This multifunctional building unfolds as a structure of pierced, overlapping layers, with different volumes and functions. The resulting pods establish a balance between private and public spaces, making this “incubator of art” a web of interconnected activities.
James Tendayi Matsuku
Building area: 17,028 sqm
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Client: Ministry of Culture, Republic of Lebanon
This project intends to be a significant element in the city of Beirut, a facility able to renew social and cultural expectations. In this context, the House of Art and Culture is envisioned as a laboratory, as well as an artefact: a machine to produce art.
The structure integrates areas for regular and casual activities, offering a context with multiple means of creative expression. The circulation inside the building is, therefore, open and free, guaranteeing an abundance of flexible and exposed spaces. The main entrance is situated in the North side, while a secondary access in the West side is reserved for loading and staff.
A public space on the ground floor, working as a plaza for pedestrians, fosters a dialogue between the building and the city. The series of slabs setting up the interior perimeters have a different disposition at each level, creating open terraces in the façade.
The organic shape of the volumes between the wall-layers generates a fluid interstitial space. These surplus spaces are planned to be meeting points or lounges for information exchange. Whether people go there to attend an electronic music workshop, walk through an exhibition, or to enjoy a performance by a visiting theatre group, they will feel the presence and energy of the multiple activities taking place under the same roof, at all hours of the day.
The peculiar permeability and porosity of the perimeter allow an intriguing elevation, encouraging the visitors to explore the space. The building is illuminated through glass louvers aligned along the entire facade, making the interior activities visible from outside. This extroversion, the exterior projection of its interior activity, is really the defining emblem of the art centre.