dalfa seafront
beirut, lebanon

Set on a prime sea-facing plot on Beirut’s busy Corniche, this slender exercise in transparency and mass consists of two volumes, a long oblong housing the podium and a slightly taller tower, which is attached to the first volume at the second and third floors via outdoor walkway terraces. It is designed as a multipurpose commercial and art exhibition space with 5.75-meter ceiling heights, lending the project greater spatial flexibility to respond to the market.   

Conceived as a leisure destination, possible tenants include a health club, a spa, a contemporary art museum and a series of restaurants and cafés, which will offer sea-views from outdoor terrace seating located at head-height above the Corniche below. 

The podium consists of two floors of parking and a technical floor to avoid deep excavation so close to the sea. Above this is the spa/gymnasium, which will have an outdoor swimming pool located at what is effectively the roof of the podium. The tower rooftop will likely be given over to a restaurant facing the Mediterranean. 
Projecting slightly from the main volume, the podium is clad in white aluminum louvers, with different orientations to create a play of light and motion across of the lower façade, while shielding the parking and technical areas behind. 

The upper volumes above the podium, which benefit from greater transparency, are clad in a glass curtain wall down which lines of discreet colored fins run. Though clearly contemporary, the building pays homage to its Corniche location and reads like a crisp evolution of its mid-century neighbors.


architecture: nabil gholam architects
photography: Richard Saad, Marco Pinarelli