Stone Garden - 17th Biennale Architettura
Stone Garden. Resilient Living
An Archaeology of the Future
Putting on display the recently completed Stone Garden tower in Beirut, this installation portrays the capacity of architecture to act as a healing tool and be an active player in building resilience at times of crisis. Located near the city’s industrial port, a mile away from the epicenter of the explosion that ripped through half of the Lebanese capital in August 2020, the project takes its roots from its context: a war-torn cityscape lingering in constant mishap. The installation counts a scaled model of the building containing photographs and videos and narrating the story of Beirut and that of the crafting of the project.
The architecture of the building showcases alternative ways of living while dealing with questions of space restriction, the vernacular, memory, nature, living, and urban density. Echoing Beirut’s ruins invaded by nature, the tower manifests a persistent and optimistic emergence of life with large openings housing lush gardens, inviting nature at the heart of the dwellings and the city.
Explaining the semantics of Stone Garden’s architecture, the many “windows of life” of the model open onto a rich curation of photography and video works unveiling the building process and the story of the land in which it emerges. Interiors uncover diverse dwelling scenes where ghost-like, singular figurines are shown wandering in an awaiting mode. These are set amidst a series of prominent Lebanese artists’ photography portraying both lush green landscapes and war-torn built scapes. TV-like screens reveal in intimacy the crafting of the building’s skin as artisan prepares — as a bake — the plaster mix and smoothly comb the envelope as if plowing a fertile ground.
Exhibited: Physical model (1:30) of the building containing photographic prints and LED screens with video montage, material samples (clay, cement, pigments, metal), video montage of the building in its context.
Miniature artworks within model — photos by Ali Cherri, Nadim Asfar, Gregory Buchakjian, Gilbert Hage / films by Ieva Saudargaite and Ghassan Salhab.
Background screen — photos by Iwan Baan / drone film by Wissam Charaf and Chloe Domat.
Photos © Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture