Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Winner: Issam Fares Institute Beirut, Lebanon

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects – Client: American University of Beirut

Project Gallery

 

Project description

‘This building asserts confidently that we are not a university that stays rooted in time and place; rather we challenge conventional thinking and actively promote change and new ideas’, says Peter Dorman, President of the American University of Beirut (AUB), of the Issam Fares Institute, the latest addition to the AUB. In terms of its form, the building is undeniably bold, yet it also displays a sensitivity towards time and place – towards the context, both built and topographical.

The context in this case is the AUB’s upper campus, set on a hilltop with views of the Mediterranean. In the immediate vicinity are four historic buildings and some equally venerable – c 150-year-old – cypress and ficus trees, as well as one of the most important open areas on the campus, the Green Oval. Responding to the givens of the site, the architects significantly reduced the building’s footprint by cantilevering a large part of the structure over the entrance courtyard – a move that also draws the space of the adjacent Green Oval towards the base of the new building. The existing landscape is preserved, including all of the old trees, which form a kind of datum line determining the height of the institute, as is evident from a look at the south facade. Further connections with the landscape are established by the roof terrace, with its expansive views, and by the circulation ramp that snakes smoothly through the trees to the southern entrance on the second floor.

The Issam Fares Institute – a research centre for public policy and international affairs – has a combined surface area of 3,000m2, divided into six floors. Its facilities include research spaces and administration offices, seminar and workshop rooms, an auditorium, reading room, recreational lounge and roof terrace. The interiors are divided by walls of partially pigmented glass (though the original idea was for the glazing to be clear, for maximum transparency). The structure is of high-quality in-situ reinforced concrete, in tune with the local construction culture of working with concrete, and particularly fair-face concrete.

 

Jury citation


“As the last in a series of buildings, the Issam Fares Institute completes the central oval courtyard of the upper campus of American University of Beirut, located on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. This educational building solves a dense programme within a surprisingly small footprint in a manner that is sensitive to its context. With its contemporary form and the purity of its architectural language the building differentiates itself from its neighbours, though it is not in conflict with the campus and its architecture.”


“Cantilevering over the courtyard and overlooking the old cypress and ficus trees, the building presents an extremely powerful and authentic volumetric structure without obstructing the view of the buildings behind. The building’s height, matched with that of the trees and the surrounding structures, serves to strengthen the powerful relationship it creates with its context. Throughout, a fluid planning strategy has turned to advantage the level variances of the site, and a welcoming environment has been created by providing entrances at various levels via ramps that weave through existing trees, in the process becoming part of the landscape themselves.”


“The building makes a courageous – and at the same time fully respectful – contribution to the multilayered physical environment of this historic and rooted university campus. With its simple, exposed concrete surface and strong volumetric presence, it is an elegant yet unique solution to a complex and special context.”

 

About Zaha Hadid Architects: http://www.zaha-hadid.com

Zaha Hadid Architects is a global leader in pioneering research and design investigation. Collaborations with corporations that lead their industries have advanced the practice’s diversity and knowledge, whilst the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies has aided the realisation of fluid and dynamic architectural structures. Hadid’s vision redefined architecture for the 21st century and captured imaginations across the globe. Her legacy endures within the DNA of the design studio she created. Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher for three decades, Zaha Hadid Architects’ work arranges form and space into breathtaking spatial compositions.

Zaha Hadid’s work of the past 30 years was the subject of critically acclaimed exhibitions at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2006, London’s Design Museum in 2007, the Palazzo della Ragione, Padua, Italy in 2009 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2011. Zaha Hadid Architects recently completed the Salerno Maritime Terminal in Italy and Oxford University’s Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College. The practice is currently working on a diversity of projects worldwide including the new Beijing Airport Terminal Building in Daxing, China, the Sleuk Rith Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the new Mathematics Gallery at
London’s Science Museum. Zaha Hadid Architects’ portfolio also includes cultural, academic, sporting and infrastructure projects across six continents.

 

Project Data

Total site area 7,000 m2
Total floor area 3,000 m2
Building footprint 560 m2
Cost 8,800,000 USD
Commission May 2007
Design July 2007 – December 2009
Construction January 2010 – April 2014
Completion May 2014

 

Aga Khan Award for Architecture Website

www.akdn.org/architecture

 

2016 Winners

 
 
 

