Urban Design Workshop Beirut "Downtown Extension to the Waterfront" 2009

Case study area: Marty Square
October 2009

With help from the DAAD-Program "German – Arabic / Iranian University’s Dialogue" an Urban Design Workshop took place in Beirut 2009. In cooperation with the American University of Beirut, Prof Heinz Nagler, head of the Department of Urban Development and Design, organised the international workshop. Therewith, the – in the meantime perennial – cooperation about Urban Design and Architecture between the BTU Cottbus, the American University of Beirut, the University of Aleppo and the University of Cairo was carried on. Focus of the workshop was the question for Urban Design- and Development Strategies on inner city quarters within the context of the historical city in the Islamic-Arabic region. The 30 students from the participating universities prepared – divided into five international working groups – concepts for the reuse of the area surrounding the historically and politically important Martys Square in the centre of Beirut. The case study area forms in this connection the junction between the newly reuilt downtown area, the harbour area in the north and the founder times quarter Gemmayzeh bordering in the east. At that time, the area is characterised by brown fields, temporary uses and not integrated building structures. Since the inner city and the quarters of the old city are creating the identity for the urban tradition, the development of Downtown Beirut and in particular the development in the area of Marty Square is very important for the identity of and the perspective for the city.

During the design-process, the five working groups focused on different topics. Each group has been coached by a scientific assistant of the BTU and a professor from one of the participating faculties. The topics have been: development of public spaces, design of new building typologies in the historic context, community based development strategies, specific buildings and urban spaces as well as urban design guidelines and integration of the traffic development.

Report UDW Beirut 2009