Bernard Mallat Architects

Bernard Mallat Architects

Hazmie, LB


Solaris Tower

The project is located on a 2000 sq.m. lot along one of the streets running up the southern slopes of Achrafieh, one of Beirut's oldest and densest neighbourhoods. Instead of distributing the residential units between three low-rise buildings, as encouraged by the 70% land exploitation guideline, our scheme opts for a very small footprint – 1/5 of the lot. The minimal ground impact allows for the rest of the lot to play host to a large garden that will act as the village green, reminiscent of Achrafieh's past.The building seeks to provide residents with intimate and cozy spaces; ones that were once characteristic of the district, but that were eventually lost to the urban sprawl.

Our scheme plays on a new type of verticality; one that is non-repetitive, social and energy-efficient. The solution developed consists of a variety of apartment types: from space-efficient singles, two to three bedroom apartments to large duplexes. The floor plan varies widely throughout due to the different combinations of apartment types, thus allowing for the accommodation and intermingling of people of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Additional gardens, that perforate the building, are distributed along the full height of the tower. Together, they create a diverse array of expanding and contracting spatial pockets connected by a sculptural stair that snakes its way up the tower. Akin to a pedestrian path, and further enhancing the collective spirit of the project, the tall staircase facilitates movement between apartments, provides easy access to the sky gardens and consequently grants the place and possibility for social interaction. The quality spaces would aid in fostering a communal-like interaction between the residents and form a closely-knit vertical neighborhood.

The apartments are designed to fully capture views as floor-to-ceiling curtain glass frame spectacular panoramas of the ever-expanding city to the South and the coast and mountains to the North. The building maximizes the South exposure for optimal energy generation via photovoltaic panels that are distributed on all the floors. In addition, CPC panels (solar water heating elements) are also positioned on the façade to provide the apartments with hot water. The availability of copious sunlight will facilitate plant growth as well as necessitate shade during the hotter months, thus planters and wooden shutters complete the composition of the southern façade. The building also makes use of recycled materials and rain water recuperation to aid in watering the gardens on every level.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Beirut, LB
Additional Credits: Walid Zeidan (WZ Architects), Tamer Musharbesh, Louis el Khoury, Michele Braidy, Michel Semaan, Hammoud Badran, Chadi Dagher, Jean Dib