Urban Design and Landscape

The Rebirth

Lorenzo Bavelloni, Margrét Halla Valdimarsdóttir
Politecnico di Milano, Polytechnic University of Milan, School of Design

Project idea

Beirut master plan combines innovation, respect and technology with the vision of creating a sustainable and equal community that aims to be carbon neutral with zero waste. The master plan focuses on renewable energy and clean technology within a modular grid system solution that is resilient to the global warming crisis. The waterfront and the different parts of the master plan will become symbols of rebirth, advancement, equality, evolution, and energy production for a circular economy. With the ambition of attracting the most talented professionals around Beirut and around the globe.

Project description

The master plan is designed to be highly flexible in terms of development expansion, phases, and climate change responses. Arising from the grid system the project envisioned catalytic landmarks for generating a stronger sense identity and a richer cultural atmosphere. On the 4th of August 2020 the city of Beirut was left shattered after the explosion caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port. The memorial complex is dedicated to the 200 people who lost their lives, the 1000 injured, and to the over 300.000 who lost their homes. The design is centered on dynamic connectivity, sensitivity, and spirituality. The new memorial is emerging out of the ruins, highlighting the vast green area that melts with the museum. The emptiness of the destroyed zone is framed by the ring that symbolizes balance and unity. Moreover, the design includes a mixed use low-rise/density development with central towers connected by a sustainable green network that generates an urban fabric able to provide a sense of place. The grid like complex network will point towards the towers and the memorial. The towers will host company headquarters and startup incubators able to adapt to the post-covid situation. They are connected to the downtown districts and point towards the memorial site with a geometrical and respectful axis. Furthermore, it offers comfortably shaded spaces for walking, biking, and meandering between the functions of the waterfront. Numerous courtyards, terraces, parks, and pools create an inviting place for recreation, reflection, and relaxation.

Technical information

The purpose of the master plan is to regenerate a degraded area maximizing the urban and environmental quality, the social and functional mix and sustainability standards. Green roofs, wooden and eco-cement buildings, photovoltaic systems, social housing, urban garden are all part of a sustainable and ecological system that shape the future community. Beirut waterfront will be the first carbon negative area in Beirut thanks to the renewable energy and sustainable strategies. The tower facades invoke recollection of the water with their marine grade aluminum cladding designed in response to the sun with profiles that generate shading from the harsh sun and improve the energy efficiency of the buildings. The tower developments target four stars highest level in the regional global sustainability assessment system. The buildings framing the towers feature an ultra-high performance concrete, lightweight and low carbon molded concrete panels that guarantee a high thermal mass, enhanced by the windows shading system that gives a strong identity and improves the thermal comfort due to minimizing the solar radiation. The design of the market is reminiscent of the waves of the sea that try to embrace the market architype with a focus on flexibility, connectivity between the functions allowing the public indirect participation in the building program. The project also pushes sustainable strategies to the forefront by managing biofiltration grey water recycling and mechanical filtration system.

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