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.
Banque Libano Francaise’s New Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon by Snøhetta
August 17th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Snøhetta
Snøhetta has won the competition to design the new Banque Libano Francaise (BLF) headquarters. Located in Beirut, the project marks Snøhetta’s first ever commission in Lebanon.
“We are delighted to enter into this creative partnership with the BLF. In a time of profound change and transformation, the BLF is an ideal partner for Snøhetta with our shared ideals of sustainability, community, and dialogue.”, says Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil T. Thorsen.
The design for the new general headquarters points towards a new future both for the bank and for the city and community of which it is a part. The BLF headquarters should be recognizable with all its public qualities independently of evolving corporate strategies or changing demands on the interior spaces. To achieve this, the architectural concept is both generic and conceptual at the same time. It embodies a new future for the bank, as well referencing the rich history and value set that has evolved over generations.
A New Workspace
More than just achieving the required number of work spaces, the goal is to create a community. The working environment is focused around the specific exterior spaces that are carved from the built volume. These terraces become the social hubs around which the working environment is organized, forming the primary organization for all workspaces.
A New Public Space
Our design clearly articulates a public and private domain. The public domain forms the foundation of the new headquarters building, containing the essential public functions and facilities. This public base is connected to the street and surrounding urban context. Maintaining a high degree of permeability at street level is an essential element for the project, ensuring connectivity across the site and with the wider neighbourhood.
A New Sustainable Figurehead
Achieving a development that is sustainable is paramount in responding to future user requirements. The parameters for sustainability will evolve with the user requirements and project speciﬁc criteria. The overriding factors will be ensuring: Economic Sustainability – the project must be fundamentally economically viable; Social Sustainability – the project must give back to the city and complement the existing urban context; and Environmental Sustainability – the project must respond to the environment both in regard to energy consumed and with regard the embodied energy of the structure.
For over 25 years, Snøhetta has designed with some of the world’s most notable public and cultural projects. Snøhetta kick-started its career in 1989 with the competition-winning entry for the new library of Alexandria, Egypt. This was later followed by the commission for the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo and the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at the World Trade Center in New York City, among many others. Since its inception, the practice has maintained its original trans-disciplinary approach, integrating architectural, landscape and interior design in all of its projects.
Among its many recognitions, Snøhetta received the World Architecture Award for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the Aga Kahn Prize for Architecture for Alexandria Library. In 2013, Snøhetta’s design for the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University was awarded the American Institute of Architects and American Library Association’s Library Building Award, among many other recognitions. Since its completion in 2008, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet has also garnered the Mies van der Rohe European Union Prize for Architecture and the EDRA (Environmental Design Research Association) Great Places Award, as well as the European Prize for Urban Public Space, The International Architecture Award and The Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2010.