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Beirut, Lebanon
Aborted 2005

Our proposed site is located at the border of the port of Beirut quarters and the re-emerging city center periphery, at the sensitive edges of two very different urban conditions. From the urban confusion generated by the dynamic activities of the port to the urban order of the central district, our project should act as a pivot that reconciles the different faces of the city. Our scheme reveals itself as an abstract mass that echoes the large scale constructions of the nearby port. Our building has no architectural scale, it has the material simplicity of a complex apparatus, and it has the formal abstraction of an urban object.
A circular “carousel” anchors the northeastern face of the scheme to the ground by providing a privileged and celebrated vehicular access to the site through an internal driveway with a passenger drop-off. The circular path of the monumentalized automobile reception extends into the three storey underground car park. The “carousel” is penetrated through the north east (entrance) & south west (exit) on which vehicular crossing is permitted.
A continuous peripheral frame defines the three dimensional edges of the body of the building which appears in levitation above the clear frameless skin of the ground floor.
The northeastern and southwestern façade
Sliding panels of single glazed clear tempered glass on standard aluminum profiles are mounted back to back. The two facades are erected 40 cm apart leaving a large air-gap in which sliding (m.d.f.) wood veneered panels serve as a shading device. The air gap breathes through the vertical columns that connect the two layers of the façade at 2.40m increments. Warm air is evacuated by chimney effect, taking fresh air from the shaded base of the building and evacuating it at the roof level. (see facades diagram) 
From the outside, an intricate and dynamic composition of solids and voids is generated by the shifting positions of the sliding shading panels.
On the northwestern orientation, one single large frame opens up the face of the building trough a grid of small openings in a semi reflective glass curtain wall. A subtle reflection of the city center skyline on the dense mosaic of windows should resonate as a pointillist animated picture of the new Beirut skyline against the port as a backdrop, with its cranes, silos, hangars and the stacks of shipping containers that blend in the Mediterranean horizon.
The southwestern facade of the building is the most critical orientation with regards to sun exposure, it also marks the northeastern edge of the City Center as it faces the commercial port of Beirut with a blind frame revealing no openings, no slabs or any architectural articulation of a domestic scale.