COUNTRY: USA


This project assumes that fundamental to the life of the city  is the 
existence of the urban "public realm", those streets, squares and parks
and civic buildings, within which the public life of the city is 
accomodated supported and celebrated. Thus the public realm, consists of
souk, street and square, which are the fundamental elements of the scheme.
Beirut today, as an urban artifact is the result of numerous building 
campaigns occurring over millenia. The production of this urban con-
text must be respected. The intention of this scheme is to create a 
dialogue between contemporary Beirut and its past, through the re-use
of literal urban and architectural fragments from its recent past, 
conceptual traces fom its antique past, and the new proposed formations.
The scheme is not intended to be read as a complete or absolute plan but 
as an illustrative work of urbanistic technique and principles.
Thus, the scheme is a masterplan and guideline, in which one finds 
latitude for a variety of expression and architectural development. In
this sense, the scheme attempts to supply generic "urban strategies" to 
promote and stimulate the public life of the city.
The concept of typology plays a critical role in the scheme. Enduring 
"types" drawn from both Western and Eastern architectural culture
are employed based upon formal and functional characteristics, which 
allows the scheme to transcend stylistic and cultural boundaries. Pi-
azza, Market,Arcade, Forum, Loggia Cortile and Tower are but a few of the 
typologically determined elements employed.
The site's history is also engaged as a major determinant of form. Thus, 
the street & block pattern is informed by the new Solidere guide-
lines, the existing contextual conditions the Roman morphology of pre- 
1973 Beirut, and by the memory of the Roman castrum which oc-
cupied and organized this ancient part of Beirut. These tactics of "urban 
collage" are invoked in order to structure a distinct new souk
quarter for Beirut, but always with the idea of conceptually and 
perceptually reconnecting the site to the whole of Beirut Accordingly, the
new souk AI Tawileh literally recalls its name-sake's form and character 
This newly aligned SouK (put back on the original Roman N-S or-
ientation) can also be seen as recalling and marking the location of the 
Cardo Maximus of Beirut's Castrum.

The major East-West axis which incorporates the Allenby-Fakhri Square, the 
Solidere Square, and the Market Square recalls both the mor-
phology and the idea of "Roman Fora" and relies upon Islamic public spaces 
precedents such as those from Isfahan. Certain allusions to
French Urban planning (Palais Royal, Rue de Rivoli) are not unintentional.

Public  Spaces:                                                                                            

Souk AI Tawileh the major North-south street, wide, grand with extending 
vistas. is anchored at the North by a major civic grouping con-
sisting of piazza, exhibition pavilion and tower, while the new Beirut 
library anchors it's southern terminus. Souk AI Arwam, with its steel
and canvas shading canopies recalls the architectural character and the 
qualities of light and shade of Beirut's older Souks. Parisian pas-
sages of the 18th c. are also recalled, yet in a contemporary manner Souk 
al jamil is informed by the more intimate character and closed
vistas of the smaller souks originally found on the site. The Market 
Square, a major piazza with a grid of tall palms, facilitates an open air
market with a wrapper of permanent market stalls located in the perimeter 
buildings. The space also makes a critical link to the residential
neighborhood to the west. Solidere Square will become an important 
gathering place for all of Beirut. Encircled with restaurants, outdoor
cafes, and the cinema/theater complex, this square with its fountains and 
greens, will be active throughout the day and night. Upper Ma-
jidiya Mosque Square is the primary open pace for the north zone, unifying 
the historic mosque with the new exhibition pavilion and mu-
seum, and its important cultural center. Lower Fakhri Square, behind the 
Mosque, makes a critical link to the new northern zone of Beirut.
It also becomes an important entry threshold to the Souk site. Fakhri Bey 
Square with its grand stair rising up to Solidere Square and its
outdoor children's puppet theater is a small square which serves as an 
important entry threshold from Allenby street to the site.  The Li-
brary Square, located at the southern end of Souk AI Tawileh and facing 
Riad AI Solh Street will serve the library while making a formal
ending to the principal financial street of Beirut.