Beirut bank scheme handed to UK firm

Beirut tower

British practice John Robertson Architects (JRA) has won an international competition to design a new 16,400m2 headquarters for BANKMED in Beirut, Lebanon.

The new building will become a landmark in Beirut and provide a stimulating and practical environment for employees, executives and the bank’s customers.

Situated at the centre of the Mina El Hosn district and near to central Beirut, BANKMED Headquarters will help to regenerate the area and extend the Beirut Central Business District westwards.


The headquarters building will be seen from the north, south and east of the city and is designed to form a sympathetic and contextual backdrop for the residential areas of west Beirut.

The civic presence of the building will also foster a sense of new vibrancy and life within Mina El Hosn.

JRA was the only British firm amongst the competition shortlist of five, which included Architecture Studio, LAN Architecture, Morphosis and Pickard Chilton Architects.

JRA’s winning concept proposes three interconnected office pavilions, which step up in height from nine  to 19 storeys.

A triple height internal piazza has been designed to address BANKMED’s desire for a welcoming and inspiring public face and allows views in and through the development.

The three office pavilions will appear to float above the ground level, providing clear sight lines from a new public piazza to the adjacent St Elie Church, a historic landmark in central Beirut.

Flexible and efficient floor space will be arranged around two atria, giving high levels of daylight and views for occupiers. Three roof terraces at levels 10, 15 and 19 provide alternative spaces for working, dining or relaxing with panoramic views across the city.

Describing his firm’s winning design, Director John Robertson said:  “We are naturally delighted to have been selected by BANKMED and to have been given an opportunity to apply our many years of experience office design in London to a new city.

“The architectural challenge has been to design a new bank headquarters that will make a real contribution to the regeneration of the urban fabric of Beirut and to create an innovative office building where people can enjoy work.

“At a civic level the building is ‘levitated’ above a new open internal piazza. Articulated façades to the pavilions above provide transparency, and both openness and privacy. Internally the building allows users a variety of enjoyable experiences in their daily workplace.”

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