From Nostalgia To EU-topia

by Rick Hospes from Faculty of Design Sciences, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Tutored by: Christian Kieckens

Author comments:

The project will focus on the revitalisation of Martyrs’ Square based upon the poetics of collective memory, nostalgia and phenomenology; a place for people to reflect, reunite and redefine their identity; a place to retreat and learn; a place for the Muslim, Christian, Druze and Jewish people of Lebanese society to share.

Beirut has a great lack of public space. However, there is a pressing call for such space: somewhere for social interaction, with urban greenery, a simple main square for all Beirut’s inhabitants is urgently needed. Recreating the public realm is therefore a necessity.

Apart from the lack of public space, Beirut also has a shortcoming on the cultural level. During the civil war most of these activities simply disappeared and have not returned.

Throughout the centuries, Lebanese society was built on eighteen religions. These eighteen religions will be the foundation of the Beiruti Centre for the Arts, with the collection divided over eighteen spaces. To allow a wider amplitude of use, the eighteen spaces will be of varying dimensions. The two floors will be divided between the temporary exhibition and the permanent collection. Because of its underground status, located under Martyrs’ Square, natural light is not an obvious feature of the museum. However, due to carefully placed patios and light wells, natural light will subtly illuminate the spaces, creating a sacred light throughout the museum.

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