Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Zeytouneh Square in Beirut, Lebanon by Gustafson Porter
September 3rd, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Gustafson Porter
Situated at the southern end of Shoreline Walk, Zeytouneh Square is one of a series of connected public spaces created as part of Beirut’s re-emergence from the 1975‒1990 Civil War. Research into each space revealed remnants of the character of the pre-war city that had been forgotten or destroyed. These remnants provided the inspiration for the four diverse spaces, each of which reveals elements of memory from the past.
Zeytouneh Square is a key link to the surrounding city, and will become a celebration of modern Beirut. Designed to accommodate cultural events, the square uses the land’s natural existing topography to create an informal amphitheatre. Terraces make utilise the existing slope to provide open space for cultural activities, such as concerts, festivals, films and exhibitions.
The terraces culminate in a viewing platform at the top of the main path. The top pool appears bottomless reflecting the view. This vantage point offers the opportunity to watch the activities of the square, the tumbling water rill, the seating steps and the performance terraces. Beyond this, a panoramic view of the Shoreline gardens and the evolving city skyline illustrates the splendour and bustle of the redeveloped city, whilst the bold stripes and acute angles of the square represent a dynamic future.
Throughout the square, bespoke designed benches are placed under the branching shade of the Albizia trees, and water channels and fountains offer the cooling sound of running water.
The surfacing of the square is extended across the surrounding roads, by using bold paving colours the surfacing reads as one. The paving marks changes in the contours of the landscape, referencing the black and white patterns of traditional Lebanese architecture.
The geometric patterning changes with the height of the ground plane creating a fractal landscape as the contrasting colours interact with the terraces and can be appreciated from the ground or from the tall buildings framing the square.
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Category: public spaces