in august 2020, a devastating explosion of about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate took place in the heart of beirut, lebanon, completely destroying the port of beirut along with the adjacent part of the city. today, the beirut municipality and the inspireli awards announce a unique architectural competition for all students of architecture around the world who would enjoy contributing and helping with their ideas.

port of beirut reconstruction competition 1
port of beirut after the explosion
all images courtesy of inspireli



the aim of the competition by the inspireli awards and the beirut municipality is to offer humanitarian aid to the city of beirut through the unique designs and innovations of students’ projects. the topic of the beirut port renewal will be implemented in the curriculum of many universities all around the globe for the winter and summer semester of 2021/2022, hence, all projects should be submitted by july 2022.

port of beirut reconstruction competition 2
only building standing 



the future port of beirut will be rebuilt and financed by the F.D.B.O.T (finance, design, built, operate, and transfer). the port administration and the ministry of public work and transportation are setting their requirements and conditions list which would shape the path of the future. the winners of this competition will have a chance to be a part of the team working with the lebanese authorities when shaping the final looks of the port. there will be two 1st places – a lebanese winner and an international winner, 2nd and 3rd place and 20 special mentions. winning projects will participate in the reconstruction of the port of beirut under the F.D.B.O.T and receive financial prizes, certificates, and international mentions in the biggest architectural platforms in the world.

port of beirut reconstruction competition 3
operational functioning of the port of beirut



the best about this project is its immense freedom of expression. there are almost no limits set, only that the crucial transport clusters of the port should be kept unchanged. here is the description of how the port worked before the disaster happened: ‘the blast caused huge destruction leaving the conventional cargo/free zone terminal, passenger terminal, and empty containers inoperative. nonetheless, the container area is still partially functioning with half of the c-cranes shattered in addition to the internally destroyed administration area. as mentioned before, it is not necessarily compulsory to keep the zoning on its previous configuration; yet, the port needs to operate appropriately with the minimum exploitation possible of the land, and by doing so, more room for economic and social possibilities for investment can be clutched.



project info:


name: port of beirut renewal competition

competition announcer: beirut municipality (lebanese republic beirut city council) and OEA – beirut (order of engineers & architects – beirut)

competition organizer: inspireli awards, department of architecture, CTU in prague & alexandre zein (president and curator, zein engineering)

registration begins: may 1, 2021

registration ends: july 14, 2022


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: yasmina karam | designboom