Urban Design and Landscape

EAST VILLAGE: Reactivation of a vacant plot, resonance and urban links to EDL

Joey Choucair
USEK - Holy spirit University of Kaslik

Project idea

East village is a tower by Jean-Marc Bonfils, in Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon, which was a residential tower with an art gallery on the ground floor. It was affected by the blast of the port on the 4th of august. Damaged, the East village faces contextual problems and spatial problems. So we have to make it more resilient and rethink the building with its surroundings. The tower's east side is blinded due to the possibility of building a road on the plot 1090, so we are going to reactivate the space with landscape, with heritage and urban links. Then, create a resonance with the landscape and the east village to reorient it towards the neighborhood. The tower needs reconnection to its art gallery ground floor, upper floors and surroundings. Also, it claims to give back EDL gardens by implementing green walls put failed miserably to do so. So, to really give back to the community its gardens, we are going to create a public function to link East village, new art hub inspired by its art gallery with the EDL, linking neighborhood commercial ground floors and EDL plazas.

Project description

To be able to create this urban linkage, we merged EDL and East village into a pedestrian block for people's needs, this block is served with art kiosks and green urban farming also to boost local economy with mirroring of the landscape on facades. The public function created communicates with the inside functions of the tower and outside by the openings. The East village is an Art hub for the community, to help Mar Mikhael which is known for its art side, and to connect with the art gallery. A part of the tower will be kept residential and turned into temporary housing as lofts for artists so we have a work-live situation.

Technical information

The East village has won the Asia architecture award 2015 residential first prize, so it is considered to be a heritage by its wood used to mimic mar mikhael wood and EDL plaza. So on the east concrete blinded facade will be completely changed with mechanical vertical farming as a productive zone. On the west, the imported unsustainable aesthetic facade, will be replaced with recycled pipes from wood and green walls, as manual productive vertical farming. This facade will be changed while keeping the original contrast of the award winning tower. Also, the tower has zero energy consumption by plant waste combustion, has a rainwater harvesting system, ventilation by chimney effect, and houses many fruits and vegetables for the community, for resilience purposes.

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