2009 / JDS Architects

Felix Luong, Francisco Villeda, Wouter Dons, Jouri Kanters,Joao Cardoso, Philipp Ohnesorge, Michaela Weisskirchner, Marco Boella, Sandra Fleischmann, Edna Lueddecke, Lieven Schulz

The Beirut House of Arts and Culture is a simple 40 meter cube, sited upon a hill in downtown Beirut. The design calls for the excavation of the site to permit desired connections, while avoiding unnecessary adjacencies. Both the South and North sides are accessible from the street, with the North side acting as the main entrance to the building. The required program fits within the building’s envelope and is highlighted by three public excavated spaces formed from the residual space between the programmatic elements. We believe that the cultural habits of Beirut are connected to its urban reality and capacity, which has led our concept to literally violate the pristine cubic volume to stage spaces for the unexpected, the misuse and eventually the most Beirut-like form of cultural survival: a party like there’s no tomorrow!
Part of the overall concept of the building is to allow visitors the experience of an the “outdoor” climate throughout the building. The working and performance rooms are all climatised to meet the required service levels, but there is the option, especially in temperate evenings, to appreciate the true outdoor climate when strolling in and out of these controlled zones.

Concept sinopsys

The Beirut house of arts and culture is a simple cube of 40 by 40 by 40 meters placed on a hill site in downtown Beirut. The site is excavated to permit to have the desired connections and avoid unnecessary adjacencies. The sout side is accessible from the road, and so is the north side that acts as main entrance to the building.

The required program is within the building envelope and is excavated in 3 places to provide public spaces. The concept of the facility is to let the visitor go through the building in an ‘outdoor’ climate. The working and performance rooms are all climatised to the required level but there’s the option of, especially in tempered envenings, appreciate the real outdoor climate while strolling in and out of the controlled zones.

walk through the new Beirut house of arts and culture:

The Beirut House of Arts and Culture anticipated arrival has raised expectations from all sides of the Arab and mediterranean world. Rather than articulating our explanation around intricate concepts and historical references we have decided to explain our project in simple words and through architecture and the experience of it: From outside, the building appears as a light concrete monolith, precisely excavated on 3 levels to create 3 specific spaces of public interaction. Firstly the building announces its entrance by opening itself up to the Ahmad el Gabbouri road and towards the city. This large open mouth is the main access and where most people will enter the house of arts & culture.

The sober access square will be slightly planted to provide shading for people gathering outside. The façade will stay rather minimal offering multiple opportunities for media projections at night from the facing square.
When entering the house of arts & culture one is immediately taken into its active world of creation: the entrance hall is simple and frames the arrival and departure of 2 main escalators climbing a central piranesian space revealing the various connections for the upper programs. The direction of the escalator matches perfectly a vista to the sky outside the building towards the south.

Behind the 2 escalators is the access to the cinema on the left and to the administration on the right. The project tries to assemble the public and the staff into one entity where the people linked to the day to day functions of the building, the administration and the curators and creative responsible are all part of the same ‘family’.