Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lebanon: Student Housing with a Touch of Design

Lebanese Universities graduate hundreds of Architecture students on a yearly basis. They do not lack enthusiasm but opportunity. Creativity is sacrificed in the interest of quick profit. As a result Beirut and other cities from a hilltop view, helped by the absence of state regulation, have become urban sprawls that lack harmony. In our efforts to promote homegrown talent we present The USEK Student housing project developed by the team of Henry and Samer Eid. It is certainly visually stunning while blending in the chaotic architectural environment of the Zouk locality, North of Beirut. Following is a presentation of the project in the words of the people behind it.

It is a 9000-square-meter residence, delivered in 2007, it has a capacity of about 200 young female students coming from all over Lebanon, and its U-shaped layout includes a sheltered atrium with space for studying, meeting and socializing.
At first, the chaotic urban environment of the site was a real challenge. However, with an elegant modernism, the architects managed to invest, to the utmost, the potential of a difficult plot of land, brilliantly solving the issues of intimacy and community, investing the site’s negative constraints to support a positive reality.

Moreover, the project combines, through bits and pieces, numerous architectural themes of the USEK campus. Nevertheless, the edifice maintains a formal autonomy and originality within the context. Despite a contemporary aesthetics and a spirit of independence, this building is well-rooted in its milieu and reflects a certain relationship with the functional architecture of the overall campus.
Therefore, the project astutely responds to the challenges of scale, context and function, with an effect of contrasts, coupling monumentality and refined details, mass and lightness, compactness and openings. The edifice directly conveys its message and converses with the scenery, offering selective views of its environment.
Furthermore, lights and colours add life to the premises. A rich array of colours with luminous hues undoubtedly enhances the beauty of the edifice, which symbolically borrows some conceptual patterns, incarnated through a nautical metaphor.
With this new building, the designers succeeded in giving a degraded urban site a new lease of life, hence joining the campus with its surroundings by reshaping the university’s identity without compromising its historical and architectural value, providing an architectural solution that is lively, measured, and definitely contemporary. Finally, this residential housing illustrates a singular portal into another world free of worries, a gateway to freedom, a true dreamlike journey, a unique place, indeed, that is suitable for rest and study.

• At the ground floor, public activities are available. The collective space is thus composed and animated by the following functions: welcoming desk, administrative offices, visiting room, lounge, cafeteria and chapel.
• At the six upper floors, the privative space comprises the vertical circulation elements, the floor kitchens and the rooms. Each room has an entrance, built-in wardrobe, bathroom, sleeping area and study corner.
• Three underground levels comprise parking and general utilities.

The Student Housing project at the USEK campus in Lebanon was developed by Henry Eid Architect + SE.Arch Samer Eid Architect.

Picrures: Courtesy of Samer Eid / SE.Arch © 2007
All rights reserved


pouchkine7878 said...

We are as lebanese very fortunate and lucky to still have young and striving men like Mr.Samer Eid and Mr. Abi Aad that give shape to futur projects and thus maintain a torch of hope for all of us.
These talents are very thaught after in the whole reagion ,we understand why because they are incomparable!And it's a blessing that they have returned to live here fOR some or never left ,and it's wonderfull.Hope many lebanese would follow there example...Best of luck ,u deserve it ..
Joanna Tyan Rbeiz

Anonymous said...

interesting building.
i want to go to usek and see it
keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

I was surprised at novel designs.
As for the design,I think of them in spite of being mineral matter very uniquely.
Anyway,I want to look near.

Ioanna ZZ