Sandra Khoury / Sarah Simon / Jason El Hajj - Beirut Junction

The first part of our project revolved around two points : The analysis of resier and umemoto’s work in the yokohama port terminal , and the analysis of the area of Mar Mikhael . From the precedent project we were able to briefly understand the architects when it comes to their elaboration of structure , to the addition and subtraction of elements , thus the creation of new unexpected spaces . As for Mar Mikhael , we deduced that (nodes ) . 

So after deciding on working on  the different nodes and connections that are present along the site , we worked on four major areas : the Port , the Charles Helou Bus Terminal , the Pedestrian Bridge next to our site and the Mar Mikhael stairs .
Our first step was related to these four areas. After analyzing their locations, surroundings and functions, we went on to further understanding and dissecting them. We abstracted their movements into planes and surfaces .
Starting with the port of Beirut , movement is what characterizes this landmark: From the ship that approaches the port from international land , to the crane that has its own movement while working with the different containers and finally to the truck that is leading us out of this port, onto national grounds. This space revolves around mobility, around this transitional movement that is connecting the International to the National. It is a specific space that when faced to a change in directions , becomes very dynamic . And that is what we tried to show in our interpretation of it , using a simple language of planes. In that, we color coded the different parts (Sea, Crane, Port) and made models of those planes, some that were literal interpretations and others that show our own perception of the space.

Following that, came the Charles Helou bridge. This space that used to be very important before the Lebanese civil war has now only become an abandoned place that is a meeting point for the public transportation system of the Beirut area , buses and taxis ,that is condensed with mainly low income Lebanese workers, migrant workers and visitors from our Arab surrounding .What we found important in this space is a specific articulation in the road. When one is driving on the Charles Helou highway, that separates the area of Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze from the port, one is not aware that right beneath a turn is present that connects these two areas, coming from a road parallel to the highway, but on a lower level.
This is where the element of surprise comes to surface in this area. And from that we wanted to implement that idea in planes, where we would use the same coding as the Port, and also elaborate in literal models and different perceptions of the space .

The third element we wanted to focus on was the  Pedestrian Bridge that is characterized by a certain rotational movement that allows to take you from one side of the highway to the other , hence connecting the Quarantina area on the seaside, next to the port, to the Mar Mikhael area. It can also be seen by pedestrians as the gate into Mar Mikhael .The same logic was applied here when it came time to elaborate in models. Finally , the last element we focused on is the different stairs of the Mar Mikhael strip. Locals are very familiar with these spaces, because other than acting sometimes as direct connections between streets of different levels, they are known as well to being the center of cultural and social events. 

A person moving in towards these stairs, would feel as if they are smothered by clustered buildings that are directed towards them , where they lose all sense of order. They do not know where they are headed for the element of surprise is present , they only know the direction of their destination . Planes were also used here in the same sense as before.
What we must notice in the four diagrams created, is the hierarchy in the scale of flow. Starting from the port, the human scale is present but goes unnoticed because it is not the main element of the area. But slowly, the pedestrian element starts to revolve around the area of Mar Mikhael . It is clearly visible how the Big scale starts at the port (Ships, Cranes, Containers, Trucks), then becomes smaller while moving towards the Charles Helou Terminal (Bus, Taxi, pedestrian), and progresses to the Pedestrian Bridge that is strictly used by pedestrians but still has vehicular flow under it, to finally reaching the Small scale in the Mar Mikhael stairs, where the flow becomes purely pedestrian. So based on these spaces, along with demographic studies, we moved on to the next step.

abstract qualitative diagrams

The second step consisted of creating physical models based on the four diagrams, to represent, in an abstract matter, the spaces dealt with and the different movements present in them . The first model, based on the port, represents the movement that is taking place there, with its rotational aspect . We also tried to see these models from different angles and sides, which us look at them from different perspectives, resulting in more physical models of the same idea. 

The second model also shows the elements of the port but now separately; when seen in plan , the entities are present but when looked at from the sides, only two are shown, thus showing the transformation throughout different directions.
The third model focuses on the approach, with the emphasis on angular shifts, based on the notion of Perspective.
That is regarding the port ; as for the Charles Helou area, the first model focuses on the different planes and levels , the highway , the bridge and the sea level. It is composed of one base that is enclosed in walls, along with the element of surprise that we targeted in the diagram. The second model represents an overlaying of triangular planes that gives us interesting perspectives from all sides.

As for the third , it is a folding based model , that represents the enclosure and rotational movement towards an unidentified space.When it comes to the pedestrian bridge, its model represents the vertical connections that are happening that show the limitations through upward and downward planes that create tension within.
It is also seen differently from its sides . 
study model

The three final models showcase the stairs. The first one deals with the approach towards the stairs, the high clustered buildings and the possible rotational element that is creating haphazard spaces.The second emphasizes on the stairs and its leveling , along with its elevated planes that become a way of transition between spaces. This presented us with very interesting situations (here, mainly levels).The third and final model shows the ascending floor planes that are limiting a central plaza that is semi-enclosed by leaning and closing planes. 

circulation diagram

mass plan

ground floor plan
first floor plan