House of Arts and Culture
Beirut’s urbanscape was deeply transformed by the violent period of war between 1975 and 1990. War-torn towers await demolition whilst new developments - hotels and commercial centers - flourish rapidly. Only a few traditional houses survived, amongst the rubble and scaffolding.
The competition for the ‘House of Arts and Culture’ marks an important turn in the history of the city. The first cultural center to be commissioned since the end of political tensions, it demonstrates a wish to invest in the field of the arts and reinvent the city as a contemporary creative capital.
Our proposal draws its inspiration from the iconic form of the ‘house’ as a symbol of universal belonging, which establishes an interesting parallel with the slowly disappearing traditional buildings of the city. Located in an emergent neighborhood, the House is an oasis amongst the more generic buildings, and looks to offer a flexible space for creation. To achieve this a house within house was designed at the heart of the building, an open volume accessible to all, which acts as a central stage. Seen from the different floors this is a public plaza dedicated to art, culture and the visitors.