liban

4

The Collège Protestant Français de Jeunes Filles in Beirut by Michel Écochard in 1961. The architect introduced many philosophies of Le Corbusier and modernism to the Middle East through this and other similar public projects. The design plays with light and shadows as well as the purity of white and simple lines. It allows for an optimistic space of learning and creativity unseen in French schools before this era.

Beirut, 1958

"For variety, few cities can match Lebanon’s bustling capital. Part Christian, part Moslem, Beirut combines East and West, ancient and modern. Contrasts stand out vividly in street scenes such as this on the Rue Georges Picot. … A sign over the blouse shop shows the cedar, Lebanon’s national symbol. The market-bound shepherd in Near Eastern headdress and Western jacket icily ignores the latest European fashions."

- As seen on National Geographic

7

B018 in Beirut by Bernard Khoury in 1998. B018 is a music club on the site of the ‘Quarantaine’, a refugee quarter wiped out in an attack in January 1976. The project is built below ground -embedded in a concrete drum - to avoid the exposure of a mass that could be seen as a rhetorical monument. At rest, it is almost invisible. It comes to life in the late hours of the night when its articulated roof constructed in heavy metal retracts hydraulically, exposing the club to the world above.

Back in the 1980s while Lebanon was still amidst war, Naji Gebran believed in music as therapy to ease the stress of the war. He started organizing parties, under the name Musical Therapy, at his chalet. According to Bethan Ryder in his book, Bar and Club, parties were later code-named B 018 due to the chalet’s location 18 kilometers north of Beirut. Others have attributed the name, B 018, to the security, access-code number of the chalet. Another urban legend claimed that the number or the address of the chalet was B 018. In any case, the parties became so popular and overcrowded that in 1993, Naji moved them to a warehouse in an industrial area of Sin El Fil. The club was then officially Christened B 018.

In 1998, Bernard Khoury was hired to build a new home for B 018 at the Quarantaine, the neighborhood that witnessed some of the most horrific atrocities during the war. The plot of land where the club was built was believed to be the site of the former Palestinian camp. In his design, Khoury wanted to arouse bottled-up remembrances of the war and that was expressed in the club itself, which was sunk in the ground like a communal grave, and seats inside were shaped like coffins. The design of B 018 has been labeled as “war architecture”.The design included a circular iron plate that could be moved to cover the entire hypogeal night club at closing time so that from a bird’s-eye view, the club resembled a helicopter landing pad. During operation hours, the same covering plates could be lifted up, transforming the club into an open-air discotheque where revelers on the underground dance floor found themselves suddenly dancing under the starry sky of Beirut and their gyrating movements where reflected on the mirrored surfaces of the plates.

The club is one of Beirut’s most popular discothèques. It is often frequented by international celebrities such as Naomi Campbell. 

7

L’Hôpital du Sacré Cœur in Baabda, Lebanon by Michel Écochard in 1962. The structures are built using concrete however the landscaping focuses on the stones used in traditional Lebanese masonry. It is composed of a five-storey building, which forms the main façade, and a four-storey administration office block and dispensary. Perpendicular to this is the housing which includes a small chapel. An emphasis on light shielding structures indigenous to the Middle East is seen in the use of verandas and the brise-soleil. The architect introduces the ideas of light, geometric repetition, and strong lines that form the core of the Lebanese modernists movement.