Studio Class at AA School of Architecture
Studio Class at AA School of Architecture

Beirut Performing Arts Center

This project was developed by Mohamad Nahleh as a student from American University of Beirut and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

 

Beirut Performing Arts Center

The project embraces the compelling stonewall existing on site and aims to highlight it, transform it and make it an integral part of the space. It also deals with the 23 meter difference between the two extremities of the site and injects itself within this anti-site, thus formally creating a very minimal but powerful gesture, conceived as a continuation of the higher street level.

The Performing Arts Center mainly deals with the application of concepts relating to performance at various scales: from the urban to the microscopic. At an urban level, the project can be interpreted as a wall mediating between the turbulent highways and a newly conceived shaded public space spanning across four different levels, shaping a new sustainable topography. It also sensibly acknowledges the different landmarks present on site, and aims to link between them through the public space, instead of trying to dominate them: the longest roof is flush with the higher street level, and the large theater roof merges with the garden adjacent to the Conservatoire, thus inviting visitors from both ends to enter and experience a blurred distinction between inside-outside through the circulation. The project also focuses on injecting performance into conventionally static spaces such as the parking, where now cars can park and enjoy a live performance along with the public at a higher level, as the stage is set between the two. A façade of bricks, softly recalling the landmarks on site, shades, filters the air and light through a contrast between an introverted southern façade and a highly extroverted and performing northern façade. This performance is exemplified by the application of Vantablack into three containers of circulation (numbered 1, 2 and 3): this color, or absence of color hides all sorts of shadows and perception of depth because of its ability to absorb all kinds of solar reflections; the result is a two-dimensional black square hiding a three-dimensional container through which images of circulating people of different sizes and directions are projected into a black screen viewed by the public.