Critique at University of Virginia
Critique at University of Virginia

The Ruptured Landscape

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

Sawfar is a city located halfway between Beirut and the bekaa valley (Lebanon) .It is well known for its rich history and its grand hotel sawfar(built in 1892) which used to be a unique destination for the Lebanese people, as well as Arab celebrities.


The hotel stands opposite the ain sawfar train entertainment hub, the hotel is renowned for housing Lebanon’s first casino which now stands in ruins.


The design aims at responding to site conditions while being climate responsive. The project must be able to benefit from the maximum natural resources.


This is a small winery that includes:

A residential component: apartments and studios/library/restaurant/exhibition space/classroom/tasting rooms/cave/factory/lab/administration/studios/backstage/boutique

The ruptured landscape envisions a reformation of the landscape that emerges from the sawfar is highly linked to the earth and its materials. Taking the hotel’s sense of abandonment; its humidity, heights, and aging aspect, the project allows for a cultural, agricultural, and educational program to occur. The project is based on a series of walls and platforms that either hide or uncover the landscape in order to host a specific program or serve for a specific function.