mussa el zein

This project is a space designed as an extension to the Lebanese American University in Byblos. The building is divided into two major programs; the dance and music school, and the residences. Wrapped in concrete and glass, the school includes full-sized rehearsal and recording studios, an auditorium, a physiotherapy clinic, a bibliotheque, and residences. The building follows an orthogonal grid, and is aligned to the pre-existing LAU cafeteria. The edifice expands along the east-west axis, making it settle perfectly on the sloped site. The juxtaposition of the two L-shaped slabs and their dynamic arrangement accentuates a language inspired by that of a musical crescendo. The low profile of the roof appears in elevation as a floating plane above the interior volume. The appearance of floating gives the volume a sense of weightlessness that fluctuates between enclosure and canopy. Glass panels run along the facade to flood the space with natural light during the day, and to create a glowing facade during the night.
As we dive underwater, we see the units creating a small community, scattered in the ocean, all disconnected but connected, dispersed yet assembled, with submarines swimming around from unit to another, beside the sea creatures, invading their habitat and creating a new one. The ocean turns into a museum, recording traces of the past water levels, units anchored down, counting the new depth of water as water level continues to rise, and machine continues to float.

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