Architect: Bernard Khoury
Firm: Bernard Khoury / DW5
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Project Type: Entertainment
Status: Built 1998
Copyright / Photographers: Jon Shard, Anne Francoise Pellissier, Ieva Saudargaite & Bernard Khoury
B018 is a music club, a place of nocturnal survival.
early months of 1998, the B018 moved to the
Quarantaine, on a site
that was better known for its macabre aura. The
located at the proximity of the port of Beirut. During the French protectorate,
it was a place of quarantine for arriving crews. In the recent war it became
the abode of Palestinian, Kurdish and South Lebanese refugees (20,000 in 1975).
In January 1976, local militia men launched a radical attack that completely
wiped out the area. The slums were demolished along with the kilometer long
bordering wall that isolated the zone from the city. Over twenty years later,
the scars of war are still perceptible through the disparity between the scarce
urban fabric of the area and the densely populated neighborhoods located across
the highway that borders the zone.
The B018 project is, first of all, a reaction to difficult and explosive conditions that are inherent to the history of its location and the contradictions that are implied by the implementation of an entertainment program on such a site.
B018 refuses to participate to the naïve amnesia that governs the post-war reconstruction efforts.
project is built below ground. Its façade is pressed into the ground to avoid
the over exposure of a mass that could act as a rhetorical monument. The
building is embedded in a circular concrete disc slightly above tarmac level.
At rest, it is almost invisible. It comes to life in the late hours of the
night when its articulated roof structure constructed in heavy metal retracts
hydraulically. The opening of the roof exposes the club to the world above and
reveals the cityscape as an urban backdrop to the patrons below. Its closing
translates a voluntary disappearance, a gesture of recess. The building is
encircled by concrete and tarmac rings.
The automobiles' circular travel around the club and the concentric
parking spots frame the building in a carousel formation. At night, the
continuous motion of the visitors' cars animates the parking and becomes an
integral element of the club's scenario. The entrance is located at the south
end of the low-lying metal construction where a stair leads to two concessive
airlock spaces manned by scowling bouncers. Strewn across the
concrete pavement floor of the underground hall, the sofas with collapsible
backs serve as elevated dancing surfaces that stage the performers.