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Plot # 228

Beirut, Lebanon
Aborted 2007

The Sursock 228 Project is located in one of the most desirable residential areas of the eastern sectors of Beirut. The plot  on which our scheme is implemented was originally divided in two parcels on a total of 2520 Square meters. The Project is developed around a residential program with a total built up area of 16 075 Square meters positioned in three deferent zones within the site.
The two open orientations of our land face different urban conditions. On the southern orientation, the 15 m wide Sursock street is composed of a mix of building types that reveal the continuous growth of the city fabric of the area with constructions ranging from early 20th century low rise to more recent structures of up to 25 floors of height. The northern orientation faces the edge of the Gemmayze district, a lower density neighborhood with a historical character that is currently under the protection of the higher council of urbanism.

A site specific response:
We propose to implement our project on three different zones in reaction to the very specific and critical conditions of the edges of the plot and its immediate surroundings:
1. On the eastern Edge of the site (the Sursock orientation) a 40 meters high blind edge reveals the unfortunate situation that results from the erection of new buildings with blind party walls. Along that edge, we propose to erect a narrow (11 meters) and long (47 meters) building with minimal setback from the neighboring blind structure. Our twenty four levels “tower” is open on all four orientations with continuous terraces running along its peripheral edges.  The proposed narrow building conceals the existing neighboring blind wall within the minimal setback and reveals an open articulated façade to the street and the city skyline. Our proposed tower absorbs 12 000 square meters of the allowable built up area making way for a 17 by 50 meters garden that runs in the north / south direction and connects to the lower zones of the site on the Gemmayze orientation.
2. The second critical edge runs on the east / west direction along the back of the two existing neighboring buildings of our eastern edge of Sursock street. In their current condition, these buildings reveal to the lower portion of our plot and to the Gemmayze district back façades with little articulations and a semi blind face. Along that edge, we propose to erect a narrow (7.5 meters) and wide (35 meters) structure with “balcony” apartments that should conceal the existing semi blind facades within the setback of our neighbors and reveal an open articulated façade with continuous balconies on its northern long edge facing Gemmayze. The proposed building absorbs an additional 3 300 square meters of the allowable built up area.
3. The third critical edge is defined by the lower density and the historical fabric of the Gemmayze district which is clearly demarcated by the street that runs on the northern lower perimeter of our site. Along that edge, we propose to erect two “town houses” that are carved within the cascading terraces that connect to the higher zones of the plot making way for a garden on inhabited terraces and over 30 meters of landscaped setback that connects to the Gemmayze district.

Variations in typologies:
The three built components of our scheme articulate three distinct typologies that respond to their respective orientations and specificities.
The “tower” apartments range from 85 square meters one bedroom apartments to 570 square meters penthouse villa. All apartments feature a continuous terrace on their uninterrupted open facades. The interior plans are developed according to the panoramic nature of the scheme. Tinted glass panels are placed along the edges of the terraces to provide transparent protection from the sun. The slight variations in tint and reflection properties of the panels and the disparity of their placement depict an organic monolith in constant mutation that responds to the ever changing lighting conditions of its environment. A reception tower is placed on the northeastern edge of the building. Accessible on every floor by an internal bridge, the receptions are panoramic rooms with additional façade exposure to the northern sea view.
The narrow and elongated “balcony” apartments are deployed along the continuous terraces of their northern orientation. The proposed structure is elevated on pilotis, it is based on a reference level which is 10 meters higher than the lower street it faces. Its 35 meters wide façade provides full exposure to the preferred sea view. The building also benefits from an additional 30 meters landscaped setback from the edge of the site.
The two proposed “townhouses” offer exceptional conditions with independent access from the Gemmayze neighborhood, open air terraces and landscaped gardens, private pools and additional access through the southern gardens from the Sursock street entrance.

The Base:
The project is erected on a landscaped base which connects with the Sursock street level where the main vehicular drop off and the parking entrance is located. The first three levels of parking are incorporated in the base which meets the level of the lower street. An additional parking level is proposed below the base providing parking to more than 130 cars.