Architecture and recollection; In The Heart of Downtown; Beirut

Samir Kassir Square


‘With the current temptation to give in to the idea of a “clash of civilizations”, a complete ideological re-think becomes ever more urgent’.
a time to Rethink 9, 2001-samir kassir

Architect:Vladimir Djurovic

A serene and contemplative space in the heart of downtown Beirut, Samir Kassir Square provides welcome relief from the built-up urban fabric and frenetic pace of the central business district. Two historic ficus trees provide shade at the centre of the space, and a reflecting pool with water cascading over its edges marks the border with the street. The pool is flanked by a rectangular timber deck that encircles the two trees, and has at its western side a long bench of solid stone. The edges of the site have a ground cover of dwarf Natal plum (carissa macrocarpa), a water-conserving plant known for its dark evergreen leaves and its white, star-shaped flowers and red berries which grow throughout the year.

Through a rigorous design approach and an economy of elements and language, Samir Kassir Square emerges as a highly crafted urban artefact, an audible shift in the city’s rhythm. It skilfully tackles the spatial conditions and infrastructure of its locality with a few calculated moves. In its visual conception, in its sparing use of materials and forms and in the quality of its detailing, the garden points to a clear new direction for landscape design in a region where the discipline is not yet well established or mature, and where designers often try to emulate prototypes (such as tropical, English or French gardens) that are inappropriate and out of context, both visually and environmentally.

starting point: We must reject the “pragmatism of victims”-samir kassir

Samir Kassir (1960–2005) was one of Lebanon’s best-known journalists and historians. A columnist for the daily newspaper An-Nahar, he also wrote regularly for Le Monde Diplomatique. Among his books are A History of Beirut and Lebanon: An Unfinished Spring. One of the most prominent voices on the Arab Left, Kassir was a strong campaigner for the Palestinian cause, . He was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut on June 2, 2005.

Dash Links   -Architecture-                                -samir kassir

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