Martina Scalet, Silvia Pasqualini, Henry Valentin Contreras Morocho
University of Trento
Urban Design and Landscape
Blue Beirut is a connection between Beirut's population and the sea, making it enter the city and intertwine with it in everyday life. The idea of running a… more
Public building, Co-living space, Open space, Installation, Green building, and Reuse more
The Blue Beirut project admirably embraces the interaction between buildings and nature, taking into account factors like wind, sunlight, and view connections. It successfully integrates these elements to enhance the overall design and experience of the spaces. However, one suggestion for further improvement could be to focus on optimizing the organization of functions within the buildings. By carefully considering the layout and flow of different activities, the project could create more efficient and functional spaces.
Additionally, introducing a sense of ambiguity in certain areas could enhance the overall experience. Ambiguous spaces have the potential to evoke curiosity and engage visitors on a deeper level. By incorporating elements that encourage exploration and discovery, the project could foster a sense of wonder and intrigue, creating memorable and immersive environments.
Overall, the Blue Beirut project presents a commendable approach to building-nature interaction, but exploring further opportunities to refine functional organization and introduce ambiguous spaces could enhance the project's impact and appeal.
Blue Beirut is a connection between Beirut's population and the sea, making it enter the city and intertwine with it in everyday life. The idea of running a series of canals in the territory is not only superficial for having a new landscape, but it is, first of all, an ecological stratagem.
In fact, the presence of green and blue infrastructure within the city have many benefits: fighting the island of heat, helping the outflow of stagnant water, providing energy to houses and above all, being able to produce everything that citizens need through hydroponic greenhouses and water desalination buildings. That is why the three tanks in the area are very important. It is here that the water is stored, desalinated and then distributed in all the neighboring buildings. Therefore, through this system, the new part of the port of Beirut can be completely indipendent and will not have to burden the city.
The two systems are accompanied by three types of buildings that help to evenly divide the many activities into the area. The block buildings are mostly residential, inserted in a new luxury district. The pilotis buildings, born from the recovery of the semi-destroyed structures present in the territory, have a commercial purpose. And finally, the greenhouse buildings, which host different functions, play between closed spaces and open spaces, which located along the coast, are a place to shelter from the sun along the promenade.
Great importance in the project is given to the silos. In addition to being consolidated with a metal structure that recalls the original shape, it is thought to be a space where citizens can feel free to express their thoughts and emotions through street art.
Blue Beirut is a way of acting in order to create connections through the water and to definitively eliminate this closure of the city towards the port with the blue and green infrastructures.
The project starts from a careful analysis of the territory, which allowed to understand some fundamental aspects of Beirut. The most important are: the complete absence of connections between sea and city and consequently with its citizens; the presence of street art, born as a way to express thoughts; the desire of many local associations to restored the remained, even if destroyed, rather than erecting new buildings and the tendency to return to the architectural style of the past, using materials that recalls traditional buildings.
From these themes tooks shape the main concept: Blue Beirut. It wants citizens to live in close contact with the port by approaching the water, which until now was foreign to the city, and also to everyday life.
The project presents a network of green and blue infrastructures. They would not only have a superficial impact on the landscape, but would also have an ecological force. In the foreground the canals help natural irrigation, the outflow of stagnant water and reduce the heat island effect. In addition to this, all the drinking water for the structures present in the territory comes from the sea water. In fact, thanks to the three tanks designed in the area, the desalination system and the hydroponic greenhouses, the buildings in the area can manage themselves and self-produce everything they need: water, food and energy.
Regarding the structures present on the territory, they are divided into three groups, but in all cases the appearance and the materials recall the ancient building styles.
The first type are the block buildings. They are seven and host the residences of the luxury residential area. They are designed to have the north front with many loggias, so people can have a view towards the sea, but also have a cool terrace that helps to shelter from the summer heat. In order not to completely remove the view of the sea, they have tunnels through which people can pass on foot and in some cases through the waterways with boats.
The second type of buildings comes from the recovery of the concrete buildings that remained intact after the explosion. The concrete structure is maintained, while inside is inserted a game of blocks that form different views over the entire area of the port. The ground floor in this case is for the most part empty with only pilotis, in order not to take away the view of the sea and create new covered squares for citizens.
The smaller structures are the greenhouse buildings. They are characterized by an alternation of closed commercial spaces and open spaces, which are covered by canopies to shelter from the sun. These buildings are located mainly along the coast, left free to approach the sea in a simple and natural way. Near the tanks, some of these buildings contain water desalination systems, creating not only a place of recreation and community, but also a fundamental hub of the project.
The area of the explosion is thought as a memorial park, with a walk that invites people to approach the sea. In particular, the Silos is structurally consolidated through a metal frame that evokes the old shape and the white part is set up as a space dedicated to street art. The idea is to give citizens a place in which they can be free to express their thoughts through an annual competition open to all. The paint used is also particular because it will absorb the pollution in the air, improving the well-being of citizens.
An important space is also given to the floating park, platforms in the sea that give a quiet place to think and relax, hearing only the sound of the waves.
Our project inserts this interweaving of blue and green infrastructures in the port area, but if the citizens had to accept the proposal with enthusiasm, this concept could be easily extended towards the city in a more pronounced way. In this case the benefits would not only affect the port area but the whole Beirut.
Blue Beirut follows the principles of some local associations that aim to reuse the existing, giving it a new life instead of demolishing it. In fact, a part of buildings is made starting from the structures already present on site. Our work was mainly carried out on three different structures: the silos, the remaining concrete structures and the metal ones.
The Silos has been secured through a cylindrical metal mesh that recalls the original structure. The project does not stop here, in fact it dedicates the intact part of the Silos to citizens through a space for street art. The murals are made with Airlite, a paint that contains titanium dioxide, which activates in contact with light and transforms the pollutants into salt molecules and then manages to purify the air from pollution.
Regarding the concrete structures, the semi-destroyed infills are removed, maintaining only the load-bearing elements to which are added blocks that create new spaces.
The metal structures are totally preserved and buffered with glass in order to create the hydroponic greenhouses.
The project is very innovative technologically, in fact it bases its entire program on the desalination of water through particular turbines. The water accumulates inside three tanks. Through the turbines it is desalinated and then brought to every house. In this way the planned buildings are totally autonomous. In fact, water becomes not only drinkable, but it is a source of energy, power and nutrition, through the products of hydroponic greenhouses.