MARFA' 47 (Beirut, Lebanon)
The proposal aims to reinstate the building into its urban context as part of the new scheme set by Solidere (Société Libanaise de Développement et de Reconstruction du centre-ville de Beyrouth) to rebuild the souks and the central district of Beirut. The first duty is to the existing fabric in which the proposal is inscribed. The interior of the building is not only structurally unsound, but more importantly, falls short of the requirements for contemporary office and commercial space.
A new self-supporting steel and reinforced concrete structure is inserted within the preserved envelope. It is within this structure that the new floors are supported, allowing these to be efficient and free open spaces. The fourth and fifth floors open up to the city through a four-meter-high glazing set within the limits of the existing façade. They reveal the new inhabitation of the building. The central core of the building will continue to house the mechanical rooms, lifts and stairwell, which is reinstated within the limits of the east façade.
The attitude adopted towards the existing façades is not independent of the building they enclose.
A contemporary restoration method is initiated, contributions of all the previous transformations are carefully considered while restored elements are clearly manufactured and expressed as such.
The synthesis between the old and the new does not stand for the expected contrast between classical and contemporary. It actually reveals only on the building skin and its architecture as a changing and unfolding urbanity.