OPA Open Platform for Architecture / LAAV Architects: Laertis Antonios Ando Vassiliou, Anna Rosa Moschouti Vermeer, Michalis Takopoulos ARUP Amsterdam Team: Rachid Abu Hassan (MEP), Mathew Vola (Structural) Location: Central Beirut, Lebanon Client: DEMCO Properties (Alex Demirdjian) Construction Budget: 110 million USD Size: net. 45.000sqm of program in 4840sqm plot, 130m maximum height, 400 luxurious condominiums of 75sqm
The project has been a direct commission for an iconic high-rise, mixed use tower in the heart of Beirut in 2016. The design proposal named as Phoenix has been developed with a tight timeline through OPA Open Platform for Architecture, under the lead of Laertis Antonios Ando Vassiliou and then continued to be negotiated under his new design practice, LAAV Architects (2016-today). In the meantime, the project’s name had to change as there is already another tower project in Beirut, called Phoenix. The new name is Beirut Legacy, as we consider that it represents the history, struggle and survival of the Lebanese nation. Recently, due to land ownership complications, the project has been discontinued. Beirut Legacy is not just another high-rise for the skyline of Beirut. Beirut Legacy is a built statement, history transformed into a building, a symbol and a landmark that connects the past with the future. In a vibrant city with such powerful contrasts, it would co-exist among landmarks as the Grand Serail and the Burj Al Murr tower and add up to the contemporary architecture of the city, with buildings of Foster and Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Jean Nouvel, Herzog & De Meuron, Steven Holl, Bernard Khoury. It is a building that symbolises the downfall and the resurrection of Lebanon, right there, in the heart of Beirut. A ressurection that has been achieved through pain, collective effort and unification which is still ongoing. Beirut Legacy is a concrete tower, shaped by stacking small concrete modules, luxurius apartments of 70sqm in 8 different versions (horizontal-vertical, with balcony or without), all connected around the vertical concrete core. The resut is a slender tower of 125m height which from the Western, short side creates a dialogue with the notorious Burj Al Murr as a modern interpetation of it while its Northern, long side is looking over the city and towards the sea and the port of Beirut. This neo-brutalist tower may be totally made out of concrete, yet it is still is a fully transparent building. With huge glazed windows framing every beautiful view of Beirut. An hommage to the brutalist legacy of Lebanon, a continuation of history through the context of this gorgeous Mediterranean capital. History built, History lived.
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