Joy Salameh - Protofactory

The Protofactory positions a return of industry to the city, fostering a culture of materialism where the flow of material, production of knowledge and the experience ofcraftsmanship are offered to society. Based on a flow of knowledge and information, The Protofactory harbors a lateral organization of labor and enhanced feedback of research development and innovation processes supported by local and international education. The notion of production becomes reintroduced into the public realm.

Mar Mikhael has always been known for being a node of historical, geographical, social and political warfare. The conflicting dominance grew across the layers of time to make this area a melting pot hosting people from contradicting social, religious, political, and educational statuses. And through a tour across the streets of Mar Mikhael today, we can still see traces of its past: buildings damaged from the war, graffiti on the walls speaking for the voice of the citizens about poverty, religions, and memories of their Lebanon.

And  it was the Beirut Port that expanded along its sea shores that made its planar expansion widen across the years and stamped this city state with an industrial mark. Knowing that this port is returning high revenues and participating in improving the economic status of the Capital, people of Mar Mikhael can’t really feel the benefits of this industrial area on a smaller scale. What is considered a blessing in other countries is looked at as parasite in ours. The reason behind this paradox is simply that the port is treated as a mediator between the countries exporting the goods to the importing destinations in Lebanon. But what if we take a step further and move the port into Mar Mikhael in a smart architectural gesture ? What if those industrial cranes, pipes, metal rods and shipping containers turn into inhabited spaces that host various programs bringing people from different ages, work backgrounds, interests to gather up in one urban hub that reflects the interests of the citizens and responds to their needs in an industrial ambiancethat relates them to the port they are facing and introduces them to a new approach of experiencing the port in their own way.

An industrial symbiosis that will host a technical school for young students to theoretically learn and practically experiment and apply their fields of study, experimental workshops and labs, exhibition spaces for  students and artists to show off their works, and light industries for people to work  in, sell their products and run their small businesses . In addition to those, there would also be  dormitories, restaurant,  industrial pub , parking spaces and a pedestrian bridge linking the project to the port side .  All those gathered together in an industrial park that would host installations , art pieces, movable architectural units and various additions that the Mar Mikhael people will add to their space to make it their own. Shipping containers will turn  from being boxes moving goods to places around Lebanon into working units, workshops, pavilions and inhabited spaces to respond to the needs of the students looking for a calm place to study, the shop owner with goods to sell, the employee waiting for a lunch break to rest, the old lady looking for a space to plant her veggies or the little boy looking for a box to paint on.  Those containers would undergo all types of changes to meet the needs of the functions they would host : whether stacking, intercrossing, lifting, spreading, making slits to allow light or allow a certain view… those metal boxes will become personalized spaces that each one on the  hub’s visitors would experience in its own way.  The  main concern was to  end up with a light structure that is not imposing on the city and that looks like a floating structure that communicates with the sea it faces . so the starting point is to use lots and lots of metal rods, that cross, intersect, gather or spread apart to create spaces, to define paths and corridors, and to form walls, ceilings, floors  and shells. Those metal bars would be the pilot of the whole project. 

view from the highway

mass plan
birds eye view
circulation diagram

structure strategy
study models