Due to the remarkable quality of the projects showcased last April for Banque Libano-Française (BLF) new headquarters, the jury of the competition found it hard to determine one winner and chose three studios among the eight participants, Barozzi Veiga, BIG and Snøhetta, requesting them to further develop their projects, “The White Tower”, “Cascading Canopies” and “The Magic Box” respectively, in order to present them once again.
It is worth mentioning that the design brief given to the architects during the first workshop held in Beirut in January, stressed mainly on the project consistency with BLF identity, the importance of its establishment within the urban scene at the Northern entrance of Beirut, the working spaces capacity to enhance employees’ interaction, productivity and innovation, its ecological approach as well as the creation of public spaces with the ability to contribute to the development of Mar Mikhael community. These criteria, to which were added the analysis and discussions of the Technical Commission that reviewed every project prior to its presentation, along with the quality of the architects’ presentations, were at the core of the discussion of the jury composed of Walid Raphaël (Chairman General Manager at BLF), Raya Raphaël Nahas (General Manager at BLF), Luca Molinari (Architect, professor and consultant), Hashim Sarkis (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at MIT), Jean-Christophe Fromantin (Member of the French parliament and Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine) and Li Brian Zhang (Professor at Beijing and editor-in-chief of the leading magazine World Architecture).
In a lively atmosphere, a large audience of professionals, teachers, artists and students applauded the eight architects Fabrizio Barozzi (Barozzi Veiga), Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Farshid Moussavi (Farshid Moussavi Architecture), Kengo Kuma and Marc Moukarzel (Kengo Kuma and Associates), Nabil Gholam (Nabil Gholam Architects), Francesco Fresa (Piuarch), Kjetil Thorsen and Robert Greenwood (Snøhetta), et Youssef Tohmé (YTAA), who shared their vision of Beirut, and the latest world architecture trends during a conference organized by BLF on April 18 at Sursock Museum.
Another conference will be open to the public on June 14 at 6:30pm at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Issam Fares Hall. It will highlight presentations and discussions about the future of architecture by Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga, Bjarke Ingels and Kjetil Thorsen.