Spring 2011 | House of Arts and Culture
Site: Beirut, Lebanon
Design Development Studio
Instructors: Demetrios Comodromos, Jefferson Ellinger
Team: Jillian Crandall, Alicia Miksic
The intention behind this project draws from the traditional caravanserai of Lebanese culture, as a contemporary reinterpretation. Traditionally the caravanserai is a roadside inn where travelers rest; it has a rectangular walled exterior with an internal courtyard acting as a place for exchange. We reinterpreted this to make a statement engaging cultural and political transparency and accessibility, with a solid exterior perimeter which opens at significant locations to reveal an active internal courtyard promoting the exchange of art, culture, and information. The core activity is visible at these points of entry from the exterior but once the shell is penetrated, an entirely dichotomous condition of fluidity is revealed so that a new ‘mini-city’ is formed within. Tectonically, the project takes on a volcanic quality, with a solid ‘rock’ exterior rupturing to reveal a viscous, molten, interconnected core.