In light of Beirut’s terrible explosion, Beirut Memorial Park is a civic initiative launched by carlos moubarak architect and embodied in a global and emblematic cultural act. Based on societal, urban and architectural considerations, the project aims to create a dynamic and participatory, sensitive and spiritual memorial infrastructure in reminiscence of this tragic event.
Strategically located within the port grounds, the proposed site around the blast scene is a flat and vast peninsula of 11 ha. Both the imposing silos’ ruins as well as the explosion’s epicenter provide the focal points around which the memorial elements are finely placed and calibrated. Emerging out of the site ruins, the project is envisioned as a green public park in an absolute fusion of architecture, landscape and infrastructure.
Integrating both the memorial park’s and the port logistics’ activities, the design layout is organized on two main seamlessly connected outdoor levels each proposing contrasted visitor experiences. While the upper plateau offers an outlook on the port activities and panoramic views of the sea and the city skyline, the lower plateau integrates the park’s more serene and introspective spaces. On its east side, the dock’s destroyed section, once the epicenter of the explosion, is now the stage of the memorial park’s centerpiece.
Radiating out the detonation center, the remembrance ring is the architectural crystallization of the blast through a circular based object, symbol of unity. With an outer diameter of 120 meters, the black concrete monument hovers above the exact location of the massive crater left by the explosion. Highly contrasted spatial sequences lead progressively to the ring’s central space dedicated to mourning and honoring the victims.
While the remembrance ring sits just next to the silos’ ruins, the project’s other components unfold around this massive focal point, systematically framing their views on it. Integrating a series of warehouses dedicated to the port services, the project’s main program is however composed of various and complementary cultural facilities achieving the concept of a memorial park envisioned as a vast open platform for artistic and cultural expression, a place for social interaction and cohesion.
Landlocked within the precincts of a commercial seaport, the park’s public access is provided directly from an intermodal mobility hub to be located in the heart of the city. The main link is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge which spans the highway that separates the residential areas from the port grounds. A complementary sky tram is designed as a shuttle to access the project while a roof helipad is integrated into the park’s design for drone taxi services.
Beirut Memorial Park is conceived as a major urban acupuncture project that falls in line with an integrated and people-centered vision of the capital’s future sustainable model of reconstruction and development. Offering the Beirutis a new public space and a much needed large scale green park, the design proposal will also restore the capital’s historical connection to the shore in an innovative way, reintroducing the waterfront experience of a seaside city.
Well beyond merely proposing to build a commemorative monument, carlos moubarak architect’s initiative and associated design approach is meant to match the scale of the disaster, to meet the needs and expectations of the people with a holistic and participatory response to the tragedy. It is conceived out of the belief that memorials are critical tools in shaping the values and identity of a society and that great architecture can be a powerful mode of expression, reflecting our collective aspiration as a civilization. Source by carlos moubarak architect.
- Location: Port of Beirut – Beirut, Lebanon
- Architect: carlos moubarak architect
- Land Area: 11 ha
- Gross built area: 35,000sqm
- Year: 2020
- Images: Courtesy of carlos moubarak architect