the place that remains: pavilion of lebanon at the 2018 venice architecture biennale

the place that remains: pavilion of lebanon at the 2018 venice architecture biennale

for the very first time, lebanon will be represented on a national level at the venice architecture biennale. the pavilion of lebanon showcases through a project with the title ‘the place that remains’, the hinterland of the greater beirut area, more precisely the catchment area of its river. the pavilion offers an inventory of what remains in this territory.

gregory buchakjian describes the territory as a collection of traces and fragments



the transformation of the territory is highlighted through a series of relief maps that foresees the future evolution of beirut’s hinterland. it prefigures the new urban reality taking over the mountains and the way beirutis will inhabit these places. various projections of intriguing maps and visuals portray a new, yet unperceived reality, raise questions, and help create a new understanding of the territory.

houda kassatly inventories the vernacular gardens and settings around the domestic spaces



the choice of the catchment area and the frame of the model put the water and natural resources at the center of attention. whereas there is a tendency to consider valleys as the backyards of urban sprawl, the lebanese pavilion brings them back to the center of attention. given the dramatic transformations of the built environment in the lebanese mountains during the past decades, the landscape, which continues to hold common history and memory, became the last and only monument.

ieva saudargaitė douaihi proposes asystematicc survey of the leisure amenities and their problematic relation to nature and landscape



for the biennale architettura 2018, a piece of the lebanese wealth, memory, and territory is brought to the venetian arsenale. the pavilion will exhibit a two-ton wooden model, presenting a piece of mountain that is highly at risk of being taken over by urbanization. in this region, every hill, every valley, and every river holds the potential of becoming a landmark in a new ‘diffuse city’.

talal khoury follows the journey of the river from its sources to the estuary and all the narratives it carries



another map shows the hinterland of beirut covered by an extremely dense network of roads; a reminder of long-lasting land-use of the territory. in an area where the only public space is the road itself, this network constitutes a reservoir of shared spaces that could promote contemporary uses and forms of sociability. this network is much more than a vector of the urban sprawl. in that city of tomorrow, the void is a structural element.

catherine cattaruzza explores the landscapes abandoned by agriculture and documents the architecture of their grounds



the ‘metn pine forest’ that lies at the heart of the beirut river valley is a major leisure place for beirutis. this fundamental space is an asset for the city of beirut that should be preserved. it creates the conditions for new ecological continuities and breathes life into the city.


a ‘constellation of potential’ is a term adopted by the pavilion to define ‘the place that remains’ – the realm of the unbuilt. ‘the place that would still host our dreams and expectations and allows for a reweaving of the canvas of the future. in lebanon, which suffers from the absence of public policies, unlike other times and places, the remaining undefined spaces fall under the responsibility of each and every citizen “in order to preserve and deserve a meaningful territory,’ says the curator hala younes.

gilbert hage offers a suspended and monumental vision of the geomorphological features, rifts, faults and the cliffs of the vertical territory



the lebanese pavilion looks at the new reality of the hinterland through the lenses of six photographers, who express their particular points of view on the transformation of beirut and the relationship of people to land and nature. instead of being a derelict space of abandonment, the hinterland of beirut becomes a territory of transformation. hence, through the representation proposed by the maps and photographs, the mountain is to be recreated, reimagined, and re-inhabited. this is the case of the hinterland of many other mediterranean cities as well.

preparatory sketch and 3D mapping and projection by hala younes, 2018



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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