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Beirut History Museum

Part 1 Project 2014
Omar Makkouk
Beirut Arab University - Debbieh campus | Lebanon
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without routes”.

As it gently slopes towards the sea, Beirut city center offers a great history to be conveyed about a culture that survived and strived for a better future. Planning and architecture enhance this Mediterranean character by preserving the past in modern concepts. Aiming to embrace the urban fabric, a proposed project links achieved progress of such fabric in the existing location, to present an alternative dialogue between an archeological site and the city that surrounds it.

The site located in downtown Beirut; north of Martyrs’ Square on the archeological tell. A site totally abandoned with its archeological constitutes and remains of the past, are disconnected from the city and its dwellers. Located on an important axis of mixed-use district extending along symbolic civil space, such as Garden of forgiveness, Mohammad Al Amin Mosque, St George Maronite Cathedral, PM Rafic Hariri gravesite and Martyrs’ Square Statue, formed by Bechara El Khoury and Damascus streets, to reach the Beirut Port first basin.

To revive Martyrs’ Square, an international design competition was proposed, Antonis Noukakis and Partners Architects (Greece) were the competition winners. Their scheme defined four sections, each being responsive and attuned to the characteristics of the corresponding context. It also offered a symbolic organization of the space along the axis with an intelligent and varied array of commercial, retail, residential and civic structures consolidating urban field around the square and axis.

The proposed museum aims to connect the archeological site with existing traditional buildings and “complete” the proposed winning proposal of Martyrs’ Square. To establish this connection, the concept of the building emerges from the lifted corners, public space, court, façade, materiality and construction to address the historic site and embrace the surrounding context, preserving the Martyrs’ axis (open to the sea) and the axis between the two lots to prevent the distortion of visual continuity.

Omar Makkouk

Hesham El-Arnaouty
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