bay Marina flaunts the capital’s ongoing facelift. What GQ calls “the chosen destination for young rich cool kids across the globe” is now peppered with glitzy glass-clad high rises, world-class nightclubs, droves of foreign tourists, and high-profile architecture. A Steven Holl-designed yacht club is just minutes away from Herzog & de Meuron’s Beirut Terraces, a luxury condominium skyscraper overlooking a seaside promenade that the resort refers to as an “urban beach.” However, this inner-city development has also had extreme consequences on the city's periphery, as shown clearly in this photoset by Manuel Alvarez Diestro.
In this series, photographer Julien Lanoo turns his camera toward Adjaye Associates' Aishti Foundation in Beirut, a shopping center and museum showcasing the private contemporary art collection of Tony Salamé, the founder of Lebanese luxury retailer Aishti.
Located on a coastal brownfield site in central Beirut, the building integrates the two distinct programs by establishing what the architects call a "celebration of views into the spaces as well as a homogenising tiled design that presents a language throughout the building’s floor, façade and roof." Interior spaces are organized around a reflective central atrium, while an undulating landscape along the water reclaims seaside public space, and opens up views over the city of Beirut.
Check out the full photoset, below.