Beirut’s high-rise reflects city’s diverse heritage say Herzog & de Meuron

Staggered floor plates and large planted terraces are a feature of a 119-metre residential tower by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, which draws on the city’s diverse cultural design traditions.

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron designed Beirut Terraces as part of a masterplan around the St Georges Hotel.

Image by Trevor Patt.


This area of the Lebanese capital is gradually being regenerated following a devastating car bomb attack that killed Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

See more images of the project here

Five modular floors are repeated in different combinations to create the staggered arrangement and white slabs overhang the double-glazed walls by at least 60 centimetres to provide shade and create terraces.

“The design of Beirut Terraces was quite literally influenced by the layers of the city’s rich and tumultuous history. The history of Beirut could hardly be more diverse; remains of Phoenician, Roman, Mameluke, Ottoman and colonial rule have shaped the city and its buildings,” said the studio, which first unveiled plans for the project in 2010.

“Five principles define the project: layers and terraces, inside and outside, vegetation, views and privacy, light and identity.

“The result is a vertically layered building: slabs of varying sizes allow for interplay between openness and privacy that fosters flexible living between inside and outside.”

Image by Trevor Patt.

Trees add greenery to the otherwise white block, which is envisioned as a vertical boulevard. The planting also serves as a screen, to ensure a degree of privacy for the glazed living areas while still permitting views out to sea.

“The moderate climate of Beirut is undoubtedly one of the city’s greatest assets it makes outdoor living an integral part of Beirut’s urban culture,” said the architects.

“The idea of a green boulevard that connects the residential high-rise to its surroundings is taken up by the design and continued vertically both inside and outside the building.

“Indoor and outdoor spaces merge into each other so that the generous terraces truly become living spaces.”

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