Mar Maroun Street, Saifi, Beirut, Lebanon
© Géraldine Bruneel © Joe Kesrouani
Rue du Liban is an area in municipal Beirut greatly influenced by the French mandate period. It is characterized by narrow streets and an abundance of bay window, five-floor apartment buildings of the late 1920’s and 1930’s. Along Mar Maroun street, there is a sequence of Neo-Traditional two-floor buildings. The site of Saifi 606 is a corner lot at the intersection of Rue du Liban and Mar Maroun. The urban guidelines for the development of the site are governed by the following issues: a high percentage of surface exploitation; no street setbacks; high total exploitation; and insensitive envelopes (30 m high on a 7.5 m wide road). “From the client” “When I moved into my apartment in Beirut, I had only a rough idea of how it would turn out because the project was executed while I lived abroad and visited occasionally only. Until this day, the complex and yet perfect layout of the stone floor is like a visual puzzle that intrigues me and satisfies some deep need in me for order, symmetry and poetry all at once. How can one solution to stone size align 10 columns, several voids and steps and then flow through 6 or seven different rooms, all without a false note? To this day I do not know how, but it can be done. Of course what really allows the appreciation of that kind of visual detail, is that the same approach applies to the things that are unseen. The beauty is not skin deep. So the fireplace has a proper draft, and the water pressure and heating are how they should be. All the technical systems work so well and unobtrusively, that the surface can be appreciated with no sense of frustration. How long would a beautiful car be desirable if it did not start?” I.K.