Our final objective is to rebuild, in a smart fashion, the relationship between the city and the sea, by exploiting all the potential of the area and by guaranteeing high quality both in the spaces and in the life of people living such spaces.
The project is developed starting from a 10 m x 10 m module grid used as a space generator tool. In particular, this grid is directly denounced by the geometry of the flooring that looks like a mesh of pixels, regular in its forms but not monotonous, which extends by connecting through color the main poles attractors within the intervention: from the passenger terminal proceeding towards the memorial, the pre-existing buildings redeveloped, the residential area and offices until reaching the peak of the breakwater . A unifying principle of all the founding elements of the project, the flooring also reaches the city through some pixels that penetrate the urban fabric.
On the 4th of August 2020 at 18.08, the Beirut port has been the setting of the most violent non-nuclear explosion ever occurred, killing 207 people, leaving hurt around 6500 and homeless around 300000 ones. 2 years later, a contest has been called to requalify the area, which remained almost unaltered from the day of the explosion.
Starting from the careful analysis of the contest, we developed the program of an intervention able to meet the city’s need to restore its connection to the sea, before hindered by the presence of the vast port. Such project would transform the devastating tragedy in an occasion to improve the city and the life of its inhabitants.
To conceive the project, we decided to follow to approach of the “Smart Harbour”. For the development, we introduced a grid functioning as a regulatory tool of the architectural space. The grid has been employed in the pavement, which appears like a net of colourful pixels and unifies both the different elements included in the intervention, and the already established city. The grid has then been applied to all the interventions in the area, particularly:
- To create green oasis which offer shadow from the sun and the chance to benefit from several services.
- In some zones in which the grid reaches the sea, the coastline has been modified in order to create spaces characterised by a unique relationship with the sea.
- When the grid touches pre-existing buildings, it redefines their façade and creates new spaces inside the structure.
- To conclude, the grid has been pivotal to devise and create the memorial placed on the silos, which constitutes a symbol of the tragedy occurred as it’s the only surviving building within hundreds of meters.
Moreover, it is of crucial importance for our project to introduce electrical systems to allow the city to collect green energy, produced by the natural forces of the sun, the wind, and the sea.
The intervention to requalify the Beirut port answers to some of the main problems arose and analysed in the first context table. In particular:
REORGANISATION OF THE AREA
• The port has been considerably reduced in the size, while the remaining space has been reserved for public use. The new terminal is placed at the Est of the silos, in order to constitute the limit to the port area. By moving the terminal from its original location, the space that gets freed up is utilised as a residential and business area, bringing benefits both to the landscape and to the economy.
• The surviving buildings on the South of the area, requalified and enlarged to allow the commercialisation of luxury goods, are directly connected with a wide public area with squares and green spaces which surrounds the silos.
• The breakwater becomes a long promenade for pedestrians and bikers and presents several commercial buildings.
NEW ENERGY SYSTEMS
In the context of the project, key elements are the new electronic devices installed to produce a total of 143 MWh of energy for the city:
• 17590m2 of photovoltaic panels, producing 3,4 MWh of energy;
• 4 windmills, occupying a 400m2 surface for a total of 135 MWh of energy;
• 1600m2 are dedicated to Resonant Wave Energy Converters for the production of 4,4 MWh of energy through wave motion;
• 4500m2 of piezoelectric asphalt which leverages on the pressure generated from walking pedestrians to generate 2,1 kWh of energy.
The lacking connection between the city and the old harbour will be restored along 2 main directions:
• On the left of the intervention area, some passages, mainly reserved to pedestrians, ensure a connection between the area and the ancient city;
• On the right, a connection (mainly reserved to vehicles) with the main roads guarantees an easy access to the passenger terminal and to the whole requalified area next to it.
The project is developed starting from a 10m x 10m module grid used as a space generator tool. In particular, this grid is directly denounced by the geometry of the flooring that looks like a mesh of pixels, regular in its forms but not monotonous, which extends by connecting through color the main poles attractors within the intervention. A unifying principle of all the founding elements of the project, the flooring also reaches the city through some pixels that penetrate the urban fabric.
The basic grid is then applied in 4 of the main interventions envisaged:
• Several green oases are scattered in the area, offering shelter from the sun thanks to the presence of various shelters (some have part of the photovoltaic panels on the roof) and at the same time the possibility of using some services thanks to the presence of buildings used for commercial and recreational activities.
• In some places where the grid meets the sea, changing the conformation of the coast has allowed the creation of terraces that extend over the water, quality spaces characterized by a close relationship with the sea.
• When the grid meets the pre-existing buildings, it appropriates them and the flooring (direct expression of the grid) becomes a façade. The buildings are dressed in a new skin and increase their volume. Depending on the orientation of the facades, the extension can take on two different configurations:
o A façade that allows the dialogue between the internal and external environment, with different glass walls (solution applied in the facades positioned to the north, not directly hit by the sun and overlooking the new configuration of the area)
o A façade that shields and protects through brise-soleils (used for south-facing facades, directly exposed to solar radiation and that relate to a poor quality exterior)
• Finally, the grid is applied to the remaining structure of the silos building, thus creating an installation in memory of the victims and wounded of the explosion that occurred. In particular, the original size of the silo was studied, obtaining the size of a single container of wheat (8.67m). The latter was used as the basic unit of the corten steel structural mesh that supports 207 (number of victims) colored panels and 6500 (number of injured) photovoltaic panels whose dimensionsarise from the subdivision of the basic module.