Mar Mikhael is a less permeable city, where there are a lot of dead ends .Walking through Mar Mikhael one can notice the change of energy while walking from one area to another, mainly due to the topography and the typology of the urban fabric of this city. Elements the stairs connect the lower to the upper part, and because of the lack of public spaces, anyone can notice how these stairs are transformed from a transitional part to a public space for people, where at 1st people started expressing themselves by drawing graffiti’s on the side of the building while going up the stairs, then artwork was painted on the stair's rise, and finally landscape architecture is being integrated within the stairs, where benches were added by the local community. Moreover, one can notice nowadays how offices, and resto / pubs start invading the city, and how craftsmanship and small stores are starting to vanish.
|qualitative diagrams / the triangle|
To go further than Mar Mikhael, Karantina that was cut from the city during the 60’s after the construction of the high-way. And now Karantina is being surrounded by industrial part from one side, and by the waste hill dump from the other side, so there is no place for the city of Karantina to breath. Moreover there’s only one pedestrian bridge that connect people of Karantina to Beirut starting from downtown till Bourj Hamoud.
However, after analyzing the city and saw how much the city need new infrastructure, starting from sidewalks, public spaces, electricity, and at last places for people of low income to survive from the increasing prices of the apartments and the shops. So we tried to create a program that reflects the change of energy in Mar Mikhael, which is resembled by the change of levels in the project, but to have a continuous promenade. And to have a program than would reconnect Karantina to Mar Mikhael again, after it was disconnected by the highway, and after the sea view was blocked by the waste hill dump.
So now we came up with 3 aspects to cover in the program, environmental, social, and economical aspects, forming a dynamic triangle. In an effort to connect Mar Mikhael to Karantina and to open the sea view for Karantina, we thought of having a recycling factory that would remove the waste hill of Karantina. At the same time Mar Mikhael would benefit from the factory, by having electricity and heating for the city.We also propose a flea market that Mar Mikhael locals can benefit from (butchers, people fixing shoes and clothes, people making bread, craftsmen etc). The program would include workshops where they can start working and learning from the recycling factory.
|generic 3 point diagrams|
So we tried to bring together these 3 different aspects in the form of a triangle. And by the flow of people in the city that started mutating the triangle, and combining several ones together showing the continuous promenade, we started manipulating them so we could start see the change of energy found in Mar Mikhael in sections. Moreover, one can notice that our site is surrounded by newly built high rise buildings, as the Khoury Building that is adjacent to the lot. Meaning that there is a huge change regarding the building volumes and heights, mutating the existing city fabric of mar Mikhael.
This design is an effort to balance out all the aspects of the program, the high rise Khoury building and the dynamic of the adjacent high way. Thus, we placed the recycling factory at the corner of our lot in order to create some balance, and at the same time block the noise created by the high-way. This way, a protected public plaza is be created , and given back to the people of Mar Mikhael.
|view from the pedestrian bridge|
|ground floor plan|
|cross section 2|