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MARTYR'S SQUARE: landscape of difference

Kuth Ranieri Architects in Collaboration with Rodolphe el-Khoury (ReK Productions)

Beirut, Lebanon

The urban design strategy for the Martyrs’ Square district focuses on the public realm, extending the urban room of the historic square to the waterfront and further south to the elevated ring road. This new public space is defined and supported by means of a roof structure: an inverted landscape that both grounds and intensifies various activities and programs. The design is modeled on public places of old Beirut where climate-minded infrastructure—canopies, tents, and roofs—simply allow for a vibrant, sustainable inhabitation of open public space year round. The design accommodates the commonplace elements of the city while leaving the messy manifestation of urban life unchecked. Capitalizing on the infrastructural and monumental assets, the roofscape creates an extraordinary and viable public space. It serves as a catalyst for development and preserves the right for latent market forces to shape vacant adjacent lots.