2016 Nominated Projects

makoko_022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 19): Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria - The Floating School is a prototype structure whose main aim is to generate an alternative building system and urban culture for the populations of Africa’s coastal regions. The triangular A-frame or pyramid
AKTC / Habibeh Madjdabadi Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 18): 40 Knots House, Tehran, Iran - Creating a small and low budget apartment building in Tehran does not leave much space for creativity, yet an architect can try to do something with the material, textures, outer envelope and light.
AKTC / Hassan Saifuddin Chandan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 17): Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh - In an increasingly dense neighbourhood of Dhaka, the Bait Ur Rouf Mosque was raised on a plinth on a site axis creating a 13-degree angle with the qibla direction, which called for creativity with the layout.
AKTC / Cemal Emden Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 16): Bunateka Libraries, various locations, Kosovo - A series of public libraries for disadvantaged youth in rural areas. “The idea is that books are a source of knowledge just like water is the source of life,” says the architect.
AKAA / AREP / Didier Boy de la Tour Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 15): Casa-Port New Railway Station, Casablanca, Morocco - Casa-Port railway station (French: Gare de Casa-Port) is a "Moroccan National Railway" station in the centre of Casablanca. This transport hub, designed to anticipate 25 million passenger trips-per-year in the future
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Ceuta Public Library, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 14): Ceuta Public Library, Spain - Ceuta, is a small Spanish enclave city on the Moroccan soil. The site of the Ceuta library is located on the original Marinid dynasty's archaeological area...The excavation ground was included in the interior space of the public building, and the architects
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project: Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 13): Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar - It is a cylindrical volume that measures 45m in diameter. The steel and concrete structure follows a diamond shaped grid that bends along the virtual surface of the cylinder. The façade uses a double skin system. The exterior skin is composed
Friendship Centre, Gaibandha, Bangladesh Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 12): Friendship Centre, Bangladesh - The Friendship Centre in Gaibandha, Bangladesh, was built for the local NGO Friendship, which provides services for poor citizens of the region. Built by Dhaka-based architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury, it was designed
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016 Shortlisted Project Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 11): Guelmim School of Technology, Morocco - Situated in Guelmim, Morocco, 200 kilometres south of Agadir and known as the “door of the Sahara”, the School was conceived in line with a policy of decentralisation and making education more accessible to those living in remote areas.
Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 10): Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, Beirut, Lebanon - The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) building at the American University of Beirut (AUB) advances the university’s academic mission in the 21st century
National Library_033 Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 9): King Fahad National Library, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - The King Fahad National Library is one of the most important cultural buildings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was completed and went into use for its intended purpose in November 2013.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 8): Manouchehri House, Textile Centre & Boutique Hotel, Kashan, Iran - The Manouchehri House is a boutique hotel and textile centre situated in Kashan’s historic residential neighborhood, in the province of Isfahan. The project entailed the restoration of a 19th century merchant home
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan'er - Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 7): Micro Yuan’er – Hutong/courtyard Renovation, Beijing, China - Micro Yuan'er is a project by zhang ke’s Beijing-based standardarchitecture, which revitalizes a historic hutong courtyard. The inserted structure, which contains a miniature art space and library
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 6): Restoration of Nasrid Tower, Almeria, Spain - This project by Castillo Miras Arquitectos explores the dichotomy between the solid, ageless construction of the existing 13th century Nasrid Tower, and the provisional, light, and degradable nature of the contemporary.
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station - Baku, Azerbaijan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 5): New Power Station – Baku, Azerbaijan - The Power Station is located on a natural harbor in the Bay of Baku, which used to serve as a small shipyard for the ships working for the oil platforms. The original brief asked the architects to demolish the old
Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation - Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 4): Royal Academy for Nature Conservation – Ajloun Forest Reserve, Jordan - Royal Academy for Nature Conservation in Ajloun Forest Reserve of Jordan is “the first centre in the Arab world” specialised in offering training on nature conservation.
Superkilen - Public Park - Copenhagen, Denmark Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 3): Superkilen – Public Park – Copenhagen, Denmark - Superkilen is a public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. A public space promoting integration across lines of ethnicity, religion and culture. A meeting place for residents of Denmark
Tabiat - Pedestrian Bridge - Tehran, Iran Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 2): Tabiat – Pedestrian Bridge – Tehran, Iran - Tabiat Bridge, literally: “Nature Bridge” is the largest pedestrian overpass built in Tehran, Iran. The architects first conceived the two-to-three level, 270-metre-long curved pedestrian bridge of varying width
Thread - Artists Residency & Cultural Center - Senegal Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016 Cycle (Shortlisted Project # 1): Thread – Artists Residency & Cultural Center – Senegal - Thread is a socio-cultural centre that houses two artists’ dwellings and studio space for local and international artists. An ecologically sensitive meeting place which demonstrates how art and architecture can be part of rural life

 
 
 

Researched & Compiled by Arif Ali

 

Author: Arif Ali

Arif lives miles away from the crowded city of Chicago. He has interest in technology, spirituality, religion, psychology and community. Find him somewhat engaged on Twitter.

One thought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s