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House of Art and Culture

This new cultural center devoted to contemporary creation consists of reconfigurable theatres, exhibition spaces, cinemas, a library, a restaurant and gardens spanning over 15 000m².

From the outside, three white volumes can be seen. Each one of them has six sides. In some places, a perforated white metal grid allows for the passage of light through the wall. The lightness of the building’s interior responds to the apparent solidity and strength of its exterior.

If High Modernism reflected about the art gallery space in terms of a neutral “White Cube”, facilitating the contact with the object, the 1990s constitute a major turn, as the question of the presentation of works of art was displaced from the art gallery’s interior to its exterior. Art “places” are now as much put in display in cities as works of art are exhibited in art galleries and museum rooms. The ambiguity that defined the relationship between the works of art and the space of the cube finds itself symmetrically reversed. The context-content of the modernist box becomes the content-context of cities in construction. Cities are defined from their cultural infrastructures, being sometimes rebuilt around these. It’s this major turn in urban culture that the project aims to expose.

15 000m²
Submitted 2009
City of Beyrouth
Contracting authority
Ministry of Culture, Republic of Lebanon
Project Team
& Alma Bali, Camille Garzuel, Nathalie Gibert, Elias Guenoun, Pia Lê, Géraldine Lucas