Portuguese studio Kaputt! was awarded an Honorable Mention in Beirut Competition. Kaputt! was founded in Lisbon in 2004 by eight young architects.
This is how the architects explain their project:
In its course and struggle to animate its great civilization, another step is taken: Beirut constructs its House of Arts and Culture. People from Beirut and the world will come to reflect upon and distance themselves from everyday life and, influenced by its extraordinary atmosphere, come together in the creation of art and culture. The House of Arts and Culture is a place of reunion and exchange. It is always free, open to all, yet shelters and protects. Like in the courtyard of a caravanserai, we will find a breathing inhabited space and through its transparency we feel its pulses. The exterior spaces, open to the outside, are both part of the city and the House itself. The House is designed with present technology but is independent of it, something bigger. Something adaptive. Change is its name. This is not an office building.
URBAN AND ARCHITECTURAL OBJECTIVES:
The project is designed from a single volume, a shell that at first occupies all the plot´s surface. From this shell, mass is removed around two perpendicular axes, thus, creating a cross-shaped void. The center of this void and the inside of the shell are structured by copper blades, generating four exterior spaces in the interior of the plot. At the end of this operation, the surface at ground floor level of the project takes 70% of the plot. The affirmative presence of the shell allows for the planned integration of the building within the urban grid planned for the location. Through the vegetation of the exterior spaces, one can see the copper blades on the interior facades. It is the difference of character of these two components, the peripheral shell in white concrete, heavy and compact, and the thin blades of copper, light and permeable, that define the project´s intention. Through the blades, one can see the fluidity of people throughout the whole building. The chosen materials will age and create a patina without changing their character, thereby, preserving the character of the whole building over time.
PERFORMANCE AND CONFERENCE HALL:
For the main auditorium we propose a fully equipped proscenium stage; the small auditorium will have a black box character with a technical ceiling and movable seats to enable a vast choice of configurations; the projection room is prepared to serve the National Cinematheque. Theatre, dance, acoustic concerts and oratories are some of the most likely performances; Cinema projection, live concerts, congresses, conferences, seminars, etc. where electroacoustics will dominate the scene, are alternative activities for these spaces. Acoustics suited for live recordings and broadcasting connect it to the rest of the world. Large Performance and Conference Hall: Its shape can be read from the main exterior space through the copper blades. From the staircase it will be seen in all its amplitude. Here, one can understand that the acoustical shell is free of the covering roof. The Large Performance and Conference Hall aspires to be as encompassing as possible. The Hall´s layout consists of a series of fanned radial sections, centered on the stage, forming an ellipsoid in its entirety. Multipurpose usage for the Large Performance and Conference Hall as music and theatre require very different room acoustic properties (opposite material characteristics), raising the need to use interior variable acoustics. A box-in-a-box solution (double structure) must be applied to the main structural concept design at least for the performance halls and the movie theatre. These measures will isolate the buildings from external sources of vibration and noise.