Urban Design and Landscape

Resilience Beirut’s Essence

Diana Padilla Herrera, Emma Benedictis Cortés
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Ecuador

Project idea

Beirut's long history, dating back more than 5,000 years, has seen the birth and death of various civilizations. Various temporalities have resulted from this process, where trading, war and violence have been recurrent. Consequently, this constant building and deconstructing of the city has forced its inhabitants to remain in a continuous state of displacement, which has not allowed them to generate a permanent and stable identity with their territory. The port area is interpreted as a new temporality, constituting an opportunity to generate recreational areas that allow creating and reinforcing the bond that the inhabitants have with the city and with each other. In addition, the new monument-ruin of the former silos, marked by the strong explosion, is present in the collective memory for its permanence; thus this space is seen as an ideal area for cultural, social and leisure activities.

Project description

City Area - Port Area (Parti)
The proposal divides the intervention zone into two main areas. First, an area related to the city where leisure programs will be developed. As this part of the harbor is understood as artisanal, a change in scale is needed. It will now establish a better relationship with the people. The second main area of the proposal is its functional zone where Port activities will continue. This zone manifests itself as an opportunity to improve and apply more sustainable ideas.

Memorial zone
Within the recreational zone, a special importance is given to the area of ​​the ruin as a fundamental axis that marks the geometry in plan and section of the space and its borders.
The green area is a permanent element that integrates both port and city zones acting as a unifier. This area is not alien to its context because, like the geometry described above, its composition follows the monument-ruin’s main axis.

Redefining concepts

Several questions resulted in the following conclusions: the explosion marked the history of Beirut and its citizens, which is present in their collective memory as a moment that left a void due to its strong consequences. Besides, it took irreplaceable lives. Therefore, the ruin of the silos acquires a special meaning. Although it is a constant reminder of this disastrous event, it also represents an element that stood up despite its proximity to the explosion.
With this in mind, the ruin becomes an analogy of Beirut. Even though it has a history of violence and destruction, its resilient character is highlighted. For this reason, the name “Resilience” is assigned to the new monument. This will transform it into a symbol of identity and also a tool that helps to change the narrative gradually. The ruin is understood as an element that has a different temporality than the elements that surround it. It has lost its original function and is perceived through the fragment, while being reconstructed in the collective mind. To preserve the ruin and to make a subtle external intervention is decided as this does not allow it to stagnate in the past, projecting itself into the future.

Technical information

The project contains:
1. Recreational area
-Passenger terminal
-Botanical garden
-Silos Monument-ruin
-Museum
-Cultural Center
-Nautical School
-Amphitheater
-Administrative area
-Financial area
-Ferry terminal
-Aquarium
-Marine Investigation Building
-Souks
-Sports area
-Multipurpose auditorium
-Lineal park
-Amusement park

2.Port area
-Container zone
-Empty container zone
-Free zone
-Fuel reserve
-Customs control
-Food storage
-Material management
-Ship repair shed
-Administration
-Weighing machine

Documentation

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