The city of Bourj Hammoud was destroyed by the construction of the Yerevane bridge, which led to the destruction of several houses, leaving the rest in a visual and noise pollution. I took the book the little prince as a reference and a guide to find a simple solution. Therefore, to improve the lifestyle of this area, I started by a model of 60cm x 60cm that started as flower bins and created different elements that were divided in 3 groups: 1.the need (solar panels, rainwater recovery tank, sewage treatment, grey water treatment, bus stop, kiosk…), 2.infrastructure (structure, shaft, stairs, elevators… ) and 3.existent elements in the city (antenna, road lighting, housing, clothes dryer, water tanks….) all of them attached on the facade and reshaping the buildings with the purpose of covering the facade facing the bridge, insuring light and ventilation from the sides of the building. This module scattered on the whole city, making a recipe for the other houses to be used and changing the identity of the city to a more appealing place.
Why did I choose the Little Prince?
This book is a great success and a great echo to readers who have been touched by this book. In this sense and after seeing the reaction of people for this work I found it interesting to treat an architecture inspired by this book in the hope that it effects the society as this book did. However, the writing, form, style and drawings very simple, very basic but this work hides much deeper and more philosophical meanings like the criticism of our modern world, criticism of adults which is actually a criticism of our society: king, vain, businessman ...to give at the end of the book a moral, an answer for a better world, «It is only with the heart that one can see rightly what is essential is invisible to the eye».
Question?: How can we establish a relationship between this book and architecture for the same purpose as the Little Prince? To solve big complex problems with the simplest solutions while touching the people like this book did to its readers.
I chose social problems and an anomaly in a site, following the moral of the Little Prince and I found that all the chapters of this book can attack a similar project.
I chose the site of Burj hammoud, a city destroyed by the construction of a the "Yerevane Bridge", a bridge constructed by the government to link the city of Sin el fil to Ashrafieh and crossed a whole city in the middle and destroyed completely some houses, others half destroyed and leaving every house and citizen in visual and noise pollution and sunlight.
I took as a reference, the artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude who wrap different elements or buildings in the aim of changing their identity. In the same idea, I wanted to transform and change the identity of the Yerevan Bridge, from an element that is a source of negativity to an element that is a source of happiness, so when we arrive to this bridge it's like we entered a black hole, wrapping the bridge or the houses surroundings of the bridge. However, after doing some sketches i arrived to a braking point that is what is the function and the character oh my architecture because everything that i was adding was suffocating the site more than helping it.
First Intervention: The Effervescence effect:
Everything i added suffocated more the site so instead of evacuation the site we will work with the bridge and relocate the functions in the site that became unsanitary and that do not work below the bridge in order to have more space under the bridge and use the empty space under the bridge for parking or for service to decrease the vehicular density which was taking over the remaining vacant space and adding noise and air pollution to the inhabitants.
Thus the effervescent effect, decongest:
We do not go down from our building but we go up from our building, meaning
the roof became the social space and commercial space like shops, restaurants...The roof is left for the everyday functions and is full of empty social spaces while the ground floor is left for functions of service and cars. The circulation is not just horizontal but also vertical and the vehicular use is limited, I use the car just to leave the region. Therefore, the bridge becomes the level +0.00.
The character of my architecture:
Also in the same concept that everything i added suffocated more the site, greenery is the only element that can be added without suffocating the site and plus if the bridge was replaced by a series of trees we wouldn't have any problem so my architecture must have the attitude to plant this bridge, make this bridge a series of trees.
After taking as a reference the "Temporary Guggenheim Museum, Jean Nouvel, Tokyo, Japan" with his green and changing architecture and "An Viet Dung, Hanoi University of Civil Engineering, Vietnam" with his modest system that is: plants watered by the water from the fish tank and after it's cleaned by the plants it comes back to the tank. This system was put on the balconies and invaded all the facades of the city.
To improve the lifestyle of this area, I started by a model of 60cm x 60cm that started as flower bins and created different elements that were divided in 3 groups: 1.the need (solar panels, rainwater recovery tank, sewage treatment, grey water treatment, bus stop, kiosk…), 2.infrastructure (structure, shaft, stairs, elevators… ) and 3.existent elements in the city (antenna, road lighting, housing, clothes dryer, water tanks….), all of these elements created a recipe that can be used by the inhabitants to rebuild and reshape their houses. In fact, all of them were attached on the facade and reshaped the buildings with the purpose of covering the facade facing the bridge, insuring light and ventilation from the sides of the building. This module scattered on the whole city changing its identity to a more appealing place. These interventions were made on the houses facing the bridge, on the space under the bridge and on the stadium, the only open space in the city (something that the city desperately needs) and that is barely used or open.
First site of intervention: The Stadium
The city is very condensed with no empty or open spaces for the inhabitants and the stadium is a very big open space in the city that is used rarely, only during football matches while the city suffocates and needs a public space. In parallel, a project “the bridge” was built for the city and was supposed to help the city but it is full of luxurious, fancy functions (fancy expensive restaurants, spa, offices) that the people living next to the bridge can’t afford. Therefore, I did an intervention on the stadium the only open space in the city and modified the functions in the project “The Bridge“ to functions more useful and familiar to the inhabitants of the city that will be placed in the stadium:
-The gym in "The Bridge Project" became an open stadium, a Basketball court, a meeting space: preschool, scouting...
-The offices became coffee shop, spice and nuts store, grocery store for vegetables and fruit, bakery, newspaper stand, an open souk
-The spa became Showers and locker rooms
-The luxurious restaurants became cafeteria, snack and open air market
Second Site of intervention: Housing next to the bridge
1-Vernacular ideology: We add what we need
3-The Effervescence Effect
4-Intervention mainly on the facade in front of the bridge, isolating houses from the bridge and opening from the side for sun and ventilation
5-Idea used and accepted by the inhabitants who already were planting to separate, isolate their house from the bridge
The ground floor contains the functions related to cars and services: Parking for car, car repair, water tank, electrical room, infrastructure, urban farming, etc.
The first floor contains housing, seasonal garden, infrastructure
The second floor contains housing, seasonal garden, infrastructure
The third floor contains housing, seasonal garden, infrastructure, social space
The fourth floor, the roof contains seasonal garden, infrastructure, social space
Therefore, the ground floor is kept for cars, parking, infrastructure, urban farming and services, the middle for housing, infrastructure and seasonal gardens and the roof is kept for social space, shops, seasonal gardens, infrastructure and everyday functions.
The intervention on the housing, closes the facade facing the bridge and as we get higher in levels the architecture goes further from the bridge with side openings allowing lateral ventilation and light.
This architecture is not just formal. In fact, just like The Centre Pompidou, this architecture has all its functions, from the smallest one (shaft, structure…) to the big main functions (kitchen, bedroom…) on its facade. However, instead of having their raw form, the functions were converted to a greener attitude and were formed from a simple flower bin that contains different kind of plants.
Most of the plants used are plants that didn’t need a lot of maintenance and are perfect to lower the air and noise pollution Aglaonema snow white, Dragon tree, Kimberly Queen Fern, Lan Peace Lily, Devil’s Ivy, CAU Hawaii, Weeping Fig, while the other plants are related to fruits and vegetables.
All the functions or the infrastructure that was added, was made to make the city of Bourj hammoud an independent, self-sufficient city.
1- Solar Panels: The solar panels are mainly places on the roof of the houses to generate electricity and heat. The photo voltaic solar panels are placed on the roof and are linked to a shaft that contains wires or cables that will lead the current. Theses panels are linked to an inverter, a device that converts the direct current produced by the panels into an alternating current compatible with the electrical network of the house. After the inverter there is the electric meter or charge controller which function is to reduce the intensity of the electrical courant to be compatible with the electrical network of the house. Than this courant is distributed to the houses through wires or cables placed in shafts that are placed on the facade.
2- Rainwater Recovery tank: The rainwater that falls on the roof is recaptured by a pipe that is in a shaft linked to the roof and placed on the facade. This shaft leads the water into a filter that filters and treats the water before it reaches a tank that is on the ground floor. The tank is linked to a water meter that measures and controls the amount of water pumped to the house. However, this water is non drinkable and only used for cleaning.
3- Wind Turbine: Only used in the stadium and not the housing because of the noise.
The top of the wind turbine, which generates the courant is linked to cables that are linked to a transformer placed at the bottom of the wind turbine and masked by greenery. This transformer, a device that converts the direct current produced by the turbine into an alternating current compatible with the electrical network of the house. This transformer is placed above a substation that controls the courant before sending it to the rest of the city
4- Sewage Treatment: All the sewage water of the houses are emptied in a tank placed in the ground floor also masked by greenery and that contains small bacteria that cleans all this water making it clean again. This tank is divided in 3 parts: the first part the dirtiest water, than it moves to the second part where it’s cleaned even more, to arrive to the third part where it’s clean and resent to the houses to be used again.
5- Grey Water Treatment: The grey water that results from the washing (shower, dish washer, washing machine…). There is 2 treatments for this grey water:
A- The grey water is filtered before entering the tank by a filter at the end of the shaft than once in the tank it is treated and disinfected to be stocked at the end in a second tank so it can be reused. After this treatment the water can be used for laundry, washing cars, toilet, irrigation.
B- The water is just filtered before entering the tank by a filter at the end of the shaft and then stocked to be reused. In this case the water can only be used for irrigation.
Tutor: Alphonse Kai
Renders: ArchiGraphics, Amer Farah