This imaginative proposal for the mixed use conversion of three adjoining industrial buildings in Beirut won first prize in an architectural competition organized by the client, MAC. The Sugar Lane site sits alongside the sea coast in the Zalka suburb of the city, with a roadway running immediately behind the buildings. RAA’s design maximizes the sense of connection with the coast and vistas of the open water, while seeking to soften the impact of the access road and its traffic.
The existing steel and concrete farmed structures were built in the early 1960s and stretch along the sea front for a substantial distance of around three hundred meters. The proposed reinvention includes the creation of striking new façades for the original buildings - including a rugged coat of Corten steel - which echo the industrial heritage of the site. The provision of landscaped public spaces overlooking the sea along with integrated platforms, terraces and entertainment zones offers the opportunity to promote vibrant amenity use across the development for the benefit of the community.
Within, the three buildings have been designed with a range of creative uses and functions in mind, including a choice of boutique stores, ateliers, galleries and cafés, as well as offices; ample provision of parking and multi-functional event spaces has also been included in the plans. The introduction of light wells, sunken gardens and skylit atriums introduces natural light deep into the heart of the development, while the essential character and history of the site forms a guiding point of inspiration for the contemporary aesthetic of Sugar Lane.