House of Arts & Culture

Beiruth, Lebanon

2009 (competition / honourable mention)

How do we design a building that may eventually be bombed?

The Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, decided to gift Lebanon with a Centre for the Arts and Culture. The building plot was located in downtown Beirut – the area most targeted by wartime bombings.


We chose to distance ourselves from warfare imagery – exquisitely represented by local architects – and to embrace the opposite. We clung to the belief that if we design an ultra delicate piece, maybe the population will feel that the building is something to protect and therefore say: “Please, don’t bomb this.” And that this simple gesture might constitute a step towards peace.

Caravanserai evolution

Murex brandaris

Beiruth 1991

Project International competition for Beiruth House of Arts and Culture

Location Beiruth, Lebanon

Client Ministry of Culture

Program Cultural and Artistic Centre

Area 15200 m2

Project status Basic project

Award Honourable mention

Date 2009

Architecture Kaputt!

Architecture team Sérgio Antunes, Irene Bonacchi, Ana Brütt, Sofia Reis Couto, Rita Ferreira, Horácio Guedes, Kirill de Lancastre Jedenov, Filipe Moreira, Manuel Ribeiro, Filipe Alves, Luca Martinucci

Structural Engineering Mário Rui Marques Ferreira

HVAC & Passive Cooling Luís Paiva de Andrada

Acoustics Rodrigo Tomaz, DBLAB

Sustainability Eloísa Cepinha, Sustentare

Theatre Design consultants Flávio Tirone, Arsuna