The idea is to connect, with the meaning of “join of link” and “establish a relationship or get in communication”
The project intends to generate a stronger link between the city of Beirut and its port. For that reason, the site of the port will be reorganized so that the citizens can take advantage of the area for recreational purposes. Besides, the intervention pays special attention to the nearby neighborhoods, including the Central District, Karantina and the Downtown.
Moreover, this connection is taken into account in a symbolic way through the memory of the people. This is why, the place where one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions happened is preserved as a memorial point and plays an important role in the project. Finally, the communication is also set by bringing back the port´s competitive aptness, which allows Beirut to participate in the world trading markets.
The main objective is to improve the connection and communication between the port and the city. The strategies to achieve this include a system of parks and promenades that offer public and recreational spaces. A pedestrian bridge links the project area with the urban zone. In addition, a pedestrian street connects this bridge with the Downtown´s central square and, from there, it continues north back to the port, and south towards the Horsh Beirut park. A bikeway follows these paths.
Likewise, circulation systems for public transport are proposed. These include defined routes of buses and trams that leave from the “Charles Helou” main station. The trams are arranged according to 3 lines that run through the city. One of these, has the specific purpose to connect the port with the nearby neighborhoods of Karantina and the Central District. A restructuring of the aforementioned neighborhoods allows the freeing up of space for recreational, commercial and residential areas, as well as tourist activities, school services, offices and hospitals.
Furthermore, the point zero of the explosion and its surroundings have a great symbolic value. That is why, through a memorial, the project seeks to commemorate the event that affected the community in 2020. The remains of the Silos Building, which was the last surviving piece of architecture, and the crater, that was left by the explosion, are preserved as landmarks. These elements invite the public to honor the lost souls and remember their beloved ones. By its side, a public building called “Memory Museum” rises with the purpose to make people look at the future with optimism. This museum represents new opportunities and the possibilities to grow. Its external ramp, that ascends to the terrace, offers a unique view.
Finally, as a result of the reconstruction and reorganization of the logistic sector, the port regains its competitiveness in order to further engage in the world trading markets. This is feasible with the relocation and reorganization of the seven main areas, which include the container terminal, empty container zone, conventional cargo zone, the new silo building, free zone, passenger terminal and the port administration. Moreover, a new area is reserved for a train, which transports the cargo to a station situated in the city.
The port is conceived as economically efficient and sustainable thanks to the implementation of a model of production and consumption called “Circular economy”. Besides, this is possible because of the utilization of management systems based on digital technologies and clean alternative energy sources.
A bridge of 1475 meters long and 10 meters wide that begins in the city, crosses the port passing over the crater of the explosion, and ends at a viewpoint. Because It serves the pedestrian crossing, it has urban equipment and it is provided with a bicycle path. The accesses to this bridge are at both edges and also in the memorial sector. Likewise, the section that is above the water rotates on its axis, allowing the passage of cruise ships and other vessels available for passengers.
The “Charles Helou” building is also part of the intervention. It is remodeled, so that the ground floor functions as a bus and tram station, and its upper 2 floors as a car park. Above it crosses a highway. This remodeling allows it to change its appearance so that the building does not generate an obstacle with respect to the connection with the city.