Exactly a year ago, on August 4, 2020, the third-largest non-nuclear explosion ever-recorded destroyed almost half the city of Beirut, ripping through the port and the eastern part of the capital. One of the biggest urban tragedies of modern times, killed more than 200 people, wounded thousands, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless, damaging over 80,000 commercial, residential and public spaces. Felt across neighboring countries, the blast stripped the city’s constructions of their cladding, framing, and glass elements, while completely tearing down other buildings, leaving around US$15 billion in property damage, in times of Covid, political and social unrest, and economic collapse.
One year later, so little has changed. One year later, it only became harder for the people of Beirut. One year later, everything in the city still reminds them of that day. Major questions remained unanswered, no rescue or action plans have been taken by governmental institutions, instead, civil society rose to take into their own hands, reconstruction efforts, in the total absence of the state.
Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, directed by Benedetta Tagliabue, has won the international competition to design the Shenzhen Conservatory of Music, one of the city's 10 new era cultural buildings. Characterized by the dialogue generated with its surroundings, the complex integrates music and art in nature with a proposal of organic and sustainable architecture.
Shigeru Ban, Pritzker Prize-winner, and Ole Scheeren, RIBA silver medalist, were appointed for the Hangzhou Wangjiang New Town master plan. Creating new art and cultural destination in the historical city, the project in collaboration with New World Development and K11 Group seeks to build a landmark that meets the needs of the new generation.
It only took a couple of seconds to destroy 40% of the city of Beirut on August 4th, 2020. A couple of trivial seconds were enough to determine the fate of the urban and social fabric of the Lebanese capital and its architectural heritage. Years and years of accumulated cultural assets fell instantly in distress, causing more harm than the infamous 15-year civil war. These seconds have erased the past, present, and destroyed future aspirations.
Hit right in its rich cultural center, the blast of the port shook the northeastern side of the Lebanese capital, leaving the neighborhoods of Mdawar, Rmeil, Gemmayze, Achrafieh, Mar Mkhayel, Karantina, and Geitawi, severely hurt. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), 200,000 housing units were affected by the explosions, with an estimated 40,000 buildings damaged, of which 3,000 were severely damaged.
Christensen & Co. Architects has designed a brand new culture house and library for the small town of Viby, in Denmark. Conceived as a sort of living room for the city, the project will be a “place for lingering and staying”, introducing social zones and an open architecture to the urban space.
MAD Architects has unveiled its design for the Shenzhen Bay Culture Park along the waterfront in Shenzhen, China. The masterplan puts in place a 51,000 square meters cultural complex that includes the Creative Design Hall, the Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum, and a vast public green space.