“When I moved into my apartment in Beirut, I had only a rough idea of how it would turn out because the project was executed while I lived abroad and visited occasionally only. Until this day, the complex and yet perfect layout of the stone floor is like a visual puzzle that intrigues me and satisfies some deep need in me for order, symmetry and poetry all at once. How can one solution to stone size align 10 columns, several voids and steps and then flow through 6 or seven different rooms, all without a false note? To this day I do not know how, but it can be done. Of course what really allows the appreciation of that kind of visual detail, is that the same approach applies to the things that are unseen. The beauty is not skin deep. So the fireplace has a proper draft, and the water pressure and heating are how they should be. All the technical systems work so well and unobtrusively, that the surface can be appreciated with no sense of frustration. How long would a beautiful car be desirable if it did not start?” I.K.
Rue du Liban is an area in municipal Beirut greatly influenced by the French mandate period. It is characterized by narrow streets and an abundance of bay window, five-floor apartment buildings of the late 1920’s and 1930’s. Along Mar Maroun street, there is a sequence of Neo-Traditional two-floor buildings.
The site of Saifi 606 is a corner lot at the intersection of Rue du Liban and Mar Maroun. The urban guidelines for the development of the site are governed by the following issues: a high percentage of surface exploitation; no street setbacks; high total exploitation; and insensitive envelopes (30 m high on a 7.5 m wide road). This scheme is sensitive to the pedestrian scale of the urban fabric.On Maroun Street, the bedrooms of the typical floors are grouped to form a block similar in proportion to the Neo-traditional buildings, but raised 5 m above street level. This block is also set back from the neighboring site as well as Rue du Liban – allowing for further demarcation of its shape, while devising corner windows to create views up Rue du Liban and along Mar Maroun. On Rue du Liban the ground floor apartment is expressed as a 2-floor high massive block of stone.
The upper floors facing the street are framed by balconies and flower-beds, thus lightening the impact of the building as well as opening onto the urban corners and streets. The bulk of the required area exploitation is taken back to the corner of the site where the full envelope height is reached.
The building is completely residential.
It is composed of a ground floor duplex with a private back garden; a second floor apartment with a terrace; four basic apartments; a seventh floor duplex apartment with a pool and a terrace; and a ninth floor duplex. In each apartment, site assets are maximized. The typical apartment, for example, opens out towards the urban setting, as well as towards the Santa Church Garden. The plan, with its central core, encompasses a flexibility of tailoring required for the size of apartments.
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