The building is conceived as a series of perforated and independent layers overlapped, depending on their function, with different volumes.
Each of these pods creates a balance between private and public spaces, making this “incubator of art” a building of interconnected activities.
James Tendayi Matsuku
Building area: 17,028 sqm
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Client: Ministry of Culture, Republic of Lebanon
This project is intended 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 building integrates areas for regular and casual activities, trying to create an atmosphere where different means of expression and creativity can be hosted. The circulation inside the building is, therefore, open and free, generating flexible and exposed spaces. The main entrance is situated on the north side, while a secondary access in the west 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 of the scheme have different perimeters at each level, creating open terraces in the façade.
The organic shape of the volumes containing each part of the program 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 impact of the other activities taking place under the same roof, at all hours of the day.
Permeability and porosity on the perimeter create an intriguing and appealing elevation which encourages users to explore the inside.
The building is covered and illuminated through glass louvers along the entire facade, making visible the interior activities through these transparent tubes of different textures and materials. The defining image of this art centre is made by the projection towards the exterior of its interior activity.