Center of Innovation for General Motors in Lebanon by Gioia Sawaya

General Motors

The skeleton of the building sits today as an ever-present ghost in the contemporary city of Amchit, Lebanon. Suspended in time, it gives the idea of “waiting”, suggesting potential change and movement. Due to the financial and economic crisis that has left a strong impact on investments in Lebanon, the building, monolithic and robust in structure, is left unfinished.

With its concrete open framework, the building can be described as a fluid landscape of nothing but floor, ceiling, and columns: meaning no walls, no rooms, just a skeleton. In fact, and to some extent, it resembles Le Corbusier’s “Maison Domino”, the first case in architectural history of a building designed as an open system, a platform for the users to complete as they see fit. This building is a generic box that belongs to the city.

Hungry to be filled, this box is but a neutral form in the structure’s search for identity, a call to “do something”, and an invitation to occupy and articulate its section. That is the perfect architectural symbol for an era obsessed with customization and participation. Therefore, when this skeleton is injected with function, it becomes a prediction, and this prediction works best when it evolves gradually as a self-empowering system, one that has the right to determine the terms of its own existence.

In this prediction, General Motors transforms the skeleton into a Center of Innovation for its future technology, with most notably, its future technology of flying cars. With functions ranging from a kinetic sculptures fountain at the public square to a dramatic ice-smoke catwalk Entrance, to a sneak-peak car window displaying the artifacts of the Future to rotating meeting capsules that alternate on an structural wheel.

The proposal also includes a coworking space, artificial intelligence cells, digital capsules, a nano-technology research lab, a fabrication lab and 3d printing, all connected through industrial ramps that generate energy through movement on its recharging floorplates. At the terrace level, a Lebanese food gastronomy restaurant supported by food delivery, to the surrounding neighborhood through General Motors drone technology, and a glazed dome behind which General Motors can prototype its upcoming flying cars. Source by Gioia Sawaya.

  • Location: Amchit, Lebanon
  • Architect: Gioia Sawaya
  • Client: General Motors
  • Status: proposal
  • Year: 2019
  • Images: Courtesy of Gioia Sawaya

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