Future Beirut

Last night in New York, the Forum for Urban Design hosted a panel discussion called The Future of Beirut. It included talks by Bernard Khoury and Eyal Weizman, and was moderated by Nicolai Ouroussoff.
As Ouroussoff wrote several months ago, in a profile of Khoury for The New York Times: "Khoury's reputation as the bad-boy architect of the Arab world was cemented with the creation in 1998 of B018, an after-hours club built on the site of a former refugee camp, five minutes from downtown Beirut. Designed for a childhood friend who was a club-owner and musician, the nightclub was built underground, in the middle of a circular parking lot. Its roof, created out of a steel panel lined with Plexiglas mirrors, opens up like a gigantic lid. As visitors pull into the parking lot at night, they catch the reflected images of people dancing on the tabletops below. For those inside, a dizzying stream of reflected car headlights frames the night sky."

[Image: Bernard Khoury, B018].

As Beirut – and Lebanon around it – tried to reconstruct itself after a disastrous civil war, Ouroussoff writes, "[a]rchitects worried that the densely packed street life and vibrant social mix that was once part of old Beirut was now being replaced by a generic, sanitized city – a world cleansed of its complex past to make it palatable to global consumers."
Then came the events of last summer...

(To attend future events like this, consider becoming a member of the Forum. The Forum also publishes the Urban Design Review. For a bit more on architecture in Beirut, see beirut.bldg).

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Anonymous Edwin Gardner said...

Nice to see attention for future developments. Archis is organizing a RSVP event this week in Beirut, titled Beirut Unbuilt. There will be a debate with among others: Tony Chakar, Michael Stanton, Howyda Harithy, Ole Møystad and Ole Bouman. So for thise in the neighbourhood drop by and share your thoughts.

November 13, 2006 3:04 PM  
Blogger Octopus Grigori said...

I can't remember if there have been any posts here on the Separation Wall being built in Israel/Occupied Territories. A fascinating architectural development.

November 13, 2006 6:15 PM  

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