PROAP selected for Khan Antoun Bey Square landscaping
Portuguese Landscaping Studio PROAP were selected as winners of the competition for the landscaping of Khan Antoun Bey Square located in the northern section of the Beirut Souks currently under construction.
One of the main challenges facing the participants in the competition was to devise a solution that addresses the site in context of its history, location and surroundings, and develop the Khan area as a link between the Traditional City Center and the New Waterfront while at the same time creating a destination where pedestrian routes converge.
The square is to be a major public plaza with a flexible design that accommodates a wide range of public activities and includes a water feature that echos elements of the original harbor.
The concept proposal is an interpretation of the historical significance of the old ‘wood port’ that connected the sea to the Souks, expressed by the use of stone, water and wood. A section of the original harbor wall will be re-installed in its original plan location in the form of flush paving, and a section of the original city wall has been excavated and will be consolidated and retained, exposed to the west side of Majidiyeh Mosque.
The site is designed as a living sculptural flexible element. The square is divided into two main areas, a lower plaza and a higher circulation plaza. The transition between the two levels occurs through a lush and inhabited landform, welcoming the influx of pedestrians and shaping a natural amphitheater and event seating area. The stone landform wrinkles organically to become rounded shapes that can be used for seating, complemented with pine trees offering shade, texture and enclosure. A fog and water mist system with aromatic scents is programmed to reduce and regulate the temperature. The concept highlights the contrasts between soft and hard, transparency and opacity, sun and shade, etc. the result of which is an immersive experience for all five senses.