Urban Design and Landscape

Veins for Beirut

Malene Buchenberger, Fabian Haslehner, Paul Fromherz
Technical University of Vienna
Austria

Project idea

PROJECT IDEA
The project “Veins for Beirut” is all about connecting people and creating room for new productive spaces by bringing human-centered functions into the port and letting them co-exist with industry and warehouses at the stunning Mediterranean waterfront. The city interweaves with the port on so called City Veins, highlighting new public space while still protecting the room for the port to operate undisturbed.

APPROACH
The project’s approach was to work with what is already there - by rearranging room and overlapping functions exciting new spaces are created and what is there is preserved. This way the port gains a variety of special functions.

Project description

STREET LOGISTICS
Cars are a crucial part of the people’s everyday lives in Beirut. The lack of public transportation and train lines makes heavy frequented streets near the port a necessity for logistics. Right now, the Charles Helou highway cuts through beautiful parts of Beirut’s old town. It is a border between the city and the sea front. The entire port area is only accessible for logistic transportation vehicles. Therefore, combining logistic traffic and individual traffic in one City Street through the port only makes sense. The City Street will be the main road through the port and is open for all kinds of transportation. Connecting with the main road are logistic loops: The loops are divided in inbound and outbound logistics and are connected to designated warehouses. The logistic loops are designed to keep heavy traffic away from the city street.

CHARLES HELOU MARKET
Bringing individual traffic into the port area means opening the former closed-off port to the public. It also gives the opportunity to get the traffic out of denser parts of the city, transforming Charles Helou into a connecting, green area between Karantina, the waterfront and Beirut’s old town with stunning views to the sea. The bus station underneath the highway is transformed into a market, that now interacts with the coastline park in the port. By cutting out space for connecting stairs and atriums the parking deck structure will be transformed into a beautiful new open city space, that leaves room for diverse usage.

CREATING GREEN AND REMEMBERING
Opening the port for the public bears the chance to finally create much needed green space inside the city. A green buffer highlighting the old coastline and a park surrounding the explosion site create much needed cooling space and waterfront access. The silos will be framed by wheat fields and the damaged structure is left to nature. This gives room to remember without intervening. The logistic street will pass under the big park area with a tunnel, so neither people nor traffic are disturbed.

CITY VEINS
The port’s heavy industry structures and gigantic warehouses are by design not especially human-centered. Therefore, the intention of the project is to face green and public spaces with the shortest façade of the warehouses. This aims towards a human scale in a former mainly functional space. Designated areas of opportunities are created between the long sides of the warehouses. Those areas stretch all the way from newly tree covered streets inside the existing city straight to the waterfront and are called City Veins. The Veins connect the port with Beirut’s city structure.
City Veins enable a pleasant space for walking, sitting outside and slow traffic between the massive port structures. Their space can be used in many ways. Businesses can connect with the warehouses and industry alongside the City Veins, directly producing as well as importing and exporting goods. This is creating an economy where small-scale businesses can profit from the port and the other way around. Along the City Veins it is possible to add structures directly to the façade of the warehouses or create exciting spaces in between. The only thing that is not allowed, is blocking the direct view to the waterfront, which all the City Veins have in common.

CONCLUSION
With those simple, yet careful interventions the project gives the people of Beirut what such a vibrant city needs: Room to breathe, room to connect and room for a port that makes the city more exciting rather than just being a noisy burden.

Technical information

STREET LOGISTICS
Cars are a crucial part of the people’s everyday lives in Beirut. The lack of public transportation and train lines makes heavy frequented streets near the port a necessity for logistics. Right now, the Charles Helou highway cuts through beautiful parts of Beirut’s old town. It is a border between the city and the sea front. The entire port area is only accessible for logistic transportation vehicles. Therefore, combining logistic traffic and individual traffic in one City Street through the port only makes sense. The City Street will be the main road through the port and is open for all kinds of transportation. Connecting with the main road are logistic loops: The loops are divided in inbound and outbound logistics and are connected to designated warehouses. The logistic loops are designed to keep heavy traffic away from the city street.

CHARLES HELOU MARKET
Bringing individual traffic into the port area means opening the former closed-off port to the public. It also gives the opportunity to get the traffic out of denser parts of the city, transforming Charles Helou into a connecting, green area between Karantina, the waterfront and Beirut’s old town with stunning views to the sea. The bus station underneath the highway is transformed into a market, that now interacts with the coastline park in the port. By cutting out space for connecting stairs and atriums the parking deck structure will be transformed into a beautiful new open city space, that leaves room for diverse usage.

CREATING GREEN AND REMEMBERING
Opening the port for the public bears the chance to finally create much needed green space inside the city. A green buffer highlighting the old coastline and a park surrounding the explosion site create much needed cooling space and waterfront access. The silos will be framed by wheat fields and the damaged structure is left to nature. This gives room to remember without intervening. The logistic street will pass under the big park area with a tunnel, so neither people nor traffic are disturbed.

CITY VEINS
The port’s heavy industry structures and gigantic warehouses are by design not especially human-centered. Therefore, the intention of the project is to face green and public spaces with the shortest façade of the warehouses. This aims towards a human scale in a former mainly functional space. Designated areas of opportunities are created between the long sides of the warehouses. Those areas stretch all the way from newly tree covered streets inside the existing city straight to the waterfront and are called City Veins. The Veins connect the port with Beirut’s city structure.
City Veins enable a pleasant space for walking, sitting outside and slow traffic between the massive port structures. Their space can be used in many ways. Businesses can connect with the warehouses and industry alongside the City Veins, directly producing as well as importing and exporting goods. This is creating an economy where small-scale businesses can profit from the port and the other way around. Along the City Veins it is possible to add structures directly to the façade of the warehouses or create exciting spaces in between. The only thing that is not allowed, is blocking the direct view to the waterfront, which all the City Veins have in common.

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