Phase 01: The proposal aims to make the 2.1 million m2 shipyard (where the tragic explosion of August 4, 2020 occurred), like the new front porch of Beirut. The vision stems from the narrative that all Beirutis, whether Maronites, Shiites, Sunnis or Druze, have equal access to the site as a “place of trust”. Part of the existing seaport is moved east, to allow Beirut’s waterfront to become a historic coastline. The vast area thus reclaimed for development becomes an apolitical and non-religious parallel spine to the old city of Beirut, where indeed one can walk fearlessly from one end of the city to the other. The development channels the public domain with vast water and green spaces along Chemin Charles Helou, thus creating a “ front lawn ” for the city. Beyond the squares once sees the pavilion of the retail trade “Souks” which acts as a protective barrier of the “place of trust”.
Phase 01 also includes 563,000 m² of residential development and 100,000 m² of offices. The whole development is a book finished with an exhibition complex in the west, which becomes a natural transition to the shipyards.
The eastern end of the book is the performance hall, which becomes the cultural anchor of development.
Phase 02: An iconic sail-shaped hotel takes center stage and acts like a lighthouse tower nestled on land above the shallow waters of the shore. The end of development is an aquarium that merges the land into the sea.
Financial modeling: The lion’s share of income from retail “ souks ” will be used as a cross-subsidy, and one of the three legs that would support the housing estate dedicated to Beirut residents whose homes were destroyed in the greater explosion. The other two legs of this development are financed by the commercial tower and the condotel
Architecture of the “ souks ”: Inspired by the canopies visible on the traditional Arab market, the “ souks ” (phase 01) feature a series of visually striking building profiles but rooted in the memory of the past. The morphology, although contemporary, does not suffer from the same extraterrestrial architecture that we see in the cities of the Gulf. It is uniquely “Arab”. The “souks” also act as a security barrier to the marina park without resembling a dividing wall. The sloping green roof of the intermediate spaces of the pavilions offers a secure natural park facing the sea.
Tower Architecture: The iconic ‘A’ frame office and residential towers are the anchor for Phase 1 of Phoenix’s development. The residential towers are visually striking but without being an architecture to feast on the eyes. The incandescent slanted mass in the morphology of the towers creates a unifying element for the groups of towers. The emphatic red suspended inclined mass of the “A” frame tower hovers above the new waterway as if to defy gravity. The iconic “A” frame is negotiated on the waterway connecting the port beyond, thus literally becoming the “gateway” to Beirut.
Showroom Architecture: The Showroom (Phase 01) marks the natural programmatic boundary between container shipyards and the development of Phoenix. The exhibition hall / “Messe Beirut” reflects the commercial heritage that Beirut enjoys with the rest of the world. The large Mass Halls are composed of a series of arch-shaped wings, sail, dove-shaped facade which, although contemporary in appearance, presents a distinct architectural touch of the Middle East. For economic prosperity and advancement of commerce, an established culture of trade fairs would make Beirut a leading trade hub in the Middle East. Economic prosperity is the key to sectarian unity for a society as divided as Beirut Symphony Hall Architecture The Performing Art Center and Symphony Hall (Phase 01) will be the flagship program that will promote Lebanese performing art and culture. The identity of a society is rooted in its culture, and it is by nurturing a cultural identity that the identity of a society evolves and matures. And for a post-conflict society, the celebration of identity, harmony and pride are the epitome. So, a performing arts center is a fusion program for a healing society. The architecture of the Performing Art Center & Symphony Hall plays on the image of the curtains of a performance stage. The facade “drapes” the structure, creating stunning architecture, but not overdone. Entrances to the halls are through the slits in the curtains. The facade is aligned with LED strips which are modulated according to the music of the symphony, i.e. a virtual graphic equalizer screen that works to the rhythm of the symphonies in real time.
Architecture of the Landmark Hotel: The Landmark Hotel (Phase 02) would rival the most luxurious hotels in the world. It sits right on the water with an amazing view of the sea and Beirut. But the hotel’s most iconic feature is its profile itself. Inspired by the sails of a boat, the iconic hotel sports a very unique maritime look.
Aquarium Architecture: The Beirut Aquariums (phase 02) are a type of aquarium “never seen before” in the world. Large aquarium tanks are essentially “water blocks” exposed to the outdoors, that is, to sunlight. The visitors’ galleries are inside the reservoirs accessible by an underground hall. The roof of the tanks is made up of green lawns accessible to visitors, offering a breathtaking view of the city and the sea. Such a scheme for an aquarium as well.
has the advantage that people can view the floats at leisure while walking through the parks without ever entering the formal exhibits. The alleys between the “water blocks” are reminiscent of the streets of old Beirut. The emerald blue glow of the reservoirs during the day, seen from the inside and seen from the outside during the evening hours, is itself an earthly feature.