Placemaking in Bahr El-Eid

June marks Bahr El Eid’s 1 year opening after its revival. Bahr El Eid, an open public space embedded in Saida’s collective memory, social and cultural customs is located between Saida’s waterfront and its historic district. Its intricate historical fabric and neighboring fishermens’ port the open space makes it a melting pot between tourists and locals and also thrives with its traditional and contemporary businesses. Un-gated and community managed it serves as a paradigm to public space design and management in Lebanon.

The design of the public space was done by AUB’s Di-Lab (Design Impact Laboratory). Di-Lab is a course at the American University of Beirut’s Department of Architecture and Design at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA course No. ARCH016). The scope of the project includes the design of a permanent shading structure on the 800m2 rectangular site and a masterplan for the overall area of approximately 3500m2 surrounding the structure including public spaces, roads, and facades. The goal was to create a permanent Bahr El Eid playground that would function as the anchor point of its traditional bi-yearly festivals.

The project was designed by Di-lab in the summer of 2017 led by Karim Najjar and instructors Ahmad Nouraldeen and Balsam Madi. Students that participated in designing this project are: Mohammad Nazar, Nella Abi Khalil, Sari Kantari, Nirvana Kobeissi, Leen Nadar, Jad Najm, Danielle Raffoul, Maha Sabalbal, Meriam Soltan and Aya Nadera Zantout. External consultants Dana Ali (Landscape Architect) and Anwar Antoun (Structural Engineer) also participated in the development of the design.

The studio’s scope was design development, project and construction management in collaboration with @saidaobservatory based on a participatory upgrading strategy and commissioned by Saida’s municipality. The shading structure was executed by @saiidricha_forconstruction .
The project was generously funded by Alfa, Saida Municipality and UN-Habitat.
#urbandesign #publicspaces#communalspaces #openspaces#lebanon

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