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.