AUB Campus, Beirut, Lebanon
Our proposal for the Dar Al Handasa - Architecture and Design Building introduces a minimal volumetry to an existing structure while preserving its original character. The irregular tiled roof is removed and replaced by a pitched zinc-roofed rectangular volume. The recessed glazing and the deep overhangs dematerialize the extension into a paper thin plate above the building recreating a new crown. This approach avoids the "building on a building" effect while maximizing space. The recess windows give the extension an energy efficient feature by minimizing the direct sunlight on the glazing. The refurbished existing studios and newly created attic and mezzanine are more spacious and welcoming, better lit, better insulated and provide an overall improved quality of space. An integrated mobile paneling system allows partitioning flexibility in all studios for pinups, exhibitions workshops, cubicle divisions etc. The mezzanine increases the floor area of the attic level and vertically animates the space by providing an overlooking reading area/student lounge, a 3D printing and assembly station along with a printing/copying station. The 'new' Architecture and Design Building caters to the demands of its users, providing the needed amenities to enhance learning, production and creativity, and incidentally setting an example of good design for design students: a subtle elegant intervention that optimizes space. An intervention for the future with the necessary respect and sensibility towards the exisiting building as the foundation of our past.