Norwegian Architects in Lebanon

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The Oslo- and New York-based architect company Snøhetta was selected to design a high-rise block with checker-board patterned facades for Banque Libano Francaise (BLF) in Lebanon.

The project marks Snøhetta’s first ever commission in Lebanon, and the building will feature a geometric facade and several large outdoor terraces carved from the built volume to create a vibrant workplace community. The outdoor space and vegetation are also intended as a symbol of sustainability.

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The design for the new general headquarters points towards a new future both for the bank and for the city and community of which it is a part. To create a building emblematic of the evolving strategies of the corporate world, Snøhetta approached the design with an architectural language that is “both generic and conceptual at the same time.”

Kjetil Traedal Thorsen
Kjetil Traedal Thorsen

“In a time of profound change and transformation, the BLF is an ideal partner for Snøhetta with our shared ideals of sustainability, community, and dialogue,” said Snøhetta founding partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen.

Snøhetta’s project was a perfect fit to the BLF design brief and its objective to create a space “not to work more, but to work better”, explained Raya Raphaël Nahas, member of the Board of Directors and General Manager of Banque Libano-Française who added: “Our ambition through this competition was to find the architect who is capable of embodying this will and rethinking our workplace while breaking the conventional codes of private construction in Lebanon, to integrate public spaces within the building without compromising its security, and taking into account the digital evolution and new collaborative methods at work. Snøhetta’s philosophy about collaborative spaces and new work methods, have seduced and convinced us. We have decided that the team shares our values, our attention to detail as well as our respect of the environment, the community and the historical legacy of Beirut…”

Raya Raphaël Nahas
Raya Raphaël Nahas

Another key quality of the building will be its sustainability, organized by Snøhetta into three categories: “Economic Sustainability – the project must be fundamentally economically viable; Social Sustainability – the project must give back to the city and complement the existing urban context; and Environmental Sustainability – the project must respond to the environment both in regard to energy consumed and with regard the embodied energy of the structure.”

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Snøhetta will continue working to finalize the design. A timetable for construction has not yet been released.

Snøhetta
was established in 1989 and are involved in architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture as well as graphic design. The Snøhetta group has 180 emplyees in Oslo, Innsbruck, Stockholm, Adelaide, New York and San Francisco.

Snøhetta’s most prestigious project so far has been the Library in Alexandra, Egypt, and the Norwegian Opera House in Oslo.

Norwegian Architects in Lebanon, written by Tor Kjolberg

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