Architect: Bernard Khoury
Firm: Bernard Khoury / DW5
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Project Type: Residential
Status: Under Construction 2010
Copyright / Photographers: Bernard Khoury & Ieva Saudargaite
Plot # 1282 is a residential project located on the northern periphery of Beirut at the proximity of one the city’s abandoned and unused railway terminal, military barracks, leftovers of agricultural land and a 30-meter wide highway. The zone in which our project is located is not presently considered residential.
The Project’s program consists of 95 industrial lofts with surfaces ranging from 100 to 650 square meters on a total built-up area of 25,800 square meters.
The floor slabs are organized around nine exposed cores, each core feeding a maximum of two apartments per floor. The proposed lofts feature high ceilings (5.3 meters) with open space plans and minimal interior partitioning.
The plot surface is of 5,400 square meters. The site perimeter is 430 meters of which less than 12 meters are facing a public access road. This implies that 97% of the site periphery faces parcels on which buildings could be erected at some point in the future. In its present state, the site enjoys unobstructed panoramic views on all orientations through the totality of the perimeter of the plot. As a result of that, all proposed loft spaces enjoy full transparency of their facades with openings that span from floor to ceiling on all exterior elevations.
In an unforeseeable future, as the surrounding plots get built, and with the gradual densification of the immediate environment, the full apertures of our facades will face unpredictable situations that our project’s morphology responds to by its continuous setback on the totality of the perimeter of the site and the gradual recess of the floor plates. This gesture should guarantee generous breathing corridors along all the site’s peripheral limits for our project and the future buildings of the surroundings.
In many sectors along the periphery of Beirut, relatively high exploitation factors are applied on zones that are still undeveloped. In the absence of a master plan, the rapid gentrification of these sectors has led to catastrophic urban conditions. In most cases, the general guidelines of the very complex and archaic municipal building laws is the only leading rule and reference on which developers build their schemes. In such situations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define the integration of a project and its relationship on the long term with the neighboring sites. Our proposal for Plot # 1282 does not only celebrate the present state of its environment, the absence of buildings and the scarceness of the urban fabric on which it sits, it also anticipates the future expansion of its surroundings and its rapport with the unpredictable conditions that will be implied by the development of the sector.