Urban Design and Landscape

Beirut, A Multi-Layered Port City

Myriam Bou Khalil, Clara Fahed , Ghinwa Mansour, Ghinwa Bou Fadel, Sarah Atoui And Melissa Saikaly
Lebanese University, Institute des Beaux Arts – Department of Architecture

Project idea

Our starting point was the history of Beirut: the port which was once an extension of the city has nowadays become an isolated space, not accessible, totally separated from it. The explosion, which affected and ravaged even the suburbs of Beirut, reminded us that the port is an integral part of this city. Therefore, our goal is to give back the port to the people. It presents itself as a center, the city being its ramifications. This center is a pump capable of giving life to the city that surrounds it by opening up to Beirut.

Project description

Our program creates a multi-level urban organization that emphasizes the symbiotic interaction between water, landscape, building and city. The platform levels depend on the different typologies of the interface between the city and the port. The functions that occupy the different areas of the port open towards the sea forming a stepped effect, linking the level of the port to that of the sea. This stratification has been translated in our project through the architecture and the greenery.

Technical information

Our design focuses on the unique attributes of the Port of Beirut: its waterfront, topography and surrounding context. The ground and the forms of construction are worked in coherence with the existing urban fabric. The public and industrial areas of the port are connected physically and visually through the multi-levels created. The various functions of the port dedicated to the public are crossed by a perforated green belt which forms the roof of several public functions. This continuity of greenery is followed throughout the port: the public and semi-public areas are connected to the industrial port functions through this green belt. Our sustainable approach aims to meet the current and future needs of the Lebanese people. The containers in the port's industrial zone are equipped with solar panels which supply power to all the neighborhoods that surround the port, creating energy sufficient neighborhoods.
The pedestrian network, the passenger train with its station at the ground level of the new commercial center, and the freight train in the industrial zone of the port, form a continuous interconnecting network between the west end of the port and the Beirut river on the east end.
The silos are now a symbolic structure, a trace of the August 4th disaster. It is therefore important to transform this area into a memorial site that allows the collective memory of the Lebanese people to live on. This location of the old silos will have a double function at different levels, a symbolic function and an industrial one. The new silos are clinging to this demolished structure in order to bring the needs of the Lebanese people in wheat but also to reinforce the remaining non stable silos structure.


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