Jnaynet Mar Mikhael
The building of 120 meters tall integrates two fundamental features: the base which is a sheltered garden opening as a public gathering area, and the tower that rises as the Bank private premises.
The volume of the building is characterized by a staggered stack of blocks. The vertical louvers are mounted on the facades to protect the glass shell behind, while the climbing vegetation on the west elevation makes the building distinctive.
The tower summarizes a flexible yet simple architectural solution with a stackable office plate.
The square layout of the office floor is structure free. Every floor gets at least two generous urban openings, the sky gardens. All working areas get direct natural light and views on the four sides of the tower. The changing orientation of the external aluminum louvers on each façade optimizes maximum views as well as sun protection.
The building comprises two differentiated volumes: the tower and the plinth. While the tower caters for the Bank’s needs, the plinth hosts all the public functions, ensuring urban continuity with the surroundings.
The interior spaces are organized in order to recreate the traditional lebanese loggia which is the ideal typology to achieve the best climatic and working environments.
A Thousand Faces of Beirut
The tower comprises a load bearing concrete lattice extended by a metal framework up to the height of 180 meters. Floors benefit from open U-shaped layouts, ensuring visual communication and direct daylight in the floors. The public spaces generate their own flows without interfering with private circulations and spaces.
A central atrium is proposed to all floors to bring natural light to the center of each floor plate, as well as to provide more open working spaces to enhance interaction between employees.
Two public zones characterize this building, one at the ground and first floor levels, and another one on the seventh floor to accommodate a public accessible terrace that offers views to the sea and the city.
The intention of this building is to link the existing cultural and urban fabric with the sea, and transparency is at the core of the concept. The twisting of the louvers creates a transparent base and opens the lobby to a public space, with a grand piazza. With the shift from public to private up the building, transparency is maintained, but is diffused by a simple twist of the louvers, optimal internal lighting is thus created, as well as an energy efficient strategy.
The tower comprises identical floor plates to maximize efficiency. While the conventional building functions are placed in the rectangular tower, the social spaces protrude in a string of pearls wrapped around the slender silhouette like a vine on a column. The cascade of external boxes creates shortcuts between the adjoining floors and forms a sequence of terraces providing generous sky gardens for every floor in the tower, and enhancing connectivity between neighboring floors. The Vine becomes the social space of the building.
The exterior fabric of the building is made of local limestone. The volume articulates a base geometry where the rays of sunlight play across the facades of the building in an ever changing pattern. The project reveals an extraordinary stone clad architecture, multiple connections with the outside, large cuts and modular openings overlooking a 360-degree view.
At the entrance plaza, the public stair, a symbolic interpretation of Mar Mikhael stairways, links the ground floor to the public facilities including an auditorium with an open view to the sea.