The former port and highway that runs along the entire coast of Beirut divide the city centre and the rest of the city from the sea. The sea is the source of life, and making a better connection to it has the potential to be the source of Beirut’s new life and improve the city’s social, economic, and environmental conditions.
In the vicinity of the port, an informal residential settlement was noticed, which is poorly connected to the rest of the city and does not provide accompanying urban facilities, such as schools, libraries and green areas. The goal of the project is to create a public connection to the sea, accessible to all residents and travellers and connect the city centre with the sea.
The answer to observed problems is, on the one hand, the expansion of the city centre area with recreational facilities that include water sports and the beach. The first step in connecting the city centre with the sea is relocating the port on the east side of the existing port and reshaping it functionally, which allows the west part of the port to become a recreational zone. In this way, the sea is brought closer to the city, and the city structure expands out to the sea. The water sports facilities are located in a new floating structure and accommodate kayak, rowing and diving club as well as an underwater museum. The recreational zone’s functions are separated by the pollution of the water, the port water is the most polluted, water sports are placed far away from the port and partially separated by a breakwater, while the beach is set on an artificial lake, which has filtered water which is safe to swim in.
The city was shaped by steep terrain and relation to the water. This principle is used to shape the new structures on the east as well. Expansion of the city structure to the sea on the east part of the port is done by implementing housing with accompanying facilities that would provide the necessary density for the space to be safe and live 24 hours per day. The new structure is formed in a way that doesn’t encourage separation, blocks are open, and green spaces are public. New routes have been implemented and connect the informal settlement with the planned and the city centre, and the physical separation of the coastal zone has been alleviated by modelling the terrain with a milder slope.
The floating structures consist of a floating body, superstructure, a mooring system and an access bridge. A floating body works in a similar way foundations work in regular building practices, and the superstructure needs to be formed in a way that doesn't encourage tipping of the structure. The breakwater protects the floating structure from strong waves. The elastic mooring system and rotating access bridge allow the structure to follow the high and low tide.