Urban Design and Landscape

Meanwhile Beirut

Chimene Ayoub
USEK - Holy spirit University of Kaslik

Project idea

To Dream, we must revolt, and to revolt we should not stay in place
A person controls the construction of its own dreams, knowing it or not. Therefor, the dream space is architectural born from the imagination. The idea is to manipulate and develop an imaginary site.
The site is BEIRUT.
It’s future Beirut, where it’s a dream city, a heaven on earth.
What to do ?
How to prepare this city, having in hands today only one dream, but a dream that belongs to the city of tomorrow, while existing in the present?
Meanwhile…Lets Dream
Let us take spaces in the city of Beirut, as if these spaces are "hints", sparkles of dreams that will lead this city to a dream city in the coming 20, 30, 50, 100 years.
Searching through the city’s collective subconscious, and choosing sites holding a significant memory, a “Meanwhile Beirut” will be created.
The logical approach is to occupy each site according to its history, role and message. But as they are in the present, with their current functions, they are almost useless, dead, without real purpose
The site’s functions will be removed from their original places to relive in another location that needs them, leaving behind a gene from where they came from.

Project description

1) The function of the port which is the exchange, will be temporally reincarnated in St. Georges- which was once the “Gateway to the East” (بوابة الشرق), and the point of exchange between Western and Eastern countries.
2) The function of the St. Georges will squat in the EGG.
3) An artistic installation from the EGG will come to settle at the port across the whole city.
4) Giving back the power to the people by retransmitting it from the Martyrs Square to the Star Square where the politics(Parliament) is installed .
5) To have a remedy from the law on politics, the function of the Star Square will be reincarnated at the site of the Roman School of Law.
6) While the function of the law is installed in Beirut’s Forest (حرش بيروت ) in order to incorporate the law that will defend our environment.
7) Finally, a hopeful seed from the Horsh will be planted in the Martyrs Square which will become a green space in the middle of this city, as it had been several years before.

Once Beirut becomes ideal, each function will resume its own place.
So let's revisit each site and introduce its strategy and new function.

Saint Georges. Glamor to exchange
The function that will be embodied in this site is strange to the story for which the site is recognized, but it will be a primary way that will lead citizens to face their past. It will therefor carry the function of exchange, embodying the chamber of commerce and industry.
Following an ephemeral approach, the new function will come to hide the monument temporary, as being in restoration, so that one day, when Beirut becomes ideal, the intervention disappears, and the Saint Georges will become again as before.
Accessing the main hall of the monument, the visitor discovers the glory of this building, in a museum way without touching it to get to the intervention, the space that tends the most to the sea where it will become once again “the port of the east”
The intervention will change of attitude following each facade. Towards the street it is almost transparent. The side facades will be more theatrical and partially hidden, to reach the last facade which is the opaquest and will house the main function. A leisure function will sparkle when night falls, at the lobby and the rooftop of the building.

The city center: Art to Glamour.
The egg will be visited in a nomadic state attitude. This site switching to the function of hotel and glamour, will hold temporary housing units located on the outer perimeter of the slabs. While the function of festivity will fill the void of the war.
The ephemeral structure will change functions according to the events that will take place.
The two underground levels will be connected to the festivities and dedicated to leisure. While the other slabs will be a place of exhibition and an extension of the structure

Star Square: Politics to People
As for the project of the star square, which will take place around the garden of forgiveness (archaeological roman ruins), it will be a museum that intercept reality and imagination, snaking the site, without abusing it.
The system will be built according to time.
The different parts of the project can work independently, so according to the needs the project is modified.
And when night falls, the shadows of passers-by will give an impression of life in the archaeological site.

Roman School of Law: Law to politics
A new ideological approach will be put in place, that consist of the principle of interaction between the site itself, the people and the deputies.
You can do a simple touristic visit there. Or you can meet the deputies. When night falls, the facades that provide shade during the day will sparkle in the form of projection screens that will tell the story of the archaeological site.
The project will be a vertical projection of the roman road found in the site

Horesh Beirut: Green in the city to Law
As for horsh Beirut, we can see that there is a massacred part belonging to the horsh, but fortunately still not built. Therefor, we will structure a vertical extension to the Horsh. The metal structures that will house the premises of the NGOs that will defend environmental rights, will also serve as a basis for continuity of the Horsh.
Two Service Blocks will provide direct access to the project functions. In addition, this project will be surrounded by a second circulation that resembles the stairs of Escher, allowing us to lose ourselves in nature in order to find ourselves. “ When you get lost in nature, you find yourself".
The sports fields will be lowered, and the structure will step over them to create shade.
And when night falls, a platform at the top will give life to the project and sparkle.

Technical information

Starting from an ephemeral approach, the sites will be unified by the building materials, the structural approach and artistic installations which, once night falls, the dream begins, and its sparks will be scattered in different corners of the city.

Materials: All project are formed from steel structure similar to scaffolding, as if the sites(Beirut itself) are in restoration. The concept is to be ephemeral, easy to manipulate and easy to dismantle and move. The projects are like the dream itself EPHEMERAL and can disappear at any moment.
Instead of using Glass, we are using translucent poly carbonate panels, which are more sustainable. They also give the hazed impressions that is directly related to a state of a dream.
The structure itself is very flexible, it can remain the same while the function and partitions inside it change as time and needs change.

The Horsh project is a green project, the structure serve as a basis allowing the greenery to climb the project and creating a green vertical extension, taking it as examples for future projects in Beirut to follow the same principle. Even though when do not have enough public spaces to grow trees, we can do it vertically.

